Peter G. Kazansky (University of Southampton, UK)
Digital data storage, compared with paper or stone, isn’t very durable. The major challenge is the lack of appropriate storage technology and medium possessing the advantages of both high capacity and long lifetime. Recently, ultrafast laser writing via self-assembled nanostructures in quartz glass was proposed and demonstrated for high capacity polarization multiplexed optical memory, where the information encoding has been realized by means of two birefringence parameters, i.e. the slow axis orientation (4th dimension) and strength of retardance (5th dimension), in addition to three spatial coordinates. The ultimate capacity achievable by this technology could reach 360 TB per disc. Ultrafast Laser Nanostructured (ULN) quartz glass with 300 quintillion years’ stability at room temperature is recognized by Guinness World Records as the most durable digital storage medium. We successfully implemented 5D optical data recording and read-out processes of a number of historic documents making a crucial step towards eternal digital preservation and achieving information immortality. After further technological development, in particular increasing the speed of writing and read-out, 5D storage in glass, coined also as “superman memory crystal” or “5D memory crystal” (https://www.5dmemorycrystal.com/) could be used by national archives, museums and libraries. First pieces of contemporary art rated to last 13.8 billion years are also created (http://www.primaryimage3d.com/). Moreover, durability and stability of the storage at high temperatures and ionising radiation is attractive for deep space and Earth projects to preserve and disseminate humanity's most important information across space and time, for the benefit of future generations (http://www.archmission.com/).