New data storage solution can store 360TB of data forever

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A group of researchers at Southampton University in England have improved upon the already existing technology of how to save vast quantities onto thin slivers of quartz.

The original idea was developed around 4 years ago but the group from Southampton University has taken it to another level developing the recording and retrieval processes of five dimensional (5D) digital data by femtosecond laser writing.

Back in 2012 these slivers of nano-structured quartz could store 40MB per square inch – very similar to a CD for a period of 300 million years.

That no appears minuscule when you consider the new improved version can store 360TB of data for 14 billion years. The process of writing the information is also “ultrafast” and done using a laser producing extremely short and intense pulses of light. The information is store in 3 layers of nano-structured dots that are less than 5 micrometers apart.

The reason that the data can be stored for so long is because to all intents and purposes the information is stored in glass.

This glass is water resistant, can withstand heat in excess of 500 degrees Celsius and the cold of interstellar space. As 5D digital data is extremely stable and portable the technology could be used to preserve the information of national museums and archives as well other information and records.

A variety of texts including The Bible, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Magna Carta have already been recorded using these methods. Effectively all the information of the human race could be stored long after we are gone with the sun due to die in around 5 billion years.

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