5D Glass data storage can store data for up to 13.8 billion years

Scientists at the University of Southampton have developed 5D glass data storage that is capable of surviving for billions of years. Using nanostructured glass, scientists have developed the recording and retrieval processes of 5D glass data storage by femtosecond laser writing.

The storage allows 360 TB/disc data capacity, thermal stability up to 1,000°C and virtually unlimited lifetime at room temperature 13.8 billion years at 190°C. As a very stable and safe form of portable memory, the technology could be highly useful for organisations with big archives, such as national archives, museums and libraries.

Although the expensive lasers needed to fabricate the discs aren’t going to move out of the lab any time soon, the discs can be read relatively easily, with the team from Southampton suggesting the equivalent of a DVD player for 5D information could be developed in decades. “The concept and the development of it is ready to go,” says Patel. “It’s a matter of developing the technology so we can then make it readily available for commercial purposes.”