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

By on July 11, 2013, 7:30 AM

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.




User Comments: 15

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2 people like this | NicktheWVAHick said:

Too bad the device used to read the data will be vaporized along with the human race.

Guest said:

Surely aren't the plates carried on the Voyager spacecraft the first?

4 people like this | MilwaukeeMike said:

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.

Hmmm... it's self-assembled? Does that mean the nanostrucutres self-assemble themselves or the researchers self-assembled the drive? Can you imagine getting one of these things in the mail with the words 'Some Assembly Required'?!

Step 1) Locate bag of 320 billion quartz nanostructures. Carefully place each nanostructure 5 micrometers apart on disc, being careful to balance equally across all 5 dimensions.

Seriously though... nice job guys, it sounds very cool. But how do they know it'll outlast the human race? Does that mean they know when the human race will end? Because that information would probably be worth more than a 320TB drive.

Guest said:

All I saw when I read the title was "Researchers create superfuckingamazingfuturistic harddrive".

Chazz said:

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.

Hmmm... it's self-assembled? Does that mean the nanostrucutres self-assemble themselves or the researchers self-assembled the drive? Can you imagine getting one of these things in the mail with the words 'Some Assembly Required'?!

Step 1) Locate bag of 320 billion quartz nanostructures. Carefully place each nanostructure 5 micrometers apart on disc, being careful to balance equally across all 5 dimensions.

Seriously though... nice job guys, it sounds very cool. But how do they know it'll outlast the human race? Does that mean they know when the human race will end? Because that information would probably be worth more than a 320TB drive.

This is exactly what I came to post. I think these guys are a bit premature. Are they saying we will never colonize other solar systems?!. Or will something happen way before that. I call bullarky...or alien...less my battlestar gallatica dreams will be crushed.

sambob said:

I not real excited, It won't happen In my lifetime.

I'm still waiting for this to happen [link]

this was the last thing I got excited about, It was suppose to be as common and cheap as dirt by now...still waiting.

RenGood08 RenGood08 said:

Well, this is awesome! Don't mind this post lol.

RenGood08 RenGood08 said:

...didn't add my comment. Nice. BUT it's awesome...I am so excited about this stuff and this constant change and expansion in computer technology blows me away. So the reason why I got into IT!

1 person liked this | JC713 JC713 said:

You should have included a few more images. The physics behind this is great.

Guest said:

Yep writing to nano structures with a powerful laser that barely fits into your living room. The article did not say the size of the laser generator. also don't look into laser. It will write your itunes library to your glass eye one eye jack.

St1ckM4n St1ckM4n said:

Seriously? They are saying it'll outlast the human race because they are saying any event that will wipe us out (nuclear, asteroid, etc) is below 1832F. This part is false, I believe.

Zoltan Head said:

I invented 4-dimensional storage media back in 1986, but I lost it down a crack in my sofa that was at 90 degrees to length, width and height.

5 dimensions will be even trickier.

Guest said:

Wel a human live is at most 120years

Guest said:

Any other math nerd out there really tweaked by the fact that their coordinate system on their drawing is not correct? Right hand rule, kids. Either Z needs to be pointed down or they need to swap X and Y.

Guest said:

When large tape drives help 100 bits per inch, NSA was at 3000. When pcs were 4.77mhz NSA was at 700mhz. This density is not new, just new to"us".

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