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Data stored on today's CDs and DVDs has a lifetime of several decades before the physical material begins to significantly decay. Researchers are working on prolonging the lifetime of stored data, but so far reaching even 100 years has been challenging. Now in a new study, researchers have demonstrated a data storage technique that has a lifetime of about 3 x 1020 years at room temperature—virtually unlimited—which could lead to a new era of eternal data archiving.

The researchers, Jingyu Zhang, Mindaugas Gecevičius, Martynas Beresna, and Peter G. Kazansky at the University of Southampton in the UK, have published a paper in a recent issue of Physical Review Letters on the new data storage technique.

"In the fifth decade after the invention of the Internet, more and more data is generated in this Information Age," Zhang told "How to store the data while considering the physical decay of storage materials and techniques has attracted much attention. Many individuals, companies and governments are interested in eternal data archiving to store data for military, science, and confidential purposes. Some applications can already be seen in the market; for example, M-disc and others are still under development. There is also a disc by Hitachi which lasts millions of years. We believe we are presenting the ultimate solution for eternal data archiving."

Eternity is a long time. To read more, click here.