This Piece of Glass Can Store Data Forever

Illustration for article titled This Piece of Glass Can Store Data Forever

Data, like all things, eventually dies. Your music, your movies, your documents, your files, your computer. You don't expect it to live forever but... what if it did? Hitachi claims that they've developed a new quartz glass plate that can store data forever.

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CDs and hard drives can only last for a few decades or a century at most, this new quartz glass can "endure extreme temperatures and hostile conditions without degrading, almost forever." How does it work? The data is stored in binary form with dots inside a thin sheet of quartz glass. The data is read with an ordinary optical microscope. PhysOrg says:

The prototype storage device is two centimetres (0.8 inches) square and just two millimetres (0.08 inches) thick and made from quartz glass, a highly stable and resilient material, used to make beakers and other instruments for laboratory use.

The chip, which is resistant to many chemicals and unaffected by radio waves, can be exposed directly to high temperature flames and heated to 1,000 degrees Celsius (1,832 Fahrenheit) for at least two hours without being damaged.

Currently, the material—which is also waterproof—has four layers of dots which can hold 40 megabytes per square inch (approx. the density of a music CD) but researchers believe they can add even more layers. Glass storage. Amazing that something that sounds so fragile is actually the strongest form of data storage. [PhysOrg]

DISCUSSION

*sigh* ... It's not just the media, it's the reading tech that has to be preserved as well. Look at the trouble the people had finding and restoring hardware tape players, just to read the 40+ year-old lunar orbiter picture tape reels.

How many CD players will be able to read 'old' CD backups in another 50 years? Or DVD players? Or BluRay?