Everyone's favourite sci-fi buzzword – nanotechnology – holds the promise of a new breakthrough in storage densities according to researchers.
As reported by The Industry Standard
, a team of scientists working at the University of Massachusetts and the University of California at Berkeley have finalised a paper on a technology which could fit the equivalent of 250 DVDs worth of data on something the size of a coin.
The researchers – lead by Thomas Russell and Ting Xu – have discovered an innovative new way to create polymer chains that spontaneously join together, known as “block copolymers
.” The new process – which uses sapphire crystals heated to 1500 degrees Celsius to guide the chains of polymers into the exact shapes required – promises to pack molecules tightly enough to achieve a storage density of 125GB per square inch – some fifteen times the density of currently available technologies – with no defects in the medium.
The team isn't just looking towards data storage, either: the discovery has potential implications for large-screen displays – which could end up with significantly smaller pixels sizes and higher resolutions than is currently possible – and solar panels which would be far more efficient at capturing the sun's rays. The researchers are even hopeful that the technology could be applied to the production of CPUs, allowing for features to be created as small as 3nm – a far cry from the current 45nm and 35nm processes.
While the technology behind the research isn't ready for commercialisation yet, the team is hopeful that the work they have done could result in marketable products within the next ten years.
Are you looking forward to increased storage densities, or is the thought of a processor based around a 3nm process getting your juices flowing? Perhaps you'll need to see some evidence of the technology in action before you'll be throwing a party? Share your thoughts over in the forums