external-content.duckduckgo.com.jpeg, Apr 2020

When the Notre Dame cathedral burnt down in 2019, a  huge array of history was lost. It helped put in perspective just how precious these historical artifacts are and how they can disappear in an instant. Now, we may have a new solution to store the entirety of human history, thanks to scientists at the University of Southampton.

The team recently developed the technique to store data digitally using laser light that has the capability of surviving for billions of years. Scientists from the university’s Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC) have developed five-dimensional (5D) digital data recording by using nanostructured glass and a process known as femtosecond laser writing.

Documents are recorded using an ultrafast laser, the laser produces very short and intense pulses of light. The result is a file that ends up written in three layers of nanostructured dots separated by five micrometers. The 5D storage is made up of the three dimensions of space (depth,width,height) responsible for describing the physical location of the dot, and two additional references being called dimensions are the polarity and intensity of the beam that makes the do, hence why we have the term 5 dimensional.

So how much can this thing store? 360 terabytes of information can fit on one sliver of nanostructured quartz with an estimated lifespan of 13.8 billion years – more than three times the age of Earth!. If that isnt enough on its own ,lets consider that the storage can withstand temperatures up to 1000 C and will have an unlimited lifespan sitting at room temperature. It’s this level of stability and safety that makes it ideal for organizations with vast archives.

The technology has come a long way since it was first demonstrated in 2013. Back then the tech was at a basic level of recording a mere 300kb digital copy of a text file. Now, documents like the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the Magna Carta, and the King James Bible have been stored as digital copies using the technology. These documents were recently loaded onto the storage device and presented to the UN in February.

Professor Peter Kazansky, from the ORC, said : “It is thrilling to think that we have created the technology to preserve documents and information and store it in space for future generations. This technology can secure the last evidence of our civilization: all we’ve learnt will not be forgotten.” This groundbreaking research will have a significant impact on archiving. Not only does it have the capability of storing just about all of human history, it practically lasts forever. lets assume if there are other lifeforms out there, and they visit they’ll be able to access all of our archives well after we’re gone. more coming up soon, STAY TUNED!