While most consumers today are perfectly satisfied with the capacity and reliability of modern solid-state drives (SSDs), various organizations that are required to archive massive quantities of data are deeply aware of the limitations of not just SSDs but other currently available storage technologies as well.
Soon, they might be able to store up to 500TB of data on a CD-sized disc thanks to a new energy-efficient laser-writing method for producing high-density nanostructures in silica glass. Called five-dimensional (5D) optical data storage, this method could theoretically be used to archive data for as long as 13.8 billion years, and the optical discs produced by it can survive temperatures as high as 1,000 degrees Celsius.
“With the current system, we have the ability to preserve terabytes of data, which could be used, for example, to preserve information from a person’s DNA,” said Peter G. Kazansky, leader of the research team behind the new data storage technology.
5D optical data storage isn’t actually an entirely new invention, but its practical applications were greatly limited in the past because of its slow write speed. To improve it, the research team from the University of Southampton in the UK used a femtosecond laser to produce an optical phenomenon known as near-field enhancement, minimizing the thermal damage that prevented earlier researchers from making 5D optical data storage truly usable.
“This new approach improves the data writing speed to a practical level, so we can write tens of gigabytes of data in a reasonable time,” said doctoral researcher Yuhao Lei. By a reasonable time, Lei means about 100 pages of text (roughly 230 kilobytes of data) per second.
When you compare that figure to the writing speeds of modern SSDs (anywhere from 200 megabytes per second to 4,000 megabytes per second), it becomes apparent that regular consumers won’t be replacing their storage drives with it anytime soon.
Abu Dhabi’s Hub71 To Help Climate Technology Startups
The initiative was announced at the COP28 summit and will help selected startups with a $200,000 cash injection and further incentives.
Hub71, Abu Dhabi’s global technology system, has launched a new initiative to support climate technology startups backed by several of the UAE’s largest public and private sector organizations.
A total of 342 startups have submitted applications so far, with the top companies being added to a shortlist that will be revealed shortly. Selected startups will receive Dh250,000 ($68,000) in incentives and an upfront cash support package of Dh250,000. In addition, the top performers of Hub71’s new initiative will also receive a top-up of up to Dh250,000 in exchange for additional equity.
Ahmad Alwan, deputy chief executive of Hub71, said: “This initiative aims to bring in different entities that have a shared mission towards climate tech […] Throughout the journey, we will support these companies, not only from being startups to becoming mature companies but also to facilitate their engagement with entities that would support them with access to capital, market, and talent”.
The Hub71+ ClimateTech ecosystem is backed by the Abu Dhabi National Energy Company and the National Central Cooling Company, who have each pledged Dh500,000 to the initiative as anchor partners.
They are joined by corporate partners, including Abu Dhabi holding company ADQ, Aldar Properties, sovereign wealth fund Mubadala, First Abu Dhabi Bank, Masdar City, and Dubai’s Emirates NBD. In addition, Siemens Energy is also onboard as an anchor partner.
So far, Hub71 has helped 260 member startups and created over 1,000 jobs, according to the organization’s website. In addition, it has collectively raised around Dh5 billion since its foundation in 2019.