Most technology products from today would have no doubt been science fiction or crazy talk even just twenty years ago. So it seems for the innovative ideas rolling out of scientific institutions these days with their promise of everlasting data and even wireless charging. Well, a group of scientists from the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom may have just stumbled across a more credibly science fiction-like claim. The scientists at that particular English university have allegedly created five-dimensional glass discs capable of storing enormous amounts of data for a limitless amount of time (in short, no expiry date).
The five-dimensional glass discs the scientist at the University of Southampton have developed are remarkable in their specifications. These glass discs are made from silica glass, the same material used for a wide variety of computer components. The difference is that these glass discs are extremely dense in terms of storage capacity. According to the team of English scientists, the silica glass discs would surpass the capacity of DVDs and Blu-rays through and through. The estimated maximum storage capacity of just one disc? It’s a whopping 360 terabytes. Not even the most advanced hard drives in the market can touch such a premium when it comes down to the ratio between volume and storage capacity.
Though it’s a bit hard to stretch your mind around the existence of such discs and their specifications, there is a lot of science going on behind those claims. The memory on the discs will really be stored on five dimensions. Width and height offer the two standard dimensions, while three different layers or depth, provide the third dimension. The last two dimensions of the disc are determined by nanotechnology; the surface of the glass disc is structured in a number of ways that allows light to refract and polarizes at varying degrees.
Recording data on the five-dimensional silica glass disc would involve the use of a femtosecond laser that will imprint spots on the glass surface. This kind of laser produces extremely quick bursts of laser light that make it possible to record more bits of data, in this case three, onto two dimensions. The laser focus can be changed to create layers of dots that will fit in the third dimension of storage and a changed of movement horizontally or vertically would add more data onto the disc, this time on the fourth and fifth dimensions.
Furthermore, because of the nature of its production, the silica glass discs produced by the scientists at the University of Southampton are so thermally stable that they can withstand temperatures of up to 1000 degrees Celsius without the slights data disintegration. Sounds like a bright future for optical media storage.