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Nearly Eternal Data Storage Method Discovered
Everything degrades eventually, and there is no way to store data on one device for truly extended periods of time. But that may no longer be true due to a discovery made by the University of Southampton. Scientists have successfully used nano-structured glass to create a process for recording and retrieving data. The storage device is a small glass disk about the size of an American quarter that can hold 360TB of data and remain intact up to 1,000°C. This means that its average shelf life when held at room temperature would be approximately 13.8 billion years (Roughly the same amount of time the universe has existed).
Data is written on the device using an ultrafast laser via short and intense light pulses. Each file is written in three layers of nanostructured dots that are only 5 micrometers apart. When read, the data is realized in five dimensions: the three dimensional position of the nanostructured dots as well as their size and orientation.