Jan 072013

Anyone who has ever had a hard drive crash on ’em knows that “data storage ain’t forever.” But how about 300 million years?

Data Saved In Quartz Glass Might Last 300 Million Years

Hitachi has developed a system that uses a femtosecond laser to etch microscopic dots within (note: *in*, not *on*) a sliver of quartz 2 cm wide and 2 mm thick. The data density is somewhat better than for a CD; the prototype withstood several hours at 1,000 degrees (F or C, not given). Resistant to chemicals, proof against water. Data would be safe for as long as the quartz wasn’t mechanically ground up into glass… hundreds of millions of years being a possibility.

 Posted by at 4:08 am
  • Anonymous


  • sferrin

    If the price was reasonable I’d jump on that. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve grabbed an old CD and had it be corrupt. That and/or some drives are more picky than others. Had discs that one DVD drive could read but not the other.

  • Nick P.

    The article made me giggle:

    “Hitachi recently announced that it has developed a medium that can outlast not only this old-school format but also CDs, DVDs, hard drives and MP3s.”

    One of these things is not like the other.

    But yeah, this combined with an equally robust set of plans for a reader seems like a nice way of future proofing a lot of knowledge.

    • Anonymous

      > One of these things is not like the other.

      ♫One of these things should die alone.♫

  • Michael the Somewhat Civilized

    I can’t wait for the Search for Extraterrestrial Artifact folk find this one. They’ll have us checking every old crystal.

    • publiusr

      What would really be sad is if we were to ACTUALLY find one, but some chump chopped it up to sell as healing crystals and found a way to ruin a foolproof alien storage unit.

      Thanks new agers!

      Seriously though–this is a real breakthrough. We will never have a phaser, and tricorders will still be more like padds with different attachments. but we can have this. And information storage is the most precious of the lot anyway.