Optical storage

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Optical storage is the storage of data on an optically readable medium. Data is recorded by making marks in a pattern that can be read back with the aid of light, usually a beam of laser light precisely focused on a spinning disc. An older example, that does not require the use of computers, is microform. There are other means of optically storing data and new methods are in development. Optical storage differs from other data storage techniques that make use of other technologies such as magnetism or semiconductors.

Optical storage can range from a single drive reading a single CD-ROM to multiple drives reading multiple discs such as an optical jukebox. Single CDs (compact discs) can hold around 700MB (megabytes) and optical jukeboxes can hold much more.

An optical drive is a device in a computer that can read CD-ROMs or other optical discs.

It is estimated that in the year 2007, optical storage represents 27% of the world's technological capacity to store information.[1]

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