Five-dimensional (5D) Quartz Data Storage technology

main-moderator Jun 2, 2020 | 9653 Views
  • Data Storage
  • Information Technology
  • Science

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Five-dimensional (5D) data storage also known as Superman Memory Crystal technology encodes data into a small disc made of fused quartz. Although early versions of these discs could only store a few hundred KB of data, newer discs can hold 360 TB of data.

However, more important than storage capacity is durability. Hard disk drives, flash storage, and tape drives all deteriorate over time and are particularly vulnerable to changes in temperature. Since 5D memory crystals are made of glass, they are incredibly stable. Not only can these nanostructured glass discs withstand temperatures up to 1,000°C without losing any data, but researchers estimate that they can survive an astonishing 13.8 billion years at room temperature.

How Does 5D Data Storage Work?

Data is encoded into the crystal using femtosecond laser writing, which creates microscopic “nanogratings” within the glass. These gratings alter the way light travels through the glass, providing five distinct dimensions in which data can be read. To understand how this works, it’s worth exploring how data is read from conventional storage devices.

Fundamentally, computer data is expressed in a series of ones and zeros. When it comes to storing that data physically, a device only needs to be able to read data in two dimensions. A CD, for example, is etched with a series of ridges that are then read by a laser. When the light hits one of these ridges, it reflects back to a sensor and is recorded as a one. If the light isn’t reflected, it’s recorded as a zero. These discs are considered to have two dimensions of data. Multilayered DVDs and Blu-Ray discs, however, have a third dimension of data because they have additional layers of etchings on their surface, which allows them to store far more data.

The nanogratings of 5D memory crystals allow them to store data on two additional dimensions. By altering the polarization and intensity of the light during the recording process, data can be added on a fourth dimension (slow axis orientation) and a fifth dimension (strength of retardance). Combining these two optical dimensions with the three conventional spatial coordinates allows these glass discs to hold significantly more data.

More importantly, since the nanogratings are contained inside the glass, the crystals are much more resistant to damage than traditional physical storage. A conventional DVD is not only vulnerable to warping in high temperatures, but any damage to the surface of the disc could make it impossible for a drive to read the data encoded upon it. 5D memory crystals are made of fused quartz glass, which is incredibly durable, both structurally and chemically. They can withstand fire and direct impact up to half a ton without being damaged.

Advantages & Disadvantages

The benefits of these so-called Superman memory crystals are easy to identify. They’re capable of storing an incredible amount of data in a very small medium, which makes them an ideal solution for archival storage and data backup. Typical storage concerns like temperature, humidity, and dust are irrelevant due to the durable nature of 5D discs. In theory, reading devices could be quite small as well.

There are questions, however, about whether or not glass data storage technology will support multiple writing processes. While this might not present a serious problem in terms of archival storage, it does limit the technology for widespread use. If data can only bewritten to a memory crystal once, using less than the available 360 TB could amount to a lot of wasted space. That wasted space could be a serious factor depending upon the cost of the technology. Like any new medium, 5D storage will likely be quite expensive when it becomes widely available. It also remains to be seen what hardware will be required to read and write data to a 5D disc.

While there are still many questions to be answered about 5D storage, the future of Superman memory crystals is certainly exciting for organizations looking for reliable data backup solutions. With their ability to store hundreds of terabytes of data in such small, durable form, 5D optical data storage discs represent an innovative new development that will be sure to make headlines over the next few years.


The thought behind creating a data storage disc using 5D technology is owing to the present options of data storage devices getting damaged, rotten, or obsolete. Also, harsh or extreme weather conditions such as excessive dampness, heat, humidity, etc. can also damage the storage devices. Such factors lead to the thought of a rugged compact data storage product.

Hence, 5D data storage disc is considered as an option.

Military and Security Application: The expected driver for the 5D data storage market is the need for a secure and portable form of data storage product. Within the military and other related industry verticals secured data communication or transfer becomes a problem. Additionally, secret military agencies emerging on a huge scale across territories is expected to be an opportunity for the 5D data storage market.

Data Storage - Industrial Diversity: The factor of secured data storage product can drive the future years across diverse industry verticals. Furthermore, big data is expected to allow commercializing of 5D data storage discs to diverse applications as data is increasing exponentially with time.

Record for Future: Another opportunity for the 5D data storage is that civilization around are looking forward to record their culture and developments to pass it on to their next generations. Some of the famous documents printed into 5D data storage are the holy Bible, Magna Carta, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and Sir Isaac Newton's Opticks. Opportunities are wide and far reaching.

High Cost & Commercialization Options: One of the main challenge for the 5D data storage market is that the commercialization of the disc is not expected to reach the market soon. Another challenge will be the high cost of the glass making it less accessible to wider applications. One of the anticipated opportunities are no mere substitution for ultrafast lasers which will make the product grow across the high technology adopted regions.

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Natasha Jun 6th, 2020
Very good post! We are linking to this great content on our site. Keep up the good writing.

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