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Nano-Scale Memory Fits A Terabit On A Square Inch 199

prostoalex writes "San Jose Business Journal talks about Nanochip, a company that's developing molecular-scale memory: "Nanochip has developed prototype arrays of atomic-force probes, tiny instruments used to read and write information at the molecular level. These arrays can record up to one trillion bits of data -- known as a terabit -- in a single square inch. That's the storage density that magnetic hard disk drive makers hope to achieve by 2010. It's roughly equivalent to putting the contents of 25 DVDs on a chip the size of a postage stamp." The story also mentions Millipede project from IBM, where scientists are trying to build nano-scale memory that relies on micromechanical components."
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Nano-Scale Memory Fits A Terabit On A Square Inch

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  • 25 DVDs? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by chris-johnson ( 45745 ) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @07:44PM (#11797715) Homepage Journal
    Last time I checked, a DVD was (roughly) 4 GB, so 25 DVDs is only 100GB?
  • Hmm (Score:4, Insightful)

    by pHatidic ( 163975 ) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @07:47PM (#11797742)
    These arrays can record up to one trillion bits of data -- known as a terabit -- in a single square inch.

    Is that a hardware terabit or a software terabit?

  • Re:25 DVDs? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by chris-johnson ( 45745 ) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @07:47PM (#11797743) Homepage Journal
    And of course after I post, I see terabit instead of terabyte.
  • by Canadian_Daemon ( 642176 ) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @07:51PM (#11797774)
    So, you are writing you 10 000 line program, get half way through it today, save to your non persistent memory, shutdown for the night, and what? You really ought to think about it for a while, how often do you use your harddrive? Never, well then you are correct in your idea that persistent memory is a bad idea. However, if you are like any person in the world that boots their OS from a hard drive, or saves their work to a hard drive, or plays games, then you probably want persistent memory
  • by Rosco P. Coltrane ( 209368 ) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @08:09PM (#11797909)
    (a) Reliability: No words about how reliable the system and elements are ...
    (b) Testing: How are they going to test this trillion element chip ? ...
    (c) Redundancy: Is this process going to give more yield than conventional electronic processes ?

    Do you understand the definition of a prototype?

    I'm sure all your questions will be answered in due time, in 5 or 10 years when the device hits the street.
  • by Rosco P. Coltrane ( 209368 ) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @08:20PM (#11797981)
    So, if we attached a couple square inches of this stuff to a pigeon, or filled a 747 with some of these chips, and flew it around the world, how fast would the transfer rate be?

    I know you're trying to be funny but...

    What most people really look for in electronic communication networks is not transfer rate but good latency: if I can "download" the entire library of Congress by having it Fedexed to be in a big box full of disks, but I have to wait 3 weeks for the snail mail request to reach the LoC, the guys to package everything up and the box to reach me eventually, I may be better off downloading the LoC on a slower link that answers immediately.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 27, 2005 @08:44PM (#11798122)
    Radical would be dumping the binary numbering system. Both for computing, and storage.
  • by spworley ( 121031 ) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @09:06PM (#11798292)
    The article says they have working prototypes. Of what? The implication is that it's a device that's a square inch in size, and it holds a terabit of data. But from the usage of "square inch" I think the reality may mean a density of 1 terabit per square inch, not that they have a terabit device. (I hope I'm wrong!). For example, they may have a prototype that stores 1000 bits in an area of a billionth of a square inch. That's a lot different than an actual terabit device! I wish articles had more details...
  • by luwain ( 66565 ) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @09:28PM (#11798454)
    Prototype Arrays of Atomic Force Probes?? Is this real technology? I wonder is the talk of a real product by 2007 is credible, or just marketing to attract venture capital. I'm still waiting for products based on NRAM (made up of arrays of carbon nantubes) from Nantero ( I wonder if "atomic force probes" are easier to manufacture than "arrays of carbon nanotubes"? Will Nanochip beat Nantero to the marketplace, or will they just burn through venture capital and next year we'll hear about another "Nano-'something'" company with some other "revolutionary technology" that's going to produce a marketable product "real soon now".
  • by dbIII ( 701233 ) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @10:36PM (#11799026)
    We don't measure HDs in Terabits
    It's a business journal - and you can tell. We don't measure size in molecules either - it's a long way from H2 to a really big polymer chain - or since molecules don't make sense where crystals are involved, a single crystal of silicon they cut the wafers from, a jet turbine blade or a cubic galena crystal the size of a house.

    They should stick to their standard business journal units - football feilds - if the ewant to be vague.

    8 times. Not even a single order of magnitude.
    Think of the readership. A response from some would be "IBM can only increase it by two orders of magnitude by these guys can increase it 8 times! Buy! Buy! Buy!

    We need better teaching of basic mathematics in high schools so the guy whose dad owns the company still picks up a clue along the way. Either my country has become a dumping ground for the worst of US management or the USA is really in trouble.

  • by NaruVonWilkins ( 844204 ) on Monday February 28, 2005 @12:29AM (#11799886)
    Actually, it matters a lot whether it's a chip or a platter. A platter requires, in today's hard disk drives, a set of support mechanisms equal to much more than 100% of the platter. A chip of equal storage density per square inch as a platter will take up less space, require less overhead, and generate less heat. The comparison I'd like to see is to today's solid state storage devices - USB drives, CompactFlash, etc. I'm pointing out that this is being compared to a technology it will not significantly affect the development of (except, perhaps, in cache).

We all like praise, but a hike in our pay is the best kind of ways.