00:12 GMT13 July 2020
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    Scientists at the University of Southampton in the UK have developed a way of storing five dimensional digital data on nanostructured glass for billions of years, able to withstand temperatures of up to 1000 degrees Celsius.

    Scientists from the University of Southampton have used an ultrafast laser to write on nanostructured glass and record five dimensional digital data that will last forever.

    "The storage allows unprecedented properties including 360 TB/disc data capacity, thermal stability up to 1,000°C and virtually unlimited lifetime at room temperature (13.8 billion years at 190°C) opening a new era of eternal data archiving," the university announced in a press release.

    The researchers have succeeded in using the technology to make digital copies of major documents from human history such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Newton's Opticks, the Magna Carta and the Kings James Bible. They say the development could be particularly useful for organizations with big archives, such as museums and libraries.

    5D data storage
    5D data storage
    "It is thrilling to think that we have created the technology to preserve documents and information and store it in space for future generations. This technology can secure the last evidence of our civilization: all we've learnt will not be forgotten," said Professor Peter Kazansky from the university's Optoelectronics Research Center.

    The documents were recorded using an ultrafast femtosecond laser system that wrote the file on silica glass in three layers of nanostructured dots separated by five micrometers, or one millionth of a meter.

    The information encoding is realized in five dimensions: the size and orientation in addition to the three dimensional position of the nanostructures, which can then be read by a combination of optical microscope and polarization filter.


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