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Wednesday, February 17, 2016
Researchers Develop Eternal 5D Data Storage Medium Using Glass


Scientists at the University of Southampton have developed a small disc of glass that can hold 360TB and is capable of surviving for billions of years.

Using nanostructured glass, tscientists 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.

The storage allows unprecedented properties including 360 TB/disc data capacity, thermal stability up to 1,000C and virtually unlimited lifetime at room temperature (13.8 billion years at 190C ) opening a new era of eternal data archiving. The technology could be highly useful for organisations with big archives, such as national archives, museums and libraries, to preserve their information and records.

Data is recorded using ultrafast laser, producing extremely short and intense pulses of light. It is written in three layers of nanostructured dots separated by five micrometres.

The self-assembled nanostructures change the way light travels through glass, modifying polarisation of light that can then be read by combination of optical microscope and a polariser, similar to that found in Polaroid sunglasses.

The data is recorded via self-assembled nanostructures created in fused quartz. The information encoding is realised in five dimensions: the size and orientation in addition to the three dimensional position of these nanostructures.

The researchers will present their research at the photonics industry's renowned SPIE?The International Society for Optical Engineering Conference in San Francisco, USA this week.

The team are now looking for industry partners to further develop and commercialise this new technology.


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