Five Dimensional (5D) storage medium could replace Blu-ray and outlast mankind

Scientists at the University of Southampton's Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC) have taken a major step forward in the development of a digital data storage medium - called five dimensional (5D) - that could one day replace Blu-ray discs. The researchers have now improved the means of recording and retrieving information from the storage medium.

5D has groundbreaking properties, it can store up to 360 terabytes per disc, it'll remain stable in temperatures of up to 1,000°C, and has a "virtually" unlimited lifetime at room temperature. The researchers claim that at 160°C, the storage would remain uncorrupted for 13.8 billion years. Blu-ray discs, for comparison, can store 23.5 GB (single layer) worth of data and lasts about 7 years, according to the researchers.

Back in 2013, the team managed to write a 300 kb text file to 5D, now they say they've managed to store significant documents on the device including: the Universal Declaration on Human Rights (UDHR), Newton's Opticks, Magna Carta, and the King James Bible. The researchers say that they "could survive the human race" on 5D storage. The announcement mentions that a copy of the UDHR encoded to 5D had been presented to UNESCO - the UN's educational, scientific, and cultural organisation - at the International Year of Light closing ceremony in Mexico.

Their latest paper - 5D Data Storage by Ultrafast Laser Writing in Glass - will be presented by the researchers at an international society for optical engineering conference on Wednesday, hosted by SPIE. The team says they are now looking for industry partners to further develop and commercialise the technology.

The leader of the team - Jingyu Zhang - said that the final 5D storage unit will look like a normal CD but will be made from glass and that a laser scanning device, similar to those used to read CDs, DVDs, and Blu-rays will be made which can read 5D discs.

Source: Optoelectronics Research Centre / University of Southampton via Phys | Image via Chalcogenides

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