5D Glass Discs Can Save Data For Billions Of Years

Posted: Feb 18 2016, 8:12am CST | by , Updated: Feb 19 2016, 9:23am CST, in Latest Science News


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5D Glass Discs Can Save Data for Billions of Years
Eternal 5D data storage. Credit: University of Southampton
  • 5D Glass Discs could record the history of humankind

Certain 5D glass discs have been created by modern technology that can serve as information depositories for billions of years.

Future cultures and civilizations will look back at our latest knowledge and wisdom and shake their heads. It will all seem so quaint to them, almost like magical fairy tales.

In a world where pics collect smudges soon, books tend to grow mildew and hard drives falter, something is needed to preserve our cultural heritage. It is a vast cornucopia of facts, stories and data that might just prove useful in the times which are yet to come.

It is not a case of breaking records but a relay race where the past gets transferred to the present and then the future. Thus the total flow of the timeline is maintained without any breaks in between.

The media of exchange and information circulation also get vastly differentiated with the arrival of the futuristic in our post-historical times. A novel data format has been invented which could preserve information in small nano structures made of glass.

That is 360 terabytes of data which could remain intact for 13.8 billion years. It could actually withstand temperatures of 190 degrees Centigrade.

Such a time span is older than the universe we inhabit. It is three times the age of the planet we find ourselves on. Termed five dimensional data storage, the methodology was demonstrated on paper two years ago.

The perfection of this technique has been honed to a razor blade and it may even have commercial applications later on. Anything can be etched onto the glass disc.

Copies of the Holy Bible, Isaac Newton’s Optics and the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights were stored on one of the small devices with ease. In order to understand the storage mechanism of these discs, it is necessary to compare them to a standard CD.

In case of an ordinary CD, laser light is reflected from many tiny bumps and troughs on its surface. The configuration of the readings are binary, meaning they come in ones or zeroes.

However, with 5D discs there is an interior space that has nano-gratings in it. The reflection of laser light is not one dimensional but five dimensional in nature in case of this fine disc.

These extra dimensions ensure extra storage of any form of multimedia. The glass is resistant to melting or breakage. The future may be very rosy or it may be a dystopia that is very bleak. One never knows for sure. So to transmit the current state of know-how in disc form into the far-off future is a worthy goal.

Professor Peter Kazansky, from the ORC, says: “It is thrilling to think that we have created the technology to preserve documents and information and store it in space for future generations. This technology can secure the last evidence of our civilisation: all we’ve learnt will not be forgotten.”

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
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