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Breakthrough 5D Storage Holds 500TB Of Big Data On A Small Drive With Incredible Endurance

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With any type of creative or engineering project, you need to be aware of your target audience, whether it’s the audience for a joke, the scenery for a building, or the use case for a material or a device. software. All practical attempts to create anything should begin with a list of project goals or intentions.

There is hardly a better example than the new “5D” data storage technology created by researchers at the Optoelectronics Research Center at the University of Southampton. Using femtosecond laser pulses, the technique alters the crystal structure of glass in such a precise way that, according to its creators, it could allow it to store up to 500 terabytes of data on a glass disc in the size of a Blu-ray. That’s a huge density, but it has some major drawbacks that mean you probably won’t be buying “5DVDs” for personal use anytime soon.

We are not optical scientists, but we will share our understanding of the technology. Essentially, what is happening is that the femtosecond laser pulses create voxels, that is, “bulk pixels” or 3D pixels, in the glass by changing the structure of the glass in such a way as to create specific angles of refraction and “retardation”. “which is a shift in polarization. Combined with the three normal spatial dimensions of voxels, these five qualities give us our” five dimensional “data store.
optical hero

Strictly speaking, this is not a new idea; the same group from the University of Southampton demonstrated the concept in 2013 and in 2016 they announced that they had perfected the recording technique. Just one problem: it was excruciatingly slow. The announcement this time is that researchers have found a way to get things a little further, bringing this technology much closer to practicality, and therefore viability as a product.

Don’t get too excited, however. The group behind the announcement happily claims to have achieved write speeds of up to one million voxels per second, or “around 225 KB / sec.” It’s slow by today’s standards – slower than an old-school CD-ROM – but the researchers also note that refined parallel recording schemes could be used to write the theoretical 500 discs. TB in “about 60 days”, a transfer rate of about 100MB / second.

Besides the high density, these glass discs have other advantages to compensate for the slow recording speed. They are incredibly durable; In 2016, researchers claimed that drives can withstand temperatures of up to 1,000 ° C and can last billions of years at room temperature without degrading. Considering the high density and extreme durability, these drives are ideally suited for very long term archival purposes. The authors also state that the discs could be read at “tens of megabytes per second” with “automatic polarization imaging and more powerful decoding algorithms.” This is quite fast for archived data.


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