I saw this article (“5D – 360 TERABYTES IN A DISK THE SIZE OF A COIN“) this morning and thought that the advance described was significant. Not only the storage capacity significant, but the predicted ‘shelf life’ of 13.8 billion years at room temperature certainly offers incredible archival storage ability. This advancement in data storage was made by scientists at the University of Southampton Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC).
The ORC developed what they call a 5D process that allows a femtosecond laser to read and write data. Data is written in three layers of nanostructure dots separated by only 5 micrometers. These nanostructures change the way light passes through the glass, modifying it’s polarization. The data can then be read by an optical sensor coupled with a polarizer.
Obviously this is not a device you are able to order today and connect up to your computer. This does speak to the growing need for backup of large data sets and to long term storage needs. ORC is currently seeking commercial partners to further develop this technology and bring products to market.