Several readers have remarked on a new technique developed by scientists at UC Berkeley and University of Massachusetts Amherst that has the promise of achieving storage densities of 10 terabits per square inch
. "The method lets microscopic nanoscale elements precisely assemble themselves over large surfaces. ... Xu explained that the molecules in the thin film of block copolymers — two or more chemically dissimilar polymer chains linked together — self-assemble into an extremely precise, equidistant pattern when spread out on a surface... Russell and Xu conceived of the elegantly simple solution of layering the film of block copolymers onto the surface of a commercially available sapphire crystal. When the crystal is cut at an angle... and heated to 1,300 to 1,500 degrees Centigrade... for 24 hours, its surface reorganizes into a highly ordered pattern of sawtooth ridges that can then be used to guide the self-assembly of the block polymers."