Hitachi unveils quartz-based storage, data may last 100 million years

By Rick ¬∑ 19 replies
Sep 26, 2012
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  1. This morning Hitachi demonstrated its ability to encode data onto what it calls "quartz glass". Data etched into the material should last 100 million years, the company claims. Diamonds may be forever, but apparently quartz isn't very far behind.

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  2. Sarcasm

    Sarcasm TS Guru Posts: 367   +46

    100 million years eh?

    What if it only lasts 99 million years? False advertising! :)
    9Nails likes this.
  3. Babylon 5 data crystals COOL.
    spydercanopus likes this.
  4. TomSEA

    TomSEA TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,713   +855

    Man, who the heck thinks up this stuff??
  5. Gars

    Gars TS Booster Posts: 232

    Our grand-grand's
    they'll be bored anyway
  6. jeffz6

    jeffz6 TS Rookie Posts: 79

    Now we will never get rid of myth busters and jersy shore
  7. Chazz

    Chazz TS Evangelist Posts: 679   +75

    What's wrong with mythbusters? :(
  8. vpix360

    vpix360 TS Rookie

    Sorry Korea. You are more than 3 years LATE to the party.

    A bunch of really smart American government engineers beat you guys to the punch on this one.

    There's a company near Los Alamos National Labs that developed this in 2009.

    If you remember seeing Star Trek (1960's TV Series) their computers used a sort of plastic disc with the edges cut off. It was square shaped but with the top right edge trimmed off. And they come in really nice colors. Pink. Yellow, Orange. Blue.

    Quartz is ground up into a fine powder, then fused with a kind of light sensitive recording layer and polymer they call Tychranaline.

    It reminds me of the dyes similar to that of conventional CD-R discs now (cyanine or pthalocyanine).

    We used cyanine with the first generation Photo CD, Catalog, Portfolio and Medical CDs back when I was at Eastman Kodak in the 1990's. This is what gives archival CD-ROMs the 100 year life expectancy and the CD is a gold color.

    CD-ROMs made with pthalocyanine are about as cheap / inferior as they come. You can spot them quickly because they have a kind of green-blue cast to them and are not designed for long life, but higher speed recording (20X and above).

    The square discs made by the Los Alamos National Labs from are similar in one respect to conventional CD-ROMs. They are all recorded once with a 10mw laser. And like solid state hard drives, they don't spin, either. They are designed for recording massive amounts of data onto a single, 4-inch square.
  9. @ vpix360
    Although the technology was first developed back in 2009, it was not feasible due to the time it took to etch the data. Hitatchi found ways to etch the data faster and as a result, it's now practical compared to the Los Alamos version.

    Also Hitatchi is not a Korean company. It's a Japanese company.
    SalaSSin and DanUK like this.
  10. vpix360

    vpix360 TS Rookie

    Yes, my apologies. Japanese company. I should never have switched to drinking decaf coffee. Ha ha ha.

    Nonetheless, advanced work continues with photo sensitive dyes and quartz recordable media to create better / faster ways of storing data. Since my initial reviews of Z-disc was 3-years ago, I have to assume that phase II is well under way by now.

    Phase II was based on a discovery that higher speed transmission / recordings were possible when they applied a vibrational frequency to the laser as it recorded the data.

    Since every object on the planet has a frequency at which molecules and photons vibrate, it was discovered that quartz crystals could absorb more photons if the laser vibrated at the same frequency as the quartz itself.

    The beauty of light traveling at a certain wavelength would strike the crystals at the same vibrational frequency as the quartz -- nearly tripling the speed at which the data could be recorded. You can say that both quartz and laser were in harmony with each other.

    So you could call Z-disc (Zen Disc) right? Because laser and quartz can actually be one with the universe.

    Jokes aside, this is a serious science and one that holds many new promises for recording and playback of video, music or mountains of data in the palm of your hand. Imagine the entire library of congress on a single 4-inch quartz disc. It's more fact than fiction thanks to the research and breakthroughs being discovered with quartz crystals being used as an archival recording media that could last 10,000 years or more.

