Quartz media capable of storing large amounts of data for billions of years goes to the masses

    Scientists from the University of Southampton have developed a new type of storage medium. This drive can store data for billions of years without collapsing. The material is a nanostructured quartz glass, for which a recording process and a data reading mechanism have been developed. A femtosecond laser is used to record information in 5D mode.

    About 360 terabytes of data are placed on one small disk. The material remains stable at temperatures up to 1000 ° C, and at room temperature it can exist almost forever. At 190 ° C, the life of the material is billions of years (13 billion). In this case, all posted information remains intact, while the entire disk remains.

    The recording is performed using a femtosecond laser with a wavelength of 1030 nm, pulses of 8 microjoules of 280 femtosecond duration and a frequency of 200 kHz, by burning points in the crystal, in layers at a distance of 5 μm from each other (1 micrometer - one millionth meter) at a depth of 140 microns from the surface of quartz glass.

    Scorched nanostructures change the polarization of the light passing through the glass. Thus, information can be read using an optical microscope and a polarizer.

    Technology was first demonstratedin 2013, when a document of 300 KB in size was saved to disk, and then it was successfully read. Now the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Newtonian Optics, Magna Carta, and the Bible are also recorded. Books written in this way will be able to survive all people on Earth. The technology is refined and improved.

    Media of this type can be useful for organizations that have to manage huge amounts of data. For example, it can be museums, libraries, industrial enterprises. “It's amazing to even think that we have created a technology that allows us to save documents and other information for future generations. This technology can save everything that we have learned, ”says Professor Peter Kazansky, Project Head.

    This week, developers will publish all the details of the project. Currently, a study is being made of the commercial use of new types of storage media, for which developers are negotiating with large technology corporations.

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