Storage Gets Salty

salt crystals forming on-screen

Posted on Monday, July 16, 2018

The quest for increased data storage capacity continues to take interesting directions as university researchers in Australia announce a new potential medium – salt crystals.

According to their experiments, nanocrystals with light-emitting properties can be switched on and off with a focused laser beam.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen crystals as a storage medium, but this is the first time that the crystals have been “affordable” and abundant. And like previous tests, crystal-based storage promised far higher capacities than those achieved in magnetic hard drives or flash memory chips.

Moving to multi-bit storage

Unlike current storage mediums, individual salt nanoparticles are capable of storing several bits simultaneously. Researchers have called this technique “multi-level storage”.

The salt storage device uses a very low power laser to change bits, increasing energy efficiency and the potential for use in consumer applications. “The low energy requirement also makes this system ideal for optical data storage on integrated electronic circuits,” Professor Hans Riesen from the University of New South Wales was quoted as saying.

Enormous storage potential

Each of the crystals is measured in nanometers, far too small to be seem by the human eye. But Professor Riesen predicts that 3D optical data storage crystals will be embedded into a polymer and then shaped into small cubes. He hopes that each cube will be able to store up to 1PB each.

Great. Now what?

As is usually the case with storage breakthroughs, it will take quite some time before we see a production server that uses 3D salt crystals. But these developments are extremely important to solving the imminent storage challenges that face CTOs.

And the fact that someone has found a 3D storage medium that is much cheaper than diamonds should make the CFO happier too.

To learn more about getting the most from your existing storage assets, or preparing your strategy for future success, please get in touch.

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