We might finally have a solution for the storage of all of our combination of ones and zeros that make up our data: researchers from the UK have created a 5D digital data disc — the Superman memory crystal — that is able to save 360 terabytes of data for a duration of 13.8 billion years.
Scientists from the University of Southampton used a technique called femtosecond writing to make the data disc; the method makes use of a super-fast laser generating short and intense light pulses which write data in 3 layers of nano-dots that are 0.005mm apart. These dots are each in the 5D-setting.
Each dot within the layers is positioned in 3D, and their size and orientation constitute the other dimensions.
Apart from the ability to save a huge amount of data, the memory crystal is also resistant to temperatures as high as 1,000°C.
The resulting nano-product can be read with the help of an optical microscope coupled with a polariser.
The 5D data discs are described as being ideal for firms dealing with huge archives such as libraries, museums, and even Internet companies like Facebook that would require enormous data centres. The team has already stored copies of The King James Bible, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), Newton’s Opticks, and The Magna Carta on their superman disc.
One of the researchers behind the marvellous invention, Peter Kazansky believes their newly-invented technology to be “thrilling” as large amounts of data can thus be stored and preserved for posterity. He also adds that it can safeguard the “last evidence of our civilisation”.
The researchers intend to work in concert with industry specialists to render their technology commercially viable.