Forget Hard Drives: New Quartz Glass Technology Can Store Data for Millions of Years

Storing data on today’s metal hard drives is practical for regular folks looking to hold data for days, weeks, or months, but they won’t keep data safe for hundreds of millions of years.

Quartz, apparently, will. Researchers in Japan have invented a new way to store data: inside a wafer of quartz glass.

Hitachi says that data can be contained inside a piece of quartz that’s only two centimetres wide and two millimetres thick. The wafer contains multiple layers of binary-based dots inlaid with pulses of light. The information can be read in binary form with a basic optical microscope or laser-based reader scanner—hopefully those are still around in 100 million years.

The quartz wafer is waterproof, weatherproof,  can withstand 1,000 C degree flame, and will not erode in the slightest even after millions of years.

The technology could have many practical uses, especially for institutions and places of record, but Hitachi hasn’t suggested when it may become publicly available.