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5D Optical Data Storage Technology Offers Incredible Density

Nov, 2021

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Scientists developed a new technique to produce high-density nanostructures in silica glass, which could be used for lasting 5D optical data storage with 10,000 times more the capacity of Blue-ray disc storage technology.

A team of scientists at the University of Southampton developed an energy-saving, laser writing method to create nanostructures with high density. These structures could be utilized to create five dimensional (5D) optical data storages that are 10,000 times denser than a Blue-ray disc storage. According to the research published on the Optica Publishing Group’s journal, optica on October 28, 2021, using the new method 500 terabytes of storage can be created on a single device having size of CD. It could be used to store any kind of information from libraries and museums to DNA data of a person.

This new technology is known as 5D optical storage which was being pursued by the team for a long time. In 2013, the researchers recorded and retrieved 300 kb text file, using a femtosecond laser to write the data, where the laser throws out short but strong pulses of light that forges tiny nanoscaled structures in glass. In addition to the three spatial dimensions, the information is stored in these structures on the polarization and intensity of the laser beam, which is why they are referred as 5D data storage. This long-lasting 5D data storage contains astonishing thermal stability and virtually infinite lifetime at room temperature.

In the new technology, the scientists have used a few weak light pulses instead of femtosecond laser, which allows them to write data at 1,000,000 voxels per second, which is equal to data of 230 kb per second. The researchers wrote text data of 5 GB size on a silica glass disc with the size of a CD to demonstrate this new technology. According to the researchers, the disc would be capable of storing 500 TB of data, which makes it 10,000 times denser compared to a Blue-ray disc.

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