Tiny Diamond Wafer Can Store Same Amount Of Data As 1 Billion Blu-ray Discs

Diamond wafer on top of a ruler
Researchers at Saga University in Japan have developed an ultra-high purity diamond wafer they say can store the same amount of data as 1 billion Blu-ray discs. Assuming they are equating the storage capacity to single-layer Blu-ray discs, each of which can store up to 25 gigabytes of data, these tiny diamond wafers can hold a mind boggling 25 exabytes.

To put that into perspective, the largest capacity single SSD available to consumers in the M.2 form factor is 8TB. It would take 125,000 of them to store the same amount of data as a single diamond wafer, or 1 million 1TB SSDs.

Ready for some more fun math? Seagate’s Exos X20 is one of the largest capacity hard disk drives (HDDs) on the market at 20TB (until next year, when Toshiba ships 30TB HDDs), and it costs $470. It would take 50,000 of those drives valued at $23.5 million to store the same amount of data as a single diamond wafer.

Here’s the other staggering number to digest‚ÄĒ2 inches (around 55 millimeters), which is the size of the diameter of these wafers. Saga University researchers collaborated with Adamant Namiki Precision Jewelry company on the breakthrough storage tech, which contains no more than 3 ppb (parts per billion) of nitrogen atoms.

“In this diamond crystal growth technology, nitrogen gas had to be used to obtain a high growth rate, so nitrogen impurities with a concentration of several ppm were mixed into the diamond crystal and could not be used in a quantum computer,” the researchers explain (via Google Translate). “On the other hand, commercially available ultra-high-purity diamonds with a nitrogen concentration of 3 ppb or less have dimensions of only 4 mm square, and even if they could be used for research, they could not be used practically.”

They got around this roadblock by using a unique step flow method, to achieve a higher level of purity. This in turn allowed them to make a wafer significantly larger than 4mm (but still small in the grand scheme of things).

The application here is not home PCs or your NAS box that’s quickly filling up. Instead, these could be used for quantum computing applications. The researchers believe they’ll have this diamond wafer storage medium ready for commercialization by next year.

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