Researchers create five-dimensional storage medium with 360TB capacity that can outlast the human race

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A team of researchers led by Jingyu Zhang from the University of Southampton's Optoelectronics Research Center and Eindhoven's University of Technology have successfully wrote and read 300KB worth of data to a five-dimensional optical storage medium.

300KB may not sound like a significant breakthrough but it’s the medium and how it was written that’s noteworthy here. The team used a femtosecond laser that emits short and powerful bursts of light to write and read the data on a medium constructed of self-assembled nanostructures within fused quartz.

The laser is capable of writing data to three layers of nanostructured dots within the glass only five micrometers apart but what is even cooler is its ability to write data in five dimensions. In addition to the three-dimensional position, it utilizes size and orientation when writing.

Researchers believe the medium is capable of holding up to 360TB worth of data per disc and can withstand temperatures of up to 1,832 Fahrenheit. Considering the specifications, Professor Peter Kazansky of the Optoelectronics Research Center said it is thrilling to think that they have created the first document that will likely survive the human race.

Moving forward, the team aims to find partners that will help them take the technology commercial. The full write-up can be read in the researchers’ paper titled 5D Data Storage by Ultrafast Laser Nanostructuring in Glass which was submitted to the Conference on laser and Electro-Optics.

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