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  • Imagine if every tweet, snapchat, and YouTube comment ever made was preserved for eternity?

  • Well, we might have the technology, for better or worse.

  • Hey guys, Amy with you on DNews today talking some incredibly mind-bending data storage

  • technology!

  • The new technology comes from scientists at the University of Southampton's Optoelectronics

  • Research Centre. They developed a five dimensional recording and retrieval process on fused quartz

  • using femtosecond laser writing -- meaning a laser pulse that lasts one quadrillionth

  • of a second.

  • Yeah, you heard that right: a laser is recording data on quartz in 5 dimensions!

  • To break this down, let's compare this new technology to a CD. When data is stored on

  • a conventional optical media like a CD, it's stored by burning tiny bumps on one or more

  • layers of a plastic disc. This means it's stored as bumps using three spatial dimensions:

  • height, length, and width. When the data on a CD is read, a laser light is bounced off

  • the disc, registering a 1 when the light bounces off a bump and a 0 when there's no bump.

  • With those 1s and 0s, it can store anything from books to music to images.

  • But this new technology of recording data using a femtosecond laser on a fused quartz

  • disc, it's not making a bump like a CD or a pit like a vinyl record, instead it's

  • creating self-assembled nanostructures, which are basically layers of 3D dots called nanograting.

  • And this nanograting produces birefringence in the quartz, bringing out optical properties

  • rooted in its refractive index. And the scientists have taken advantage of this birefringence

  • to access twonewoptical dimensions.

  • When data is read from a five-dimensional quartz, the light being bounced back and read

  • depending on the nanograting's orientation is the fourth dimension. The varied strength

  • of the laser's light refracted by the structure is the fifth dimension. Add these to the traditional

  • three-axes of height, length, and width, you get five dimensions. By taking advantage of

  • multiple dimensions, each spot in the glass can store three different bits of information.

  • One file is written in three layers of nanostructured dots each separated by five micrometres (one

  • millionth of a meter), which is less than 0.0002 inches, meaning it's incredibly densely

  • packed.

  • And with so much data stored in such a tiny way, the implications are huge. This storage

  • method means 360 Terabytes of data can be stored in one small crystal. This is a crystal

  • with the whole of the King James Bible stored on it.

  • And while the information on a CD is superficial and can be scratched off, the data stored

  • in quartz is safe within the structure of the extremely resilient material. It can withstand

  • temperatures as high as 1,832ºF (1,000°C ) and will last virtually forever stored at

  • room temperature.

  • This kind of technology could change the way we store and read data. No more worrying about

  • degrading a video tape or scratching a disk. The whole of human history could really be

  • saved in a format that could well outlive the human race. But how does it stack up to

  • the human brain? Trace looks into how much our brains can store in this episode right

  • here.

  • So, of all the everything that's ever happened, what do you guys think is worth preserving

  • for a literal eternity? Let us know in the comments below, and don't forget to subscribe

  • so you can watch a new DNews episode every day of the week.

  • So, of all the everything that's ever happened, what do you guys think is worth preserving

  • for a literal eternity? Let us know in the comments and be sure to check back here every

  • day for more DNews.

  • So, of all the everything that's ever happened, what do you guys think is worth preserving

  • for a literal eternity? Let us know on the Discovery News Facebook page or Twitter feed

  • @DNews. And you can find me there, too, I'm @astvintagespace. Thanks for watching!

Imagine if every tweet, snapchat, and YouTube comment ever made was preserved for eternity?

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B1 US quartz stored data laser eternity cd

5D Storage Will Preserve Human History for Eternity

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    joey joey posted on 2021/04/14
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