    Not surprisingly, it was discovered that playback using the same vibrational frequency it was recorded with, albeit with a lower wavelength laser delivered the same increase in speed. Although it was found that most Intel processors including the dual core models would fry themselves within seconds by receiving too much data too quickly. Not sure about today's quad core processors.

    Long story short, it's not a stretch of the imagination to see that in 3 years or less BlueRay DVDs will mostly likely become the extinct, VHS dinosaurs of tomorrow. It's sad to realize there's companies like Hitachi, Sony and others out there inventing technology that will only result in consumers forced to repurchase their entire their Hollywood movie collections in yes another media. Call me old fashioned, but quite frankly, I was very happy with my Sony BetaMax VCR. In three years or less, I predict Z-disc will be for sale at BestBuy stores from coast to coast.

    Since I am a technology futurist, I have to confess this is most likely where the future of "Crystal-based recordable media," is headed. When it becomes commercialized, it will be sold to governments, Google, NASA, then gaming companies like X-box, Nintendo, Sony, then eventually the consumer. And it will be done exactly in that order.

    While my Z-disc has a few dents, bangs and scratches... I have nothing to really complain about because it only takes about 11 or so minutes to record a half terabyte of data onto one Z-disc. There's only 14 prototypes out there -- and NO -- mine is not for sale at any price. Sorry.

    If you're lucky, you might see one at COMDEX in two years and on the shelves of Best Buy by 2015.
  11. spydercanopus

    spydercanopus TS Evangelist Posts: 855   +121

    Someone read those crystal skulls with this ROM.
  12. While I love the idea of super-long term data storage, it is silly to only store the data in the media but not create a device to read it that would last just as long.

    Sure arguably if humanity doesn't get wiped out by nukes or a giant space rock or disease, then we might advance immeasurably over time as a civilization and perhaps reading it will be child's play.

    However, the logical thing to do would be to store the data and create a device which makes it's easily accessible and intelligible.What if civilization goes backwards and we become primitives again? It's happened before to some cultures, can happen again. So it should be a device that could be accessible to any human with little effort and perhaps used to rebuild civilization.

    Plus it should be able to store all the data on earth-without licensing, kind of like the seed bank. We have the means now to make our knowledge safe from destruction and it can be redundant. Barbarians on horseback (like muslims in the old days) can no longer wipe out a culture's wealth of knowledge by burning libraries.

    So good start, but develop this exciting idea much further.
  13. Exactly what I was thinking. make it round, cylinder shaped, use a levitation system to read it with a laser by spinning it, if it could be solid clear through, the data density could be limitless, as the layers could be limitless also. it shows how far ahead of its time Bab-5 was. Richard Anderson, Indpls.,IN, USA
  14. Wait what if they only accept exchanges with the original receipt?
  15. Zoltan Head

    Zoltan Head TS Booster Posts: 247   +27

    In the event of civilization's unfortunate demise, do you not think the world might do better to try a clean slate?
    Seems unkind to wish the current state of play on future generations! ;)
    (mind you, I suppose it might be wise to preserve the best of art & culture - Beethoven, Mythbusters and so on...)
  16. VitalyT

    VitalyT Russ-Puss Posts: 3,660   +1,948

    "The new storage medium is expected to hit the market in 2015..."

    More likely market will hit that storage medium. Speed and capacity nowadays are prioritized before age resistance. They will have one hell of catching up to do to make it a viable product.

    In the age when people have adopted to the idea of having to recharge their mobiles every day, this is like a new type of phone charger that you charge once, and then your grandchildren will use it also. Nice stuff, just nobody cares about.
  17. WOW!
  18. Wait...if you drop it, will it shatter?
  19. Pdeezy

    Pdeezy TS Rookie

    Can You Dig Me Up A Link Id Like To Read More On This....
  20. vpix360

    vpix360 TS Rookie

    You'll have to contact the general info desk at Los Alamos National Labs for a copy of the original specs. Apparently the project has now been "militarized," and is no longer available to download. Sorry.

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