We have seen technology progressing at a furious rate in these past few years and one thing that been constantly happening is that the capacities of storage systems have been increased while their sizes have dropped too crazy levels of miniaturization for convenience. But what about something with an insane 360TB of storage on the size of a quartz disk? Yes! Modern research has already created something like that! It seems the future of storage devices is here.
Storage technique that uses laser light to store 360 terabytes of information on nanostructured quartz lasts for up to 14 billion years.
Developed by researchers at Southampton University in the UK, the technique uses femtosecond laser pulses to write data in the 3D structure of quartz at the nanoscale. The pulses create three layers of nanostructured dots, each just five microns above the other. The changes in the structure can be read by interrogating the sample with another pulse of light and recording its polarisation —the orientation of the waves—after it’s passed through.
The team has now written a series of major works to small glass discs— including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Newton’s Opticks, the Magna Carta and the Kings James Bible. The density of the data aboard these discs suggests that they could squeeze a total of 360 terabytes onto a single piece of quartz. They also point out that the data is extremely stable: It could endure for as long as 13.8 billion years at temperatures up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
The idea of archiving data in this way has been around for a little while, but until now the density of data storage has been modest. Back in 2012, a similar technique was used to store 40 megabytes per square inch—approximately the same density as of a music CD. The new advance, though, makes the technique a genuine means of archiving vast quantities of information in perpetuity.
I’m glad to see such amazing stuff coming up and it leaves me wondering about the future. It seems that we will have insane amount of storage within the size of some micro chips! But, that is a long way away so let’s wait and wish for the fast arrival of this quartz disk on the commercial market!