Hard disk capacity can sextuple with ‘pinch of salt’

Written by Clive Webster

October 20, 2011 // 11:41 a.m.

Tags: #areal-density #capacity #hard-disk #hard-disk-capacity-can-sextuple-with-pinch-of-salt #sodium-chloride #storage

Researchers in Singapore have discovered a way to increase hard disk capacity six-fold by using sodium chloride (also known as chemical-grade table salt), according to Wired.

The new idea ‘ditches the idea of inefficient patternless clumps [of nanoscopic grains] and instead make slightly larger grains (ten nanometres, up from seven to eight nanometres), in regular patterns, which each store one bit.

This is an improvement over the current arrangement, which uses clumps of ten grains for each bit of data. A spokesperson for Singapore’s Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE) said, ‘It's like packing your clothes in your suitcase when you. The neater you pack them the more you can carry.

The salt enhances the effect of the e-beam lithography process used to pattern the platter of a hard disk, as it produces ‘nanostructures with a much higher resolution: down to 4.5 nanometres half pitch, without prohibitively expensive equipment.

The salt method has already produced platters with a areal density of 1.9 terabits per square inch and 3.3 terabits per square inch is said to be possible, the latter is a six-fold increase in data per area.

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