Solid state drives represented a massive leap over hard disk drives, and now researchers are looking at the next step in storage technology. Turns out, it's light. As in, photons.
Photonic solutions are ideal because they bypass the hindrances intrinsic to electrical memory. Photonic memory chips used to power storage technology has been in development for decades, but the attempts at solutions have all been volatile and required constant power. A team led by Oxford's Harish Bhaskaran and Wolfram Pernice of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology say they've made a breakthrough, however, and arrived at a stable solution that doesn't require constant power. Of all things, they use the same technology for rewriting CDs, DVDs, and Blu-ray discs.
Bhaskaran says the technology could result in storage up to 50 or 100 times as efficient as what we currently use, though it's not clear if this means SSDs or HDDs.