Storage density and power efficiency have sky rocketed since it was first introduced back in the 1950s. But the problem is data can only be stored for a set amount of time - around a decade.
That's going to change with this new design from a team of researchers from the University of Twente in the Netherlands. They built a disk capable of storing data for over 1 million years.
For the data to last, it must be stored in a way that one bit of data is distinct from the other. According to Technology Review:
This is based on the idea that data must be stored in an energy minimum that is separated from other minima by an energy barrier. So to corrupt data by converting a 0 to a 1, for example, requires enough energy to overcome this barrier... Some straightforward calculations reveal that to last a million years, the required energy barrier is 63 KBT or 70 KBT to last a billion years.
They built a thin tungsten disk etched with a series of fine lines, coated in protective layer of silicon nitride. Then, they heated it at various temperatures to see how much of hurt it could take. According to Arrhenius law, a disk that can survive a million years would have to survive 1 hour at 445 Kelvin. The researchers achieved that without any problem, reaching temperatures of up to 848 Kelvin.
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