In a speculative scenario inspired by the events of "Leave the World Behind," where the need for physical media becomes crucial, the desire to own a vast movie collection could be fulfilled with just one optical disc. This breakthrough comes from the University of Shanghai for Science and Technology, where scientists have engineered a groundbreaking "3D nanoscale optical disc," boasting a storage capacity of 1.6 petabits.

Published in Nature and detailed by Charles Q. Choi in IEEE Spectrum, this innovation marks a significant leap in data storage technology. Unlike traditional discs, this new medium utilizes a 3D storage system with 100 layers, enabling it to store data in minute spots, each measuring about 54 nanometers wide. The incorporation of dual data-writing lasers and a novel light-sensitive material named AIE-DDPR facilitates this advanced recording technique.

The implications are profound, as a single blank disc can be rapidly manufactured using conventional DVD mass production techniques in just six minutes. However, despite its potential as a physical format for 8K movies, consumer adoption may be hindered by the declining interest in disc-based media.

Instead, the researchers foresee a more practical application in data centers. By employing these nanoscale optical discs, data centers could accommodate exabits of information within a single room, a feat currently requiring a space as vast as a stadium. This technology promises to revolutionize data storage, offering unprecedented efficiency and scalability in an increasingly digital world.