Storage? You want storage? How about 360TB per disk?

Just when you thought storage couldn't get bigger along comes YAT (Yet Another Technology) that could change everything.

Yep, multi-layered nanostructured quartz glass has been used by researchers at the University of Southampton in England to store data at a density of 360TB per disk (presumably a disk the size of a DVD) and because the substrate is glass it is temperature stable up to 1000°C with a "practically unlimited lifetime."

The system is termed "5D" recording because the data is encoded in three spatial dimensions plus polarization and intensity.

Coined as the ‘Superman’ memory crystal’, as the glass memory has been compared to the “memory crystals” used in the Superman films, the data is recorded via self-assembled nanostructures created in fused quartz, which is able to store vast quantities of data for over a million years. The information encoding is realised in five dimensions: the size and orientation in addition to the three dimensional position of these nanostructures.

The only problem with the system is that writing data onto a disk requires a very sophisticated femtosecond laser system that costs thousands of dollars. On the other hand, a system to read the disks could be produced, say the researchers, for just hundreds of dollars.

You can read the paper, "5D Data Storage by Ultrafast Laser Nanostructuring in Glass", describing the technique as well as the more digestible press release.

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