Have you been awaiting the “next big thing” in digital storage? It just may be here as U.K. based researchers have announced a new crystal storage capability that could store data and securely store it for billions of years. In case you missed that, that was BILLIONS of years.
The storage process, discovered by researchers at the University of Southampton, encases the crystal storage is a small glass disc. Each of these discs can store up to 360 terabytes of data. To put that into perspective, if everyone in Hertford had an iPhone, one of these coin-sized discs could save all of the data contained in them.
Scientists are referring to this groundbreaking storage as “5D”, because it makes use of five different dimensions. Nanostructures use height, length, width, orientation and position to make the most of available space in the fused quartz. The technology is deceiving because it can’t be seen by the human eye. Information is encoded into minuscule formations by special lasers through the glass. It then takes a special specially designed optical reader to retrieve the information. The storage system has already been used to store historic documents like The Bible and Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
A professor at the University, Peter Kazansky, has been quoted as saying “This technology can secure the last evidence of our civilisation (assuring) all we’ve learned will not be forgotten,” That’s a pretty sobering thought.
The Southampton Scientists are in search of partners to help them develop the technology and make it commercially viable. They presented the technology at an international conference in San Francisco on February 17th and we will certainly keep an eye on where this potentially device-altering digital storage system may lead.
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