The storage allows unprecedented properties including 360 TB/disc data capacity, thermal stability up to 1,000°C and virtually unlimited lifetime at room temperature (13.8 billion years at 190°C ) 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.