Optical Tape: A New Low-Cost, Efficient Way to Archive Data

Optical Tape combines storage density of optical discs and surface area of magnetic tape, creating the highest volumetric density and lowest cost per unit storage of any media in the industry.

Key Features:

  • Nanoimprinted tape using MicroContinuum’s Advanced Surface Nanoforming™ (ASN) pre-formatting technology enables over 60 TB (1TB=1,000 GB) capacity in a single standard-format tape cartridge
  • Optical Tape drive uses "off-the-shelf" DVD or Blu-ray components for high performance and low cost, leveraging multi-million $ investments in optical disc hardware and media products
  • Designed for compatibility with existing storage infrastructure (tape libraries, etc.)

MicroContinuum's optical tape combines the high data density of optical discs with the high storage area of magnetic tape, resulting in a medium with extremely high data capacity in a minimum space. In conventional DVDs and Blu-ray discs, very high data density is made possible by the molding of precision nanostructures into the surface of the disc which are used to locate, store, and read data on the surface of the disc. As in optical discs, non-contact laser reading and writing in optical tape virtually eliminates any contact damage to media and heads.

The key breakthrough developed by MicroContinuum is the ability to precisely form nanostructures on the surface of a very thin tape substrate by a continuous, high-speed roll-to-roll (R2R) process 4, allowing optical tape media production to take full advantage of R2R manufacturing’s extremely high volumes and low production costs.


Our optical tape technology offers another major advance in performance through the use of an array of multiple independent optical heads to read and write data. Because commercial optical disc heads are built with the ability to automatically track and focus, the use of multiple independently tracking heads offers a substantial advantage over the fixed head arrays—all of which must move together in a single unit—required for magnetic tape recording. Fixed heads are becoming increasingly problematic for magnetic tape as it moves to higher track density, where even subtle mechanical and/or thermal tape distortion can result in the magnetic heads no longer being able to simultaneously follow multiple tracks and result in severe degradation in performance for magnetic tape.

Applications for Optical Tape Archiving:

  • medical image archiving
  • financial records
  • law enforcement records
  • geophysical/seismic data
  • supercomputer data
  • satellite weather images
  • e-mail archiving
  • motion picture and TV
  • security imaging
Open reel pre-formatted optical tape
Closeup of data tracks — each band contains thousands of tracks