5D Storage – A major breakthrough in storage capability

You may recall a story we reported on back in 2014 about some the monster cassette storage well, this major breakthrough by Scientists at the University of Southampton blows that story well and truly out of the water!

5D Storage Universal Declaration of Human RightsUsing nanostructured quartz and femtosecond laser writing, these guys have developed a method to write and retrieve 360 TB of data with a theoretical lifespan of 13.8 billion years! Now, let’s just put that into perspective here, the Earth is 4.5 billion years old (approximately) and at the current measurement, the Universe is 13.799±0.021 billion years old. That’s some seriously stable memory in a disc of glass that is around the size of a 10p piece…

Back in 2013 this technology was proven to be possible when a 300kb digital copy of a text file was written in 5D, here we are 3 years later with 360 Terabytes available to us! There have already been some major documents recorded in this manner that could very well survive the human race, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Magna Carta, King James Bible and Newton’s Optiks. This technology would be incredible for archival of vast amounts of data in museums, libraries and the like the preserve the information they hold.

Personally, I am very excited at the prospect of being able to prevent tragedies such as the Library of Alexandria.

How does this storage work?

Information is recorded using an ultra fast laser producing extremely short and intense light pulses which write the data in 3 layers of nanostructured dots separated by five micrometres (one millionth of a meter!)

The changes in the structure can be read by interrogating the sample with another pulse of light and recording the orientation of the waves after they’ve passed through.

This is what is referred to as 5D storage. The 5D’s include the three dimensions of space, which are tell you the physical location of the dot, and two additional dimensions that are encoded by the polarity and intensity of the beam that creates the dot.

Here’s a short video which demonstrates the fabrication process of this amazing technology! I look forward to reading more as this project gains the backing of commercial entities and we will, of course keep you all in the loop!