You can fit the data of 25 million 1TB SSDs into this 5cm diamond wafer

Researchers in Japan say they have invented a new method of creating diamond wafers capable of storing massive amounts of data about them. We’re talking 25 exabytes of storage, which is 25,000 petabytes. Or 25,000,000 terabytes. Or 25 billion gigabytes. That’s a dizzying amount of data for sure.

If you assume there are around 50,000 games on Steam and each is around 80GB, which to be completely honest is probably a gross exaggeration of the average game install size on the platform, you’d be looking at around four petabytes of data needed to install the batch. So, with a single diamond wafer, you can save your entire Steam library 6,250 times.

Though there’s probably room for a lot more if you consider how many visual novels there are on Steam.

Now, it’s not like this diamond wafer acts like a disc you throw into your machine. This is quantum storage and uses a defect in the diamond, known as a nitrogen vacancy center, to store a quantum bit, or qubit (via New Atlas).

This defect in diamonds has proven to be quite useful already in use for quantum computers, as it allows researchers to read the specific spin of an electron. This is a key part of how a quantum computer works, along with quantum entanglement, and how they might one day reach a point of utility for computing workloads far beyond what is possible with a classical computer today. These diamond qubits are useful even at room temperature, which means less reliance on supercooling gases that many quantum qubits need to operate.

The new diamond wafer alongside the current commercially available square crystal. (Image credit: Saga University, Adamant Namiki)

To make these diamond nitrogen vacancy centers function as storage, the researchers needed to find a constant supply of high-purity diamonds that were large enough to store data in this nitrogen vacancy center. And this is just what they came up with: Saga University and Adamant Namiki Precision Jewelery Co. in Japan discovered a new method of manufacturing (or rather, growing) diamonds up to 55 mm, which are prime candidates for use in quantum applications. Previous commercially available diamond crystals were only available up to about 4 mm square in size.

With these diamonds, the researchers were able to create 5 cm diamond wafers (which they call Kenzan Diamond) that can store up to 25 exabytes of data. That’s a lot more storage than millions of 1TB NVMe SSDs combined.

“A 2-inch diamond wafer theoretically allows enough quantum memory to burn 1 billion Blu-ray discs. That’s equivalent to all the mobile data distributed in the world in one day and fits into one diamond wafer,” reads a press release. . A single-layer Blu-ray is 25GB.

These new wafers will ship in 2023, though you’ll likely need to find another way to handle your growing Steam library in the meantime. I doubt we’ll be running diamond wafers on our PCs anytime soon. Or probably never.

Leave a Comment