5D Quartz Coin Can Store All Human History for 14 Billion Years

February 19, 2016   |   Jake Anderson

Jake Anderson
February 19, 2016

(ANTIMEDIA) Nicknamed the “Superman memory crystal,” a new storage device made of nanostructured glass can archive 360 terabytes worth of information for billions of years. Created by scientists at the University of Southampton using femtosecond laser writing, the sliver of fused quartz coin can withstand temperatures up to 157 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit). It is an example of 5D optical data storage.

The research team from the University’s Optoelectronics Research Center first experimentally tested the technology in 2013. The final iteration encodes files in five dimensions (size, orientation + 3 dimensional position of nanostructures), writing with ultrafast, intense pulses of light.

The team selected major documents from the pantheon of human history including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), Newton’s Opticks, Magna Carta, and Kings James Bible to be digitally stored for up to 13.8 billion years, which happens to be the approximate current age of the universe.

quartz coin

Universal Declaration of Human Rights recorded into 5D optical data.

With this technology, the human race is now capable of storing the entirety of its history in perpetuity. Once such a device is catapulted into space, it is possible that someday an extraterrestrial species will receive a cosmic ‘message in a bottle’ containing everything from ancient Sanskrit texts and Shakespeare to Seinfeld and Breaking Bad.


This article (5D Quartz Coin Can Store All Human History for 14 Billion Years) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Jake Anderson and theAntiMedia.org. Anti-Media Radio airs weeknights at 11pm Eastern/8pm Pacific. Image credits: southampton.ac.uk. If you spot a typo, email edits@theantimedia.org.

Author: Jake Anderson

Jake Anderson joined Anti-Media as an independent journalist in April of 2015. His topics of interest include social justice, science, corporatocracy, and dystopian science fiction. He currently resides in Escondido, California.

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3 Comments

  1. Id be careful with perpetuity as there are lots of places in the universe hotter than 157 degrees celsius.

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  2. Space? What is this info chip going to do in space where nobody ever reads it ?
    It will become just another piece of space trash, and a hazard to our sattelites.
    Meanwhile our young people have rejected any form of traditional wisdom for thousands of niches of detailed absurdity.

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