5D Printing


Logan Roldan, Staff Writer

In 2013, the United Kingdom’s University of Southampton created a new format for encoding and storing information in tiny nanostructures imprinted on glass.

Nanostructures are small details, ingrained within a small structure. This new way of printing is called 5D printing.

According to theverge.com, this is a new form of printing that can be made by engraving 2 dimensional images into glass and arranging these images with an x,y, and z axis. An x, y, and z is a 3-D version of a coordinate plane.

A 5-D model is simply a 3D model with engraved 2D image, or a small “code” . The image inside is encoded inside the nanostructures. These prints are small, tiny engravings that can be read by a machine.

To put in this perspective, the prints are all recorded onto a 1 inch thick, circular glass sheet. The entire amount of information is encoded and put in a space that is less than 0.4 inches. They also include a picture and a title of what is encoded on the sheets of glass.

Today, Blu-ray discs can hold up to 128GBs of data but this new form of digital storage, can save up to 360 terabytes of data. One terabyte can equal 1000 gigabytes, or one billion bytes.
Not only do they hold more space, but they can last longer. One disc can withstand being heated up to 1,000℃ or 1832℉. A normal disc would have melted at 190℃ or 374℉ . Its lifespan is also much longer than a standard disc. A normal disc has a lifespan up to 100 years. The lifespan of 5D printed glass is 13.8 million years.

The University of Southampton, in the UK, has already made 5D print copies of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Isaac Newton’s ‘Opticks’. In addition to a copy of the King James Bible in 2015 and the Magna Carta.