Researchers from Kyoto University and Hitachi Ltd. announced Sept. 24 they have developed technology using quartz glass that is capable of storing data for more than 300 million years.
The medium, which is also highly resistant to heat and water, could be used to store images of cultural treasures and official documents of high historical value for long periods, the scientists said.
CDs, DVDs and other optical discs made by sandwiching metal between resin layers are vulnerable to high temperatures and humidity and can store data only for up to 100 years even under optimal conditions.
The researchers instead turned to quartz glass, and were able to achieve an information density comparable to that of CDs. The technology they developed uses laser beams to engrave the glass with binary digital data and an optical microscope to read it.
A prototype sample, 2 centimeters per side and 2 millimeters thick, was able to store data at an information density 1.1 times that of CDs, Hitachi officials said.
The prototype also passed a heat experiment in which it was exposed to a temperature of 1,000 degrees for two hours, which corresponds to a storage period of hundreds of millions of years, the officials said.
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