Image: Jamie Condliffe
Now, a new mini disc developed by researchers in the United Kingdom is said to be able to store up to 300 terabytes worth of information for billions of years without suffering any deterioration of its digital contents.
Using nanostructured glass, scientists 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 1,000°C and virtually unlimited lifetime at room temperature (13.8 billion years at 190°C ) opening a new era of eternal data archiving. As a very stable and safe form of portable memory, the technology could be highly useful for organisations with big archives, such as national archives, museums and libraries, to preserve their information and records.
"It is thrilling to think that we have created the technology to preserve documents and information and store it in space for future generations," said one of the researchers, Peter Kazansky. "This technology can secure the last evidence of our civilisation: all we've learnt will not be forgotten."
The researchers are presenting their work at the the International Society for Optical Engineering Conference in San Francisco this week, and after that, they're hoping to find industry specialists to partner with in order to develop the technology further, finally getting it to a stage where it could be used in commercial products.