Technology & Science

Quartz glass can preserve data for millions of years, Hitachi says

Researchers in Japan have come up with a novel way to store data, which could possibly preserve it for hundreds of millions of years — on slivers of quartz glass.

Material is water and weatherproof

Researchers in Japan have come up with a novel way to store data — in a wafer of quartz glass — that could preserve it for eons.

Electronics company Hitachi says this process protects the information in a durable, waterproof covering that could weather hundreds of millions of years with almost no degradation.

Researchers created a prototype using pieces of quartz glass developed by Kyoto University — measuring two centimetres square and just two millimetres thick.

Inside this square wafer are four different layers with binary-based dots inlaid by pulses of light. The dots are information in binary form and can be read with a laser-based reader scanner or a basic optical microscope. 

Since those layers are embossed, erosion does not affect them.

Scientists placed a 1,000 C degree flame on the surface for up to two hours — the crystal wafer remained undamaged.

As a medium, it has a storage density slightly higher than that of a CD. It is also more durable in that it is waterproof and impervious to weather and chemicals.

There is no word yet on when the technology — which would be of interest to institutions, museums and places of record — might be made available to the public.