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Aug 17, 2011

How Researchers Fit a Blu-Ray of Data Onto a Millimeter of Glass

Researchers at Southampton University have devised a way to bend light passing through a glass wafer so it can store and read 50GB of data in the same way that fiber optic cable does.

The process uses minuscule dots called voxels etched in the molecular structure of pure silica glass that bend light to store information (the light itself changes direction as it passes through one depending on thelight's polarization orientation.) The data can then be wiped and rewritten by re-etching the voxels.

Glass has a lot of advantages over other non-volatile memory. In particular, it can withstand temperatures up to 1800F and, since the etchings are located within the structure of the glass itself, the information lasts quite literally forever with no noticeable data degradation.

As research team member, Martynas Beresna, said:
We have developed this memory which means data can be stored on the glass and last forever. It could become a very stable and safe form of portable memory. It could be very useful for organizations with big archives. At the moment companies have to back up their archives every five to ten years because hard-drive memory has a relatively short lifespan.
Other uses include cheaper and more compact medical imaging, precise manipulation of atom-sized objects, and even high-resolution imaging far beyond what we see today.




18 comments:

Mark said...

It sounds like a pretty good idea, but I just have one problem with it. Glass is pretty fragile, and the glass that isn't fragile tends to be big, or thick, or both, so I can't see too many practical mobile applications for it, yet. Or I could just be an idiot.

ThingsYouWant said...

Pretty soon we are going to be able to watch TV from contact lenses it looks like! So much information on such little space!! I want the future now!

Zombie said...

Mark has a point. Glass is cheap and very practical but I know there are people out there like me who drop their crap all the time.

NameBrands said...

That is very impressive stuff. Heres to the future.

Reilly said...

The Glass should be protected by a container ofcourse, shock resistant ;D

Equalz said...

pretty soon, all the data is gonna be stored within us.

Major.Mack said...

i think reilly hit it nail on..its likely the disk would be cased like a 3.5m diskette

Kyran said...

This is pretty sweet. No more hard drive failures, etc. As long as you don't shatter it, you're good to go. Getting a bit tired of hard disks to be honest. Mechanical failures are a huge pain. Flash disks are great but they're limited, expensive, and eventually wear out. I welcome this new technology and more stable data storage. Now let's just hope it isn't $1000 per gig when it's released.

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Funny Pets said...

Wow. Keeps getting smaller and smaller.

Zach said...

Technology sure is crazy.

Sylar said...

it is amazing the way the tecnology keeps advancing,and the humans go steps back haha..really nice and interesting post =)
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Luke MacLaughlin said...

This is cool. May be dating myself a bit, but it's awesome to go from Atari 2600 to seeing stuff like this.

SoreLosersGaming said...

Isn't glass just gonna break really easily. The fact that they can get that much data onto such a small area is brilliant, but I wouldn't trust memory made out of glass.

cheshire said...

This is pretty interesting stuff; the future is gonna be awesome :>

Linux and Life said...

damn, the tech world is developing with a crazy speed. In my country ( Vietnam), we rarely know about Blu Ray, in fact I have never seen a BR disc. And this new step of storage technology is just simply crazy.

Arrpii said...

Wow that's crazy, can't wait for it to find its place in the consumer market :D

Magixx said...

crazy stuff o_o

brob said...

I disagree with Mark: You don't throw around your Harddrives or Magnetic tapes.
I can't wait to use those things for our backups. We've got like bazillions of magnetic tapes and the waste space like shit. You have to store them in a faraday cage just to _not_ break them. And all that shit just to store your backups - not even your actual data.
Having that on glass would be a tremendous improvement