Engineers Create 1TB Fingernail-Sized Chip

Imagine cramming 1 TB of data on a fingernail-sized chip. That's around fifty times the capacity of today's high-end silicon-based chips, and apparently engineers from North Carolina State University have mattered such a feat and developed a new material capable of handling incredibly large amounts of storage--the equivalent of 20 high-def DVDs--in an extremely small space.

The team of engineers was led by Jagdish "Jay" Narayan, director of the National Science Foundation Center for Advanced Materials and Smart Structures at N.C. State. According to this news release, the team made its breakthrough by adding an impurity to a material to change its properties (called selective doping). By working at the nanometer level, the engineers added nickel to magnesium oxide (a ceramic) and created a material with clusters of nickel atoms around 10 square nanometers in size.

“Instead of making a chip that stores 20 gigabytes, you have one that can handle one terabyte, or 50 times more data,” Narayan said. The new atoms are 90-percent smaller than the ones used today, and could lead to a boost in computer storage capacity, reduce heat produced by semiconductors, and enhance a vehicle's fuel economy by offering up to 80 miles per gallon.

80 miles to the gallon? How is this possible? It's all in the metallic properties dumped into the ceramics. Narayan said engineers could develop new engines using the new ceramic that could withstand twice the amount of heat endured by current engines. There's even mention of harnessing solar energy thanks to the thermal conductivity of the new material.

  • gorehound
    yes by adding impurities to a substance and experimenting they have done an awesome tech news.
    If this pans out, whoever gets their hands on it first wins
  • mlcloud
    A change in technology, rather than improvements in current ones... Smells delicious.
  • jecht
    This sounds awesome! By the way, it should be "managed such a feat" instead of "mattered such a feat". Can't rely on spellcheck alone! And it might sound nitpicky, but you really should stop saying "apparently" so much. It makes you sound like you're not sure what you're reporting is true. Other than that I think you've gotten better, Kevin.
  • the_krasno
    Fuck science fiction, the future happened YESTERDAY!
  • keither5150
    But does it play Crysis?
  • illegalnaut
    sounds great if it ever goes main stream. there are a ton of cool techs that have come out, a big name company buys the rights and then sends it to a shelf so they can keep making more money. good case is the hydrogen engine, thats been around for quite some time and just now seeing the light of day in a car.
  • thub
    Hmmm, typically reports of new silicon or flash storage technology include some kind of disclaimer that, "this technology is still 10 years away from practical applications," or somesuch. Now that I think about it, it seems to me it's always "10 years away." I wonder if the absence of such a clause was omitted on purpose. Hmmmm...

    And since it's a new material: Will it blend?

    Also, I love that this photo from the Jerk keeps showing up in Tom's Hardware articles. :-)
  • Greg_77
    I wonder if this well ever lead to something,or will it be like all those other promising technologies that lead to nothing.
  • MulaTerca
    What happened to the memristore? It was expected to make a huge impact in the industry, but I've never heard anything again since late 2008.