‘Superman memory crystal’ could store hundreds of terabytes

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The University Of Southampton have recently developed a new storage medium which is said to offer both long term data storage and outstanding data density. The new tech is said to resemble the ‘memory crystals’ shown in Superman films, so it has been given the nickname ‘Superman memory crystals’.

Right now many enthusiast users are opting for a Solid State Drive to handle boot and OS duties, alongside a mechanical hard drive for storage of terabytes of data. The problem with mechanical hard drives is that will eventually pack in, sometimes within the space of a couple of years. Due to this, important data is often mirrored on other drives and backed up regularly to newer drives.
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Researchers at the University Of Southampton have created an extremely dense and durable memory that can hold 360TB of data on a single disc for ‘an indefinite amount of time’. The structure is made of glass and it can withstand temperatures up to 1,000 degrees celcius. The data is written to the special glass materials via a femtosecond laser which fires short, powerful bursts of light inside a dense three dimensional nanostructured glass.

The data is stored within three separate layers of nanostructured dots which are separated by five micrometers. Each of these dots contains information in the form of the intensity and polarisation of the laser beam. There are five variables, the insensity, polarisation and three dimensions – so the researches are calling the technique ’5D data storage’.
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They say the 360 TB data is basically incorruptible and can be stored on a single disc, or 80,000 more data than a single DVD.

The speed of writing is 12 kbit/sec although this could improve to around 8 mbit/sec if they use ferroelectric liquid crystals and finally to several Gbit/sec using magneto-optical spatial light modulation (MOSLM).

Professor Peter Kazansky, the ORC’s group supervisor, adds: “It is thrilling to think that we have created the first document which will likely survive the human race. This technology can secure the last evidence of civilisation: all we’ve learnt will not be forgotten.”

The reading device is said to only cost a few hundred pounds, but the writing device will cost ‘tens of thousands of pounds using current technology’. Might be a while before it replaces our bluray discs then. If you are interested in this, then you can read more over here.

Source: University Of Southampton.

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2 Comments
  • Beaudi
    July 11, 2013
    #1
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    Does it work like some disks where once you have finalised you can no longer add data or will it work more like flash memory that can be continually changed and updated.

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  • Kevin Grech
    July 11, 2013
    #2
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    I bet this would be available only to companies including NSA and NASA. And if this would really be our legacy, instructions must be given on how data is stored so that any intelligent being can decrypt/translate it.

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