Optical disk drives provide an effective solution to the growing need for removable high-capacity storage. In this paper, we review the technology behind the optical disk drives used in IBM's optical storage systems. The basic physics of data recording and readout and the engineering of the primary building blocks of an optical drive (the optical head, the servo system, and the data channel) are discussed. We also outline the technological directions of future optical drives as they must continue to improve in performance and capacity.
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