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Big Blue boffins make big storage breakthrough

Self-arranging magnetic particles appear in lab

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Boffins at Big Blue said at the end of last week that they have devised a method that may, one day, produce data storage systems with 100 times the capacity of today's drives. The method uses a combination of nanotechnology and chemistry which produces what the scientists describe as a "radically new class of magnetic materials". The chemical reactions IBM has identified cause minute magnetic particles made up of only thousands of atoms to arrange themselves into arrays, each particle separated from the other by the same distance. 20,000 of the so-called nanoparticles would make up the thickness of an average human hair, with each particle four billionths of a metre (a nanometre) in length. But it's likely to be some while before IBM hardware boffins manage to put these nanoparticles together into a sensible arrangement which will carry the no-doubt massive operating systems of the future, the company warned. Said Currie Munce, IBM's storage R&D director: "It's an exciting and promising laboratory development." ® Related Stories IBM boffins unveil 0.08 micron chip process Researchers beat Moore's Law with quantum magic Big Blue boffins to unveil 4.5GHz CPU breakthrough Motorola slims chip transistors to quarter of current size Boffins pave way for 400x rise in CPU transistor count US scientists develop molecular memory Gas chips to replace semiconductors, predicts boffin

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