Now, nanostructured glass allows 360 TB disk capacity
Washington: Scientists have experimentally demonstrated nanostructured glass could record 360 TB/disc data capacity, has thermal stability up to 1000 degree Celsius and has practically unlimited lifetime.
Scientists at the University of Southampton have, for the first time, experimentally demonstrated the recording and retrieval processes of five dimensional digital data by femtosecond laser writing.
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.
A 300 kb digital copy of a text file was successfully recorded in 5D using ultrafast laser, producing extremely short and intense pulses of light.
The file is written in three layers of nanostructured dots separated by five micrometres (one millionth of a metre).
The self-assembled nanostructures change the way light travels through glass, modifying polarisation of light that can then be read by combination of optical microscope and a polariser, similar to that found in Polaroid sunglasses.
The research is led by the ORC researcher Jingyu Zhang and conducted under a joint project with Eindhoven University of Technology.
Zhang said that they are developing a very stable and safe form of portable memory using glass, which could be highly useful for organisations with big archives.
Zhang asserted at the moment companies have to back up their archives every five to ten years because hard-drive memory has a relatively short lifespan, adding that museums who want to preserve information or places like the national archives where they have huge numbers of documents, would really benefit.
The Physical Optics group from the ORC presented their ground-breaking paper ' 5D Data Storage by Ultrafast Laser Nanostructuring in Glass' at the photonics industry's renowned Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics (CLEO'13) in San Jose.