Glass technology can potentially store data indefinitely
No matter how your data is stored – paper, cine film, video, CD, Blu-ray, hard drive, stone tablet – it will eventually degrade and be lost forever. It may take months, years, decades or more for it to happen, but it will happen.
However, according to Hitachi, that small piece of glass in the photo above may be a game changer. They have found a way to store digital information on slivers of quartz glass that can endure extreme temperatures and hostile conditions without degrading, almost forever.
“The volume of data being created every day is exploding, but in terms of keeping it for later generations, we haven’t necessarily improved since the days we inscribed things on stones,” Hitachi researcher Kazuyoshi Torii said. “The possibility of losing information may actually have increased,” he said, “As you must have experienced, there is the problem that you cannot retrieve information and data you managed to collect.”
The new technology stores data in binary form by creating dots inside a thin sheet of quartz glass, which can be read with an ordinary optical microscope.
According to Phys.org the data will always be readable no matter how far computers advance due to the information being stored in binary.
The chip, made from quartz glass, is is two centimetres (0.8 inches) square and just two millimetres (0.08 inches) thick and is resistant to many chemicals and unaffected by radio waves, can be exposed directly to high temperature flames and heated to 1,000 degrees Celsius (1,832 Fahrenheit) for at least two hours without being damaged. It is also waterproof, meaning it could survive natural calamities, such as fires and tsunami.
“We believe data will survive unless this hard glass is broken,” said senior researcher Takao Watanabe.
The material currently has four layers of dots, which can hold 40 megabytes per square inch and researchers think that adding more layers should not be a problem.
This reminds me a little of the data crystals used in Babylon 5. What are your thoughts on storing data on glass?