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5d Optical Memory in Nanostructured Quartz Glass Could Lead to ­nlimited Lifetime Data Storage

Christopher Reeve as Superman, standing among his 'memory crystals.'

A new 5D digital data storage technology, dubbed "Superman memory crystal," can store 360 terabytes of data indefinitely.

Credit: Warner Brothers

University of Southampton researchers have experimentally demonstrated the recording and retrieval process of five-dimensional (5D) digital data in nanostructured glass by femtosecond laser writing.

The researchers say the technology, dubbed "Superman memory crystal," enables 360 terabytes of disk-data capacity, thermal stability up to 1,000 degrees Celsius, and nearly an unlimited lifetime.

The information encoding is realized in five dimensions: the three-dimensional positions of the nanostructures, as well as their size and orientation.

The researchers were able to record a 300K digital copy of a text file in 5D using an ultrafast laser, producing extremely short and intense pulses of light. The file was written in three layers of nanostructured dots separated by 5 micrometers.

"We are developing a very stable and safe form of portable memory using glass, which could be highly useful for organizations with big archives," says project leader Jingyu Zhang.

The self-assembled nanostructures change the way light travels through glass, modifying the polarization of light, which can then be read by a combination of optical microscopes and a polarizer.

From University of Southampton (United Kingdom)
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Abstracts Copyright © 2013 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


Michael Smith

That's the reading/writing mechanism. What is stored on the disk itself will last forever, not the hardware to read or write. So the statement is correct; data is stored forever. Otherwise it makes no sense.

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