There are two very exciting recent advances in nanotechnology may soon result in a massive increase in memory capacities of your DVDs and iPods:
- Researchers at the Centre for Micro-Photonics at the Swinburne University of Technology in Victoria, Australia, created a new material that could lead to new discs that can store 10,000 times more data than your average DVDs.
The material is made up of layers of gold nanorods suspended in clear plastic spun flat on a glass substrate. Multiple data patterns can be written and read within the same area in the material without interfering with each other. Using three wavelengths and two polarizations of light, the Australian researchers have written six different patterns within the same area. They've further increased the storage density to 1.1 terabytes per cubic centimeter by writing data to stacks of as many as 10 nanorod layers. In a paper published online today in the journal Nature, Gu's group reports recording speeds of about a gigabit per second.
- The picture to the right shows 6 patterns written in the same area of the nanorods using three different color and two different polarization of lasers: Link (Photo credit: Nature Publishing Group)
- Berkeley (yay! My alma mater) researcher Alex Zettl and colleagues created a physical memory cell composed of an iron nanoparticle that can be moved back and forth in a nanotube. The position of the iron particle represents the state of the bit, which leads to very dense and highly stabile memory arrays, resulting in very long lifetime: Link
How stable is stable? Here's a chart that shows typical storage lifetimes vs bit density for a variety of storage media. As you can see, his stuff beats rock!
(Image: Zettl Research Group, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and University of California at Berkeley)