Researchers at Southampton University have unveiled what could be the future of digital data storage.
"Using nanostructured glass, scientists from the University's Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC) have developed the recording and retrieval processes of five dimensional (5D) digital data by femtosecond laser writing," explained the University in a post on the technology. This 5D chip is the size of a coin and, according to the researchers, can store up to 360 terabytes of information for billions of years. "The storage allows unprecedented properties including 360 TB/disc data capacity, thermal stability up to 1,000°C and a virtually unlimited lifetime at room temperature (13.8 billion years at 190°C) opening a new era of eternal data archiving," said the University. For those used to Fahrenheit, 1,000°C is 1832°F and 190°C is 374°F. The team responsible for developing the technology have created 5D discs of works like the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Newton’s Opticks, the Magna Carta, and the Kings James Bible.
The researchers hope that this technology, nicknamed the "Superman memory crystal," could one day replace today's Blu-ray technology. In comparison, Blu-ray discs can store up to 23.5 GB on a single layer and last about 7 years. "It is thrilling to think that we have created the technology to preserve documents and information and store it in space for future generations," said Professor Peter Kazansky, from the ORC, on the 5D storage discs. "This technology can secure the last evidence of our civilisation: all we've learned will not be forgotten." The researchers will present this technology at the photonics industry's International Society for Optical Engineering Conference in San Francisco this week. The team is also looking for industry partners to further develop the technology.
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