How can 5D storage actually improve data storage?

There's a new kind of data storage on the horizon, and it could very well change the way we backup digital information. 5D storage has taken a new step toward improving the technology, and it could be big. Read on to learn more!

How can 5D storage actually improve data storage?
Is 5D storage the future of long-term data?

One thing’s for sure: there’s always something new happening behind the scenes when it comes to technology. Recently, a group of researchers managed to forge a new version of what’s called 5D optical data storage.

While the jury is still out on the technology’s readiness or feasibility, the implications are certainly huge and worth discussing. So let’s take a look at what 5D storage is and how it can improve the way in which data is stored. Check it out!

How can 5D storage actually improve data storage
5D storage prints onto silica glass discs

What is 5D storage and what can it do?

5D optical data storage is a technology that stores large quantities of information. Individual files use tri-layered nanoscale dots.

When the various attributes of these dots come together, they go beyond the standard 3 dimensions, reaching 5 in total. A microscope and polarizer then read the dots as they change light polarization while moving within the disk.

What exactly does this all mean? Using an enhanced version of the above-mentioned technique, researchers can write 5 GB of text-based information onto a glass disc.

The disc—which is roughly the size of a traditional CD—reads with exact precision. This implies that they can potentially hold up to 500 TB of information and data with writing speeds of as much as a million voxels (230 KB) per second.

Video about storing data in glass

There are challenges but also great potential

This isn’t the first time optical 5D storage has come around, but it’s the first time in a while that we’ve seen significant progress and improvements made to the existing technology.

For example, slow writing speeds made this method almost pointless. Now a new technique applies a different kind of laser that has a higher rate of repetition. This creates near-field enhancements that, in the long run, reduce the risks of thermal damage.

The new storage should be capable of standing up to higher temperature intensities—even as much as 1,832 degrees Fahrenheit. Think that’s crazy? Here’s one crazier. It can potentially go more than a dozen billion years at room temperature without ever degrading. Add that to the ability to store massive quantities of data on such a small, thin device, and you have something with incredible potential.

How can 5D storage actually improve data storage
5D storage uses advanced laser technology to read data

Will 5D be the future of long-term data storage?

5D storage will be interesting to watch out for in the coming years. There’s more need than ever before to store large sums of data. Much of that data needs to stick around for a long time as well.

The potential for devices that can store massive amounts of information while lasting under extreme conditions or even time itself isn’t something to be overlooked. While the read and write speeds of 5D storage may still leave a lot to be desired, it can have a great purpose for large-scale archival backups where there’s plenty of time for the process to take place.

Even if this doesn’t show an immediate purpose for the average consumer, it will certainly have value for big businesses, research, and academic projects.

What do you think of 5D storage? Let us know in the comments below!

Mark is a writer and podcaster who loves technology. When not writing for Gadget Flow, he enjoys passionately working on storytelling projects and exploring the outdoors.
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