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Nanodots Used To Create 2.24 TB Storage Chip

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 47 comments
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It's a new way to cram large capacities into nanometer spaces.

A scientist of the University of North Carolina has discovered a way to cram 2.24 TB of data onto a one-square-inch chip. This was accomplished by storing a single bit of data in a magnetic dot (quantum dot) measuring just 6nm in diameter. These dots--17,921 billion in fact--were then crammed onto the chip, thus providing an "unprecedented" amount of storage that could eventually turn around the SSD market.

According to Dr. Jagdish "Jay" Narayan of the University's Department of Materials Science and Engineering, the nanodots are made of single, defect-free crystals created during thin-film growth by laser disposition. These crystals combine with magnetic sensors that are integrated directly into a silicon electron chip. He added that the nanodots are positioned uniformly "with strict precision," guaranteeing that the dots can be read and written without the slightest error.

“The next step is to develop magnetic packaging that will enable users to take advantage of the chips, using something, such as laser technology, that can effectively interact with the nanodots," he said.

Dr. Narayan told THINQ that--even at this current stage--overall the chips shouldn't be expensive to make. The University also backed his claim, saying that the chips can be manufactured "cost-effectively." The new storage technology may even be ready for mass consumption relatively soon, perhaps within the next five years.

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  • 22 Hide
    jerreece , May 3, 2010 10:44 PM
    Okay, now this is the kind of news Tomshardware should be posting about.

    A few years from now, this could become the replacement for SSDs. Imagine, 2.24TB in a thumb drive sized storage unit. Incredible. Absolutely incredible.
  • 19 Hide
    mp562 , May 3, 2010 10:25 PM
    Sweet.
  • 19 Hide
    jacobdrj , May 3, 2010 10:28 PM
    So, is this storage Future Tech more like batteries (who always promise wonderful things in 2-5 years with almost no tangible consumer benefit), or is this more like CPU tech, where Moore's Law reigns?
Other Comments
  • 19 Hide
    mp562 , May 3, 2010 10:25 PM
    Sweet.
  • 19 Hide
    jacobdrj , May 3, 2010 10:28 PM
    So, is this storage Future Tech more like batteries (who always promise wonderful things in 2-5 years with almost no tangible consumer benefit), or is this more like CPU tech, where Moore's Law reigns?
  • 12 Hide
    brendano257 , May 3, 2010 10:32 PM
    Incredible. I just hope it comes mainstream with decent pricing, and soon. I'm running out of places to put my movies :( 
  • -2 Hide
    Anonymous , May 3, 2010 10:37 PM
    yea
  • 1 Hide
    babybeluga , May 3, 2010 10:38 PM
    I hate really, really smart people. They make me feel so dumb!
  • 18 Hide
    gekko668 , May 3, 2010 10:40 PM
    that's nice but what's is the read/write speed? that's what i want to know.
  • 22 Hide
    jerreece , May 3, 2010 10:44 PM
    Okay, now this is the kind of news Tomshardware should be posting about.

    A few years from now, this could become the replacement for SSDs. Imagine, 2.24TB in a thumb drive sized storage unit. Incredible. Absolutely incredible.
  • 3 Hide
    zoemayne , May 3, 2010 10:46 PM
    5 years isnt soon enough ssd's price will go down by then and they'll be already in mass use. hopefully this works out because many times we never hear about these "breakthroughs" after further research.
  • 19 Hide
    PostmanPat , May 3, 2010 10:47 PM
    Don't worry about it babybeluga... we really, really hate you too! ;) 
  • 1 Hide
    zoemayne , May 3, 2010 10:57 PM
    So if you do the math a typical 2.5" drive can hold 8 of these chips so that 17.92TB. Depending on the thickness of the chip it can be layered 2 to 3 times providing capacities of 35.84TB and 53.76TB respectively. And for 3.5" drives the numbers more than double.
  • 8 Hide
    Dekasav , May 3, 2010 10:58 PM
    I wonder if it could have possible use as CPU cache....
  • 14 Hide
    Bert R , May 3, 2010 11:05 PM
    Did anybody else read the title as "Nanobots" by accident? Because I was excited for a second there. But, alas, tis not to be.
  • 1 Hide
    jacobdrj , May 3, 2010 11:07 PM
    DekasavI wonder if it could have possible use as CPU cache....

    Depends. It sounds like this has less to do with silicon, and more to do with lasers. There are technologies that are similar for processors that would utilize laser pulses, and therefore, could have some kind of co-relevance with this technology, but assuming current CPU technology, I think this is a radically different way of accessing data, and may require something closer to an optical drive (DVD) than a CPU.
  • 5 Hide
    bogcotton , May 3, 2010 11:09 PM
    zoemayneSo if you do the math a typical 2.5" drive can hold 8 of these chips so that 17.92TB. Depending on the thickness of the chip it can be layered 2 to 3 times providing capacities of 35.84TB and 53.76TB respectively. And for 3.5" drives the numbers more than double.


    No, because this doesn't include the technology needed to read and write onto the chip.

    It's kind of like saying, I can cram the entire contents of an encyclopeia onto the surface of a grain of rice. But that doesn't mean you could cram 1000's of them into a 3.5 inch drive because you need a gigantic electron microscope to read the information.
  • -1 Hide
    zoemayne , May 3, 2010 11:11 PM
    Quote:
    that's nice but what's is the read/write speed? that's what i want to know.

    Its unknown. It is not known whether it can be written to they have just managed to store 2TB on a chip.
  • 0 Hide
    zoemayne , May 3, 2010 11:18 PM
    Quote:
    No, because this doesn't include the technology needed to read and write onto the chip.

    It's kind of like saying, I can cram the entire contents of an encyclopeia onto the surface of a grain of rice. But that doesn't mean you could cram 1000's of them into a 3.5 inch drive because you need a gigantic electron microscope to read the information.

    good point but im sure i was not the only one thinking about how many square inches a 2.5" drive can take.
  • -3 Hide
    Shadow703793 , May 3, 2010 11:19 PM
    W00t! Bring on the mass storage SSDs!
  • -1 Hide
    Marco925 , May 3, 2010 11:41 PM
    How much does this cost?
  • 5 Hide
    babybeluga , May 3, 2010 11:44 PM
    postmanpatDon't worry about it babybeluga... we really, really hate you too!


    I can't even read ='(
  • 0 Hide
    drwho1 , May 3, 2010 11:49 PM
    I hope that this technology does get somewhere, and at earth prices.
    It's funny when they said "this can be done "cost-effectively" but then
    when it gets to the consumer the price is multiply by 1000+'s.

    Also like many comments speculate, I too would like to know if multiple
    of this chips could be used on a single unit and at earth prices.

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