Researchers test adhesive tape as storage medium

Private European Media Laboratory GmbH (EML) and Stanford University have signed a three-year cooperation contract, the EML announced in a statement. A chief goal will be to work together on the storage development and EML expects the project to take about five years to develop.

EML researcher Steffen Noehte discovered some three years ago that the polymer structure of "tesa Multi-Film" brand adhesive tape is well suited as a holographic data medium, the laboratory said. The technique, similar to that used to burn a CD, modifies the optical properties of the tape using a laser. It can store data on any individual layer of the tape without unwinding the roll or disturbing other layers, meaning as much as 10GB of data can be written on a single roll.

The laboratory said the new technology is superior to current CD drives, for example, because it is the laser beam that rotates, rather than the storage medium, helping avoid potential balance problems. This technique enables high-speed rotation and thus the high data-transfer rates which are required to record and play back video films, for example.

EML scientists are working with Stanford electrical engineering professor Lambertus Hesselink, an expert on optical and holographic data storage, to further the project, titled "OptiMem." The partners in the project hope to develop a "compact and affordable" storage medium for applications such as pocket computers and digital video cameras. They even envision a data-storage sticker, a modified adhesive film onto which tiny individual holograms are written. It holds about 250 times as much information as a standard bar code, the researchers said, and could be used as secure identification for products.

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