Breaking through the storage barrier: Researchers create 5D disc with 360 TB capacity

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University of Southampton

 A major research breakthrough has resulted in storage which could last billions of years and revolutionize the way we store information.

At a time when we are drowning in data and screaming out for better ways to safely store our information, researchers from the University of Southampton have developed a solution which could revolutionize the storage industry.

On Thursday, scientists at the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom revealed a major breakthrough in storage in the form of a small, five-dimensional disc which not only has a huge capacity but could save our information safely for billions of years.

The team, led by Professor Peter Kazansky from the university’sOptoelectronics Research Centre (ORC), say the storage disc includes a data capacity of 360 TB per disc, the ability to withstand temperatures of up to 1,000c and a “virtually unlimited lifetime at room temperature” — which could preserve our information for as long as almost 14 billion years.

The storage disc is formed of nanostructured glass, and data is both recorded and retrieved in a 5D format using lasers which write to the femtosecond — a time measurement equal to one quadrillionth of a second. These tiny bursts of intense light are used to write information to the disc in three layers, of which, each layer is made of nanostructured dots separated by only five micrometres.

“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,” the team says.

The university team first began demonstrating the potential of this technology in 2013, when a 300kb digital copy of a text file was successfully recorded in 5D.

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