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."
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