Innovation on Superman Memory Crystal for 13.8 billion years'
Researchers of University of Southampton, UK, archived some documents, along with Isaac Newton's scientific treatise "Optics," on coin-size pieces of glass using a method of laser etching. These tiny discs can survive for billions of years at temperatures of 374 degrees Fahrenheit (190 degrees Celsius). The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the King James Bible have now been digitally stored on a piece of glass known as a "Superman memory crystal" that has the capacity to save huge amounts of information for up to 13.8 billion years.
Scientists have been pursuing the idea of glass as a medium for mass data storage since 1996, when it was first suggested that data could be written optically into transparent materials. By using a femto-second laser to alter the physical structure of fused quartz, a “dot” with a different refractive index can be created to denote the binary digit one; zeros are indicated by the absence of a dot. Japanese electronics giant Hitachi succeeded in storing data using this method back in 2009, but Zhang’s team has taken the technology a step further, by recording information in 5D – the three dimensions of space that describe the physical location of the dot, and two additional dimensions that are encoded by the polarity and intensity of the beam that creates the dot.
Kazansky, a professor at the University of Optoelectronics Research Centre and his colleagues first reported their "5D data storage" in 2013 at the Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics in San Jose, California. The researchers use femto-second lasers, which produce very short pulses and to inscribe information in nano structured dots i.e. 5 micrometers apart. These nano-size etchings polarize light that travels through the glass. A combination of a polarizing lens and an optical microscope is all that is needed to "decode" the message, the researchers 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," Peter Kazansky, said in a statement. In 2013, the researchers recorded a 300-kilobyte text file, but the capacity of a single glass data disc is 360 terabytes (1,000,000,000 kilobytes), they reported. The discs are stable up to 1,832 degrees F (1,000 degrees C). Southampton researchers gave the copy of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a gift to the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in early February, part of the closing ceremony of that organization's Year of Light initiative. The scientists call the glass the "Superman memory crystal," a nod to memory crystals in the "Superman" films and comics. According to the university, the researchers are now seeking industry partners to further develop the technology. Scientists have developed a totally , in the form of glass discs close to the size of a quarter. Data is encoded into tiny nanostructures embedded within the glass, and the team believes their invention could be used to store data for up to 13.8 billion years.
Mr. SANDEEP KUMAR
Department of Electronics and Communication Engineering