Friday, August 3, 2012

Sapphire Hard Disk – World’s Most Expensive Hard Disk

The world’s most expensive hard disk is a sapphire disk drive, whose prototype is priced at US $30,000. The data inside this sapphire hard disk is engraved in platinum, and the disk itself is expected to last for around one million years. The idea of developing this sapphire hard disk came about when builders of nuclear waste repositories, recognised that it was necessary to preserve data about what substances were buried in which locations. This was required not for a few decades or centuries, but for tens of thousands of years.

Most of the countries with nuclear power stations are in agreement that long-lived nuclear waste should be stored about 500 meters deep within the earth. However, nuclear scientists have always been deeply concerned that archaeologists in the distant future, who have a penchant for excavating various sites, might chance upon a nuclear waste dumping site, and get sick or injured. According to various scientists, the way humans think in the future might be quite different from how we think today, and the way things are done may also be a lot different.

Hence, in 2010, a nuclear waste management agency called ANDRA (based in France) embarked on a project to attend to the above nuclear waste management issue. One of the results of this project was the sapphire disk with platinum data, which is expected to last a good one million years.

Features of the Sapphire Hard Disk

This sapphire hard disk is made from two thin disks of industrial sapphire, both measuring about 20 cm across. Each single sapphire disk has the capacity to store around 40,000 miniaturised pages of information. After the selected information is stored in the sapphire hard disks, the two disks will be molecularly fused together. If a future archaeologist would like to view the data on the disk, they would simply have to use a regular microscope.

The durability of this sapphire hard disk has been tested by immersing it in acid. The success of this acid test also shows that the disk will be able to withstand centuries of aging, and ANDRA hopes it will display a lifetime of 10 million years.

The sapphire hard disk would be unaffordable for most geeks, because of its expected high price. In fact, the prototype itself is priced at US $30,000. However, if you are a millionaire looking to store personal information for posterity, then you will certainly be able to afford it.

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