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optical storage

electronic storage medium that uses low-power laser beams to record and retrieve digital (binary) data. In optical-storage technology, a laser beam encodes digital data onto an optical, or laser, disk in the form of tiny pits arranged in concentric tracks on the disk's surface. A low-power laser scanner is used to "read" these pits, with variations in the intensity of reflected light from the pits being converted into electric signals. This technology is used in the compact disc, which records sound; in the CD-ROM (compact disc read-only memory), which can store text and images as well as sound; in WORM (write-once read-many), a type of disk that can be written on once and read any number of times; and in newer disks that are totally rewritable

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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