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New Progress In Data Storage Technologies: The 360 TB Disc

Perfected by a group of researchers at Southampton University in the UK, a new technology that involves using a laser light to store information on quartz disks, promises to revolutionize the industry of data storage.

The system uses a laser capable of emitting pulses at an interval of femtoseconds (1 × 10^ -15 seconds), allowing the transfer of an impressive amount of information in a very short time. The light pulses are focused on a very small surface, engraving dots with nanometer dimensions, representing the binary code. Unlike the usual CDs that store information on the surface of a material coated with an organic layer responsive to laser light, the new system stores the information in successive layers deposited at a distance of only 5 microns over each other, inside a quartz disc.

Thus, the resulted media storage is more compact than a CD in which the information is arranged horizontally, and just one quartz disc can accommodate up to 360 TB of information in digital format.

Unlike media storage with an organic substrate, the quartz discs have the advantage of an excellent stability over time. Basically, if they are used for archiving, the quartz discs can retain information for up to 13.8 billion years, at temperatures that can reach even 176 Celsius degrees.

Unfortunately, in the current form, this technology works only in read-only mode, the quartz discs can be burned just once until the they run out of available storage capacity. That means the technology is more suitable for archiving and not yet ready to become a substitute for the hard drives or flash devices, commonly used for keeping the frequently accessed data.

Currently, other details such as the transition of this invention into commercial products, or the cost of acquisition, were not disclosed by the researchers team.

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