November 27, 2021

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It can store data for thousands of years on the shelf

It can store data for thousands of years on the shelf

Long-term storage of large amounts of data is an unresolved challenge. Most current storage solutions are either short-lived, require constant updating of the storage medium, or require a regular supply of power.

Now, however, a research team at Harvard’s George Whiteside Laboratory has come up with a possible solution.

cargo shelf

In short, they use a regular inkjet printer and a different blend of seven different types of luminous inks, all of which are commercially available. In other words, the cornerstones of the method are already on the shelf.

The ink is written on an epoxy surface which is then chemically bonded. It can then be read with an automated microscope. to me techexplore.com The research team achieved a write speed of 128 bits per second, and a read speed of 469 bits per second. It’s not fast in the traditional sense, but it’s actually probably the fastest molecular storage method for data.


The method uses luminous inks printed on an epoxy surface. Photo: Harvard University


high data density

According to the researchers, the data can be read with an accuracy of 99.6 percent, that is, one must use some form of error correction and/or redundancy, but this is nothing new for this technology. These methods are already in use in classical information storage and transmission.

The data density was set at 1,407,542 bytes in a square just under 52 mm2, which equates to just under 1.7 TB on an A4 sheet, since you’re storing information on only one side.

It can last for thousands of years

In theory, this information may remain intact and readable for thousands of years, but it is not the only benefit of these storage methods.

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First, it does not require maintenance of any kind once it is written, neither in the form of power nor updating of the storage medium. Secondly, it is completely separate from all forms of computer networks and therefore is not vulnerable to online attacks or hacking. Hence it is considered ROM (“Read Only Memory”).

Slavery lasts longer than digital storage

Lengthy data storage has been a problem in search of a solution for many years. In 2009, Digi wrote about a promising technology in the form of nanotubes, and the illustration used at the time is quite relevant today:

«… The Doomsday Book of William the Conqueror survived for more than 900 years after it was written on parchment in 1086. A digital copy of the book, which came out in 1986, has already been broken. The medium that was used was the laser disc.»