Eternal Storage? With Superman Crystals, Quartz You Can!

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By James Bagshawe | 1:17 pm, January 2, 2017
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Previously scientists had discovered a way to store data on slivers of quartz glass for 300 million years. I know what you’re thinking: that’s rubbish! What happens when I want to access my songs after 301 million years? Corrupt data? No thank you!


Well don’t sweat it because the good folks at Southampton university in the UK have upped their game. Now you can store your playlists for 13.8 billion years, give or take a billion years or so if you accidentally leave your disc in a 900 degree oven for a thousand years or so but – let’s face facts – that’s a fairly unlikely scenario.


They have nicknamed the process ‘Superman Crystals’ after the iconic use of crystals that contained memories and powers in the movies and comics. The earthbound version can store a pretty hefty 360TB of data on a quartz disc that’s roughly the same size as a large coin. As well as storing data, you can also use a laser to etch a pretty pattern into your disc. Or, as is more likely, a boring but functional reference value.

That’s because the chief consumers of a tech like this at such an early stage would be large organizations like museums, national archives, or governments. The implications here for ‘right to forget’ legislation are worth mentioning, but as long as no-one’s publicising what’s been archived it shouldn’t be a major stumbling block.


Given that the fabrication process looks pretty simple – mundane, even – it may not be too long until we all have quartz burners sitting unused in our D drives instead of CD/Blu-Ray players. No doubt we can all look forward to a glorious future of losing our eternally stored data down the side of the sofa for future generations to marvel at our animated gifs of cats. Ah, progress!


This breakthrough is a feather in the cap for humanity. I think we can all agree that it’s about time we caught up with Krpytonian technology and this is a solid first step. Next stop: super strength and the power of flight.