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Have you ever heard of ‘time capsules’? Well, it just got a serious upgrade!

Researchers at Southampton University in the UK developed a tiny glass disc that can store data up to 360TB (that’s 368,640 GB of data) which can be preserved for 14 Billion years. Yes, you heard it right!

The technique uses femtosecond laser pulses to write data in the 3D structure of quartz at the nanoscale. These pulses can write data in three layers of nanostructured dots separated by 5 micrometres (that’s 0.005 mm).

The team behind the new 5D discs says these discs could be most useful for institutions who deal with large archives: libraries, museums, and anywhere else extensive records are kept (like a Facebook data centre).

So where do the five dimensions come from? First there’s the three-dimensional position of each dot within the layers, and then the extra dimensions are the size and orientation of the dot. The nanostructures created by the technology can be read using an optical microscope in tandem with a polariser (a filter designed to block specific polarisations of light).

The team has now written a series of major works to small glass discs— including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Newton’s Opticks, the Magna Carta and the Kings James Bible. They also point out that the data is extremely stable: It could endure for as long as 13.8 billion years at temperatures up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Source: Southampton University

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