You might not expect much from this tiny, unassuming glass disc. What you probably won’t realise is that it can store 360 TB of five-dimensional data.
Scientists from the Optoelectronics Research Centre(ORC) at the University of Southampton have made tremendous strides in digital data storage and created an object that is capable of surviving billions of years.
The technology was first developed back in 2013. Several historical documents have already been digitally stored forever, such as the Magna Carta, the Bible and Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
With a thermal stability up to 1000°C and an unlimited lifetime at room temperature, this development opens the door for eternal data storage.
The data is recorded onto the glass disc using a femtosecond laser, which produces fast intense pulses of light. The file is written in three layers of nanostructured dots separated by five micrometres.
With durability and safety being top notch –the 5D data disc could be of great use in the future to organisations with extremely large archives (museums, libraries etc.).
Professor Peter Kazansky, from the ORC, says: “It is thrilling to think that we have created the technology to preserve documents and information and store it in space for future generations. This technology can secure the last evidence of our civilisation: all we’ve learnt will not be forgotten.”