New advancements have made hard disks and other flash storage equipment reliable over the years. However, we still lack devices that can keep data intact for longer durations, say millennia or decades. This problem can be solved with the help of 5D optical storage. This storage has a data density 10,000 times that of a Blu-ray disc. Writing data on the class had its own disadvantages. For instance, it was pretty slow, but that has changed now. Folks at the University of Southampton have developed a new process to speed up the process, that too without impacting the reliability of the data.
This new type of data storage makes use of three layers of nanoscale dots in a glass disk. The five “dimensions” utilized to encode data are determined by the size, orientation, and position (in three dimensions) of the dots.
Moreover, researchers at Southampton believe that the data on the 5D disc can remain intact for 13.8 billion years. Although it’s unlikely that anyone would be around to read them at that point. In the near term, heated to 1,000 degrees Celsius, 5D optical media could be able to survive.
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5D optical storage is not something new
This isn’t the first time a 5G optical data storage solution has been proposed. It was simply inconveniently sluggish previously. Lasers are used to add data to the discs; however, if the laser moves too quickly, the disc’s structural integrity is jeopardized. Yuhao Lei, a Ph.D. researcher, developed a technique that uses a femtosecond laser with a high repetition rate. The procedure begins with a seeding pulse that forms a nanovoid, but the rapid pulse isn’t required to write any data. The repetitive weak pulses take advantage of a phenomenon known as a near-field enhancement to gently mold the nanostructures.
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When can we expect
It is still in the nascent stages, but the team was able to write and recover 5GB of data. So, we will have to wait till the technology matures.