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Russian ‘eternal disc’ may store information for 1 million years, experts say

The new storage device is made of quartz glass

MOSCOW, October 27. /TASS/. Russian scientists are completing work on super-stable optical memory technology to create a disc capable of storing information for one million years under certain conditions. They created a prototype of an "eternal disc" and will conduct research and development work in 2018-2020, head of the Moscow-based laboratory of laser nanostructuring in glass at the Foundation for Advanced Research Projects (FARP) Ivan Glebov told TASS.

"The research proves stability of encoded data, and the approximation of results shows that data will be preserved on the disc unchanged for more than 1 million years under ‘normal’ storage conditions," Gebov pointed out. That said, modern Blu-ray discs deteriorate in 60 years, according to producers.

The new storage device is made of quartz glass. To record data, a femtosecond (fs) laser delivers extremely short and intense light pulses onto a piece of quartz. The disc is resistant to fires, radiation and electromagnetic waves.

The project is being "financed by the Foundation for Advanced Research Projects and the Russian Ministry of Education and Science," the laboratory head specified.

The disc will be capable of storing up to 1 TB of data in the future. Presently, the researchers are striving for 25 GB/disc data capacity.

At the current stage, the FARP laboratory regards state organizations, such as the Book Chamber and the Russian State Library, as the first users of the new technology. "The technology also attracts organizations that need long-term (for more than 50 years) or permanent data storage. There are a lot of such organizations, and it is especially important to data processing centers, because they accumulate a large volume of information from various state structures," Glebov added.

Glebov noted that the "eternal disc" is protected against rerecording, although it is technically possible. "At the current research phase, we demonstrated that data rerecording is technically possible, but the resource needed to rerecord one bit of data exceeds many times [the resource] needed to record one bit from scratch. In light of this, we do not plan to use re-writable storage devices in the super-stable optical memory technology," he noted.