Global high-tech storage giant Hitachi on Monday unveiled a means of storing digital information on pieces of quartz glass capable of enduring extreme temperatures and hostile conditions for millions of years without degrading.
According to Hitachi, the rapid development of technologies has resulted in frequent changes in data-reading hardware.
The firm’s new technology stores data in binary form through the creation of dots inside a thin slice of quartz glass, a highly stable and resilient material, which is readable using an ordinary optical microscope provided there is a computer that can decode the available binary.
The prototype storage is 2 cm square and just 2 mm made from quartz glass.
The chip is chemical resistant, waterproof and remains unaffected by radio waves. It can resist heat of up to 1,000 degrees for at least two hours.
“The volume of data being created every day is exploding, but in terms of keeping it for later generations, we haven’t necessarily improved since the days we inscribed things on stones,” Kazuyoshi Torii, Hitachi researcher, told AFP.
Currently, the material has four layers of dots capable of holding up to 40 megabytes of data per square inch (6.5 sq. cm), approximately the density on a music CD,” Torri said, adding they believe adding more layers should not be a problem.
Sources from Hitachi say the company has not yet decided on when to put the chip into practical use, although it could start with storage services for government agencies, museums and religious organisations.