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Scientist Uses Nanodots To Create 4Tb Storage Chip 207

arcticstoat writes "Solid state disks could soon catch up with mechanical hard drives in terms of cost and capacity, thanks to a new data-packed chip developed by a scientist at the University of North Carolina. Using a uniform array of 10nm nanodots, each of which represents a single bit, Dr. Jay Narayan created a data density of 1 terabit per square centimeter. The end result was a 4cm2 chip that holds 4Tb of data (512GB), but the university says that the nanodots could have a diameter of just 6nm, enabling an even greater data density. The university explains that the nanodots are 'made of single, defect-free crystals, creating magnetic sensors that are integrated directly into a silicon electronic chip.' Dr. Narayan says he expects the technology overtaking traditional solid state disk technology within the next five years."
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Scientist Uses Nanodots To Create 4Tb Storage Chip

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 03, 2010 @10:39AM (#32072342)

    They have microdots at a 4Tb-per-sq-inch storage density; they don't have any controller that can read and write it.

    This has been "accomplished" numerous times with holographic storage media before. They just never made the read-writers...

  • NCSU != UNC (Score:2, Informative)

    by fred_sanford ( 678924 ) on Monday May 03, 2010 @10:43AM (#32072402)
    BEGIN RANT Seriously, North Carolina State University (NCSU in Raleigh) is not the University of North Carolina (typically in reference to Chapel Hill). One is a school (that I happened to have attended twice) that focuses primarily on Engineering and Agriculture and the other is a liberal arts school down the road. Seriously, fact-check much? [] END RANT
  • 3 ... 2 ... 1 ... (Score:5, Informative)

    by NotBornYesterday ( 1093817 ) on Monday May 03, 2010 @10:46AM (#32072452) Journal
    I suppose that depends on which video cards [] and SSDs [] you use.
  • Re:4tb != 512gb (Score:4, Informative)

    by John Hasler ( 414242 ) on Monday May 03, 2010 @11:05AM (#32072708) Homepage

    > Why the hell they would measure in Tb instead of GB is beyond me though.

    Because each dot stores one bit. They are building chips with arrays of dots, not complete hard drives.

  • Re:I hate this... (Score:3, Informative)

    by LWATCDR ( 28044 ) on Monday May 03, 2010 @11:22AM (#32072914) Homepage Journal

    That is why I hate this.
    It reminds me of those Popular Science stores.
    Or even better the one that sticks in my mind. The THOR drive from Radio Shack. []

    I was so hyped by this in 1988 it sound so cool and it was only a few years away...
    It never came.
    On the bright side we did eventually get CD-Rs and even CD-RWs but not for a good long time after the THOR drive was announced.

  • Re:Wow (Score:4, Informative)

    by divisionbyzero ( 300681 ) on Monday May 03, 2010 @11:34AM (#32073042)

    Problem is most software developers and OS makers also race to consume that memory. Honestly all the software today is a bloated blob that is horribly unoptimized for speed and efficiency.

    It's disgusting how bloated most stuff is because we have 4gig of ram and 2 2.5ghz processors... why make it leand and mean? it compiles, ship it.

    Sounds like a reasonable outcome of a cost/benefit analysis. Since when is efficiency an end in itself?

  • Re:I hate this... (Score:3, Informative)

    by osgeek ( 239988 ) on Monday May 03, 2010 @11:59AM (#32073364) Homepage Journal

    Yeah, that Thor drive was some great vapor. My painful promise memory, was hologram storage. Back in 1992, I remember holding on to a hologram storage article from MacWeek that described what was supposed to be a consumer product in a year or so.

    The media was the size of a credit card and they promised it would hold 100x as much as the current best hard drives of the day. It's a real shame because you just know that there was some fairly fraudulent monkey business going on to motivate guys like that to hawk something they had no chance of ever delivering, much less in the time frames they touted.

    It's amazing how the same fraud is passed along by Slashdot every six months in the form of a new holographic storage device that's going to revolutionize everything. It's probably the same core of fraudsters forming new companies and recycling their same tired story to pull in new investment suckers.

  • Lame Research? (Score:5, Informative)

    by GameGod0 ( 680382 ) on Monday May 03, 2010 @12:20PM (#32073658)

    It may be peaking soon though. 6nm is getting close to physical maximums for most techniques due to the casimir effect.

    Not quite sure what the Casimir Effect has to do with magnetic dots, but I should mention that 6 nm is below the Superparamagnetic limit (which is typically tens of nanometers). That means you're magnetic nanodot probably isn't magnetic.

    ... Which brings me to my second point: This article says nothing about what this researcher actually did. It sounds like he just fabricated an array of nanodots, which is nothing particularly groundbreaking.

    Does anyone have a link to the original abstract for the conference presentation? The dots must have been multilayer "stacks", otherwise there's a good chance they won't be ferromagnetic (there's a "superparamagnetic limit" that stops ferromagnetic particles from being ferromagnetic when they get around this size.)

    Lastly, the article says they'll look at housing and using "laser technology" to read back from these nanodots. They mention that as a sidenote, but it's really the most important problem if you want to make something useful. The problem with most nanomagnetic memory techniques is that reading/writing is either impractical or not yet possible.

  • by Dragonslicer ( 991472 ) on Monday May 03, 2010 @12:55PM (#32074104)

    I like the french word for Bytes. Octet. So there is no confusion between 4Tb and 4 To.

    It's probably too late to change bytes to another word in english ;)

    Either the French changed recently, or it didn't have a word for byte until recently. A byte is not strictly defined as 8 bits, it's just that the dominant architectures used 8-bit bytes. Other older architectures used other byte sizes.

  • Re:Lame Research? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 03, 2010 @06:03PM (#32078036)

    Superparamagnetic structures are still magnetic and, depending on the material, might be ferromagnetic. If we define ferromagnetism as locally parallel aligned atomic magnetic moments, that is.
    The atomic moments are still aligned in the superparamagnetic , it is just that the direction of the total magnetic moment (sum of all atomic moments) becomes unstable. Basically, below a certain size a dot will switch back and forth between semi-stable states.
    This is obviously unusable for information storage, but you can still do some funny physics with it, if you can control the properties of the semi-stable states (which, incidentially, we can).

    IAAPINM (physicist in nanomagnetism)

    (No idea why GP was referring to the Casimir effect, either...)

The party adjourned to a hot tub, yes. Fully clothed, I might add. -- IBM employee, testifying in California State Supreme Court