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A row of 5 memory crystals on stands, softly lit against a black background. They have been imprinted with copies of the Foundation trilogy by Isaac Asimov.

Fitting an entire library into the palm of your hand

Published: 14 November 2022

Using nanostructured glass, the research team led by Professor Peter Kazansky has developed the recording and retrieval processes of five dimensional (5D) digital data by femtosecond laser writing, which means you could hold an entire library’s information in the palm of your hand.

A 5D memory crystal, containing the Foundation Trilogy of science fiction books written by Isaac Asimov, recently launched into orbit around the sun inside a Tesla Roadster, owned by SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, aboard the Falcon Heavy spacecraft.

A 5-dimensional memory crystal imprinted with a copy of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. The crystal is pinched between two fingers, no larger than a coin.
The storage allows unprecedented properties in terms of data capacity, thermal stability up to 1,000°C and virtually unlimited lifetime at room temperature.

It is thrilling to think that we have created the technology to preserve documents and information and store it in space for future generations. This technology can secure the last evidence of our civilisation: all we’ve learnt will not be forgotten.

Professor Peter Kazansky - Professor in Optoelectronics