The Superman of hard drives: New 5-dimensional computer 'memory crystal' will survive the human race, say scientists
Information is encoded with lasers, has a thermal stability of up to 1000°C and a practically unlimited shelf life
Steve Connor is the Science Editor of The Independent. He has won many awards for his journalism, including five-times winner of the prestigious British science writers’ award; the David Perlman Award of the American Geophysical Union; twice commended as specialist journalist of the year in the UK Press Awards; UK health journalist of the year and a special merit award of the European School of Oncology for his investigative journalism. He has a degree in zoology from the University of Oxford and has a special interest in genetics and medical science, human evolution and origins, climate change and the environment.
Wednesday 10 July 2013
Information stored within a computer “memory crystal” developed in Britain could survive for a million years without being lost, according to scientists who said that it could long outlive the end of civilisation.
The crystal can store digital information in five dimensions – the three dimensions of space and two extra dimensions of the crystal lattice – and pack up to 360 terabytes of data on to a single disc, equivalent to about half a million conventional CDs.
Jingyu Zhang and his colleagues at Southampton University have compared the glass memory device to the Superman memory crystal used in the films of the comic-book hero to store his parents’ archives of data.
“We are developing a very stable and safe form of portable memory using glass, which could be highly useful for organisations with big archives. At the moment companies have to back up their archives every five to ten years because hard-drive memory has a relatively short lifespan,” Mr Zhang said.
“Museums who want to preserve information or places like the national archives where they have huge numbers of documents would really benefit,” he said.
The fused quartz is made from almost pure silica and the data is stored by etching the surface of the crystal with ultra-high-speed laser light. The data is laid down on three rows of tracks separated by a millionth of a metre and each spot or bit of data can exist in one of two forms and up to 256 variable states, giving five storage dimensions, Mr Zhang said.
The crystal if very stable and can survive temperatures of up to 1,000C. At more normal temperatures it will remain unchanged for at least a million years, he said.
Professor Peter Kazansky, who led the team, said: “It is thrilling to think that we have created the first document which will likely survive the human race. This technology can secure the last evidence of civilisation. All we’ve learnt will not be forgotten.”
- 1 Keira Knightley topless: Usually conservative actress does own take on #Freethenipple campaign for Interview Magazine
- 2 Oil tanker with $100 million cargo goes missing off Texas coast
- 3 George Galloway left with severe bruising after attack in Notting Hill by man 'shouting about the Holocaust'
- 4 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 5 Lady al-Qa’ida: On the trail of Dr Aafia Siddiqui, the world’s most wanted prisoner
YouTube video posted by Isis militants shows 'execution of 250 Syrian soldiers'
Keira Knightley topless: Usually conservative actress does own take on #Freethenipple campaign for Interview Magazine
Oil tanker with $100 million cargo goes missing off Texas coast
George Galloway left with severe bruising after attack in Notting Hill by man 'shouting about the Holocaust'
A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Scottish independence TV debate: Pumped-up Alex Salmond bounces back in bruising second round against Alistair Darling
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
- < Previous
- Next >
£28000 - £30000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Junior VB.NET ...
£40000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Web De...
Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: HAMPSHIRE MARKET TOWN - A highly attr...
£35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Network Engineer (CCNP, CCNA, Linux, OSPF,...