A very recent innovation in data storage could store the entirety of humankind.

Scientists have made a breakthrough in the development of digital data storage that is capable of surviving for billions of years!

Using nanostructured glass, scientists have developed the recording and retrieval processes of five dimensional (5D) digital data by “femtosecond laser writing.”

The storage allows unprecedented properties including 360 TB/disc data capacity, thermal stability up to 1,000°C and virtually unlimited lifetime at room temperature (13.8 billion years at 190°C ) opening a new era of eternal data archiving. As a very stable and safe form of portable memory, the technology could be highly useful for organizations with big archives, such as national archives, museums, and libraries, to preserve their information and records.
5D storage technology was first demonstrated in 2013 — when a 300 kb digital copy of a text file was successfully recorded in 5D.

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.

The information encoding is realized in five dimensions: the size and orientation in addition to the three-dimensional position of these nanostructures.

“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 civilization: all we’ve learned will not be forgotten,” says a professor involved with the project.

The team is now looking for industry partners to further develop and commercialize this ground-breaking new technology.