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Hitachi Improves Quartz Glass Storage With New Data Layers

The concept of quartz-based data storage is nothing new. While it's not be refined for consumer or commercial use as of yet, the technology was first introduced by Hitachi in 2012. The research and development team with Hitachi has working tirelessly ever since, and the fruits of their labor are finally starting to blossom. In fact, according to a recent press release, Hitachi has bolstered their quartz-based data storage technology with the implementation of a 100-layer design.

The Original Concept

Hitachi's goal with their quartz-based data storage is a simple yet daunting one: to develop a storage medium that is more efficient and smaller than DVDs or blu-ray discs without comprising storage capacity or reliability. Given the fact that the data density of quartz-based storage is currently rated at approximately 1.5 GB per inch, which is roughly equivalent to that of a blu-ray disc, it's safe to say the development team at Hitachi has hit the nail on the head with this one.

How It Works

Utilizing a highly specialized optical microscope, complete with a Cs corrector lens, the research and development team with Hitachi was able to successfully write and read data, without any errors at all, using their new quartz glass storage medium. Perhaps even more inviting is the fact that the lifespan of their current quartz-based storage model is estimated at millions of years, easily outlasting any current form of data storage available today.

Architecture

The current architecture of Hitachi's quartz-based data storage technology features a 100-layer design, which is made up of two separate 50-layer sections. The prototype features a square design of approximately two centimeters wide and two millimeters in thickness, which ultimately holds numerous dots as a representation of binary code. These dots are created with a femtosecond laser, which utilizes frequent and brief pulses of light to record data onto the quartz storage medium. As far as storage capacity goes, the current quartz-based storage model is comparable to that of standard blu-rays in circulation today. However, some optimistic and enthusiastic professionals have hinted at a future capacity of 360 TB per disc when using a quartz-based medium.

Consumer Launch

When Hitachi first introduced the concept behind their quartz glass storage medium in 2012, their research and development team estimated an initial public launch of 2015. Given their recent advancements, including the successful demonstration of the technology in 2013 and the implementation of the recent 100-layer architecture, some experts predict that we may even see quartz-based storage sooner rather than later.

Ethan Miller, director with the University of California, Santa Cruz's Center for Research in Intelligent Storage, spoke highly of the new technology. He was quoted as saying: "If both readers and writers can be produced at a reasonable price, this has the potential to greatly change archival storage systems." Despite his enthusiasm, Miller also showed some hesitation toward the technology, saying: "Pangaea broke up less than several hundred million years ago. Many quartz-based rocks from that time are now sand on our beaches -- how would this quartz medium fare any differently?"

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