5D optical data storage

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5D optical data storage (sometimes known as Superman memory crystal[1]) is a nanostructured glass for permanently recording 5-D digital data[2] using femtosecond laser writing process.[3] The memory crystal is capable of storing up to 360 terabytes worth of data[4][5] for billions of years.[6][7][8][9] The concept was experimentally demonstrated in 2013.[10][11][12] As of 2018 the technology is in production use by the Arch Mission Foundation. Its first and second discs were given to Elon Musk; one disc is in his personal library, and the other was placed aboard the Tesla Roadster in space.[13]

Technical design[edit]

The concept is the bulk storing of data optically in non-photosensitive transparent materials such as fused quartz, which is renowned for its high chemical stability and resistance. Writing into it using a femtosecond-laser was first proposed and demonstrated in 1996.[1][14][15] The storage media consists of fused quartz where the spatial dimensions, intensity, polarization, and wavelength is used to modulate data. By introducing gold or silver nanoparticles embedded in the material, their plasmonic properties can be exploited.[1]

Up to 18 layers have been tested using optimized parameters with a light pulse energy of 0.2 μJ, a duration of 600 fs and a repetition rate of 500 kHz. Assuming 100% efficient laser that is 1W power consumption for (at most) 0.5 Mbit/sec data rate. For a data rate of 100MBytes/s that adds up to 1.6 kW. Testing the durability using accelerated aging measurements shows that the decay time of the nanogratings is 3×1020±1 years at room temperature (30 °C). At an elevated temperature of 189 °C the extrapolated decay time is comparable to the age of the Universe (13.8×109 years). By recording data with a numerical aperture objective of 1.4 NA and a wavelength of 250–350 nm, a capacity of 360 TBytes can be achieved.[1]

The format has a unique 5-dimensional method of storing data, according to the University of Southampton:

It can be read with a combination of an optical microscope and a polarizer.[17]

The technique was first demonstrated in 2010 by Kazuyuki Hirao's laboratory at the Kyoto University.[18] Further, the technology was developed by Peter Kazansky's research group at the Optoelectronics Research Centre, University of Southampton.[19][20][21][22]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Kazansky, P.; et al. (11 March 2016). "Eternal 5D data storage via ultrafast-laser writing in glass". SPIE Newsroom.
  2. ^ & The five dimensions consist of the size, orientation and the three-dimensional position of the nanostructures.
  3. ^ ""Cristais de memória do Superman" armazenam até 360TB por 1 milhão de anos". Terra. November 11, 2013. Retrieved March 1, 2016.
  4. ^ Eternal 5D data storage could record the history of humankind published by University of Southampton (2016)
  5. ^ Superman memory crystal lets you store 360TB worth of data by Kevin Huebler, in CNBC (2016)
  6. ^ 5D nanostructured quartz glass optical memory could provide ‘unlimited’ data storage for a million years by Jingyu Zhang et al (2013)
  7. ^ "Superman memory crystal" could store hundreds of terabytes indefinitely by Dario Borghino (2013)
  8. ^ New 'Superman' crystals can store data for billions of years by Jethro Mullen at "CNN-Tech" (2016)
  9. ^ Kazansky, Peter. "Nanostructures in glass will store data for billions of years". SPIE Newsroom. Retrieved 11 March 2016.
  10. ^ 5D ‘Superman memory’ crystal could lead to unlimited lifetime data storage published on 9th July 2013 by university of southampton
  11. ^ 5D Data Storage by Ultrafast Laser Nanostructuring in Glass Archived 2014-09-06 at the Wayback Machine by Jingyu Zhang, Mindaugas Gecevičius, Martynas Beresna e Peter G. Kazansky, published by "Optoelectronics Research Centre" SO17 1BJ, Reino Unido (2013)
  12. ^ New nanostructured glass for imaging and recording developed published by Phys.org, provided by University of Southampton (2011)
  13. ^ David Szondy (February 13, 2018). "Tesla Roadster carries Asimov sci-fi classic to the stars". New Atlas. Retrieved February 13, 2018.
  14. ^ E. N. Glezer, M. Milosavljevic, L. Huang, R. J. Finlay, T.-H. Her, J. P. Callan, E. Mazur, Three-dimensional optical storage inside transparent materials, Opt. Lett. 21, p. 2023-2025, 1996.
  15. ^ M. Watanabe, S. Juodkazis, H. B. Sun, S. Matsuo, H. Misawa, M. Miwa, R. Kaneko, Transmission and photoluminescence images of three-dimensional memory in vitreous silica, Applied Physics Letters 74, p. 3957-3559, 1999.
  16. ^ "5D Data Storage, How Does it Work and When Can We Use it?". Retrieved 17 August 2018.
  17. ^ "Optical 'Superman' memory flies with orbiting Tesla". Optics. February 7, 2018. Retrieved February 17, 2018.
  18. ^ Shimotsuma, Y., Sakakura, M., Kazansky, P. G., Beresna, M., Qiu, J., Miura, K. and Hirao, K. (2010), Ultrafast Manipulation of Self-Assembled Form Birefringence in Glass. Adv. Mater., 22: 4039–4043. doi:10.1002/adma.201000921
  19. ^ Martynas Beresna, Mindaugas Gecevičius, Peter G. Kazansky, Thomas Taylor, and Alexey V. Kavokin, Exciton mediated self-organization in glass driven by ultrashort light pulses, Applied Physics Letters 2012 101:5
  20. ^ Jingyu Zhang, Mindaugas Gecevičius, Martynas Beresna, and Peter G. Kazansky, Seemingly Unlimited Lifetime Data Storage in Nanostructured Glass, Phys. Rev. Lett. 112, 033901, 2014
  21. ^ P. Kazansky, A. Cerkauskaite, R. Drevinskas, Optical memory enters 5D realm, Physics World June 2016
  22. ^ J. Zhang, A. Čerkauskaitė, R. Drevinskas, A. Patel, M. Beresna, P. G. Kazansky, Eternal 5D data storage by ultrafast laser writing in glass, Proc. SPIE 9736, Laser-based Micro- and Nanoprocessing X, 97360U (2016)

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