Very exciting data storage news by optical scientists from the University of Southampton who have developed a new revolutionary method called 5D optical memory. This means that up to 360TB of data can be stored on glass for billions of years, which could help mankind to be remembered ages after we are gone. As a comparison, 360Tb glass storage equals to 90 000 4Gb USB Memory sticks!
In order to store data in glass, scientists need to make use of nanogratings, which put simply, refers to a nanoscale grating created by shooting extremely fast femtosecond laser pulses of light at a material – usually metal or glass – to produce grooves or markings in it. In popular culture, this would be something similar to Superman using the laser beams in his eyes to store information in the memory crystals of the Fortress of Solitude!
The idea is that the femtosecond laser writes information into the glass by changing the way light moves through it, and each tiny dot created is able to store one bit of information. This 3D optical data storage method is similar to that used by CDs, DVDs and Blu-ray discs today, and the researchers have recorded a copy each of the Magna Carta, the King James Bible and the UN Declaration of Human Rights to glass to preserve them.
But to make glass digital data storage devices a viable reality, the researchers, including photonics and optoelectronics PhD students Aušra Cerkauskaite, Aabid Patel and Rokas Drevinskas, have now developed a method of reading and writing data to glass, using a five-dimensional (5D) digital data storage method whereby instead of tiny dots, the femtosecond lasers create self-assembling nanostructures. ￼
At USB2U we will await to hear when this data storage method might be available for commercial applications. One day we would love to say that our glass crystal USBs were true glass storage devices! Whilst it may not have the same storage capacity, a branded glass USB is the must have tech product of the year. With laser engraving, chrome metal casing and delivered in a stunning box it have a real wow factor.