Published on September 26th, 2012 | by No Artificial
Hitachi Introduces Immortal Glass Data Storage
A tiny square of glass may be the solution to the common problem of storing data forever.
Japan’s Hitachi developed a method of storing digital information on slivers of quartz glass that can survive in the hostile conditions and endure extreme temperatures without degrading, almost forever.
The data on the disk can be easily accessed no matter what the future technologies of the digital age bring.
“The volume of data being created every day is exploding, but in terms of keeping it for later generations, we haven’t necessarily improved since the days we inscribed things on stones,” Hitachi researcher Kazuyoshi Torii said. “The possibility of losing information may actually have increased,” he said, noting the life of digital media currently available—CDs and hard drives—is limited to a few decades or a century at most.
The rapid development of technologies has extracted physical forms of data storage in favor of more delicate forms that require progressively advanced data-reading hardware. Many institutions, especially media start wondering what happens they won’t be able to access archive information in the future?
Hitachi’s new technology stores data in binary form by creating dots inside a thin sheet of quartz glass, which can be read with an ordinary optical microscope.
This environmentally friendly storage device is two centimeters square and just two millimeters thick. The quartz glass is stable under heat up to 1832 degrees Fahrenheit, and it resists most chemicals and water.
“We believe data will survive unless this hard glass is broken,” said senior researcher Takao Watanabe.
The material currently has four layers of dots, which can hold 40 megabytes per square inch, approximately the density on a music CD.
Hitachi plans to increase the amount of data that can be stored while maintaining the optical features of the glass.
The chip is still in the prototype stage but the researchers said it could start with storage services for government agencies and other institutional organizations in the near future.