Boffins develop '500TB iPod' storage tech
But you'll have to wait 20 years for it
In the future, your iPod Touch may be able to hold millions of tracks, thanks to a breakthrough in storage technology made by the University of Glasgow.
Researchers at the university have developed a technique for radically increasing the number of gigabytes that can be crammed into one square inch of data-storage chip, raising it from just 3.3GB to around 500,000GB.
Glasgow University’s Professor Lee Cronin told Register Hardware that the revolutionary process uses a molecule-sized switch which consists of two molybdenum(VI) oxide 'polyoxometalate' molecular nanoclusters positioned about 0.32nm - 32 millionths of a millimetre - apart within a metal oxide 'cage'.
He claimed that the switch can be used to manipulate electrical fields, allowing it to store data and have that information read back. By placing switches on a carbon or gold surface, up to 1bn transistors could be put onto a single chip – around five times the current limit.
Cronin said this explosion in storage capacity could be extended out past iPods, but admitted that it could be 20 years before consumer electronics are available that employ such storage methods to gain huge amounts of capacity.
Full details of the research - Reversible electron-transfer reactions within a nanoscale metal oxide cage mediated by metallic substrates - have been published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.
Third time lucky
ok - you have the 0.32nm right - that is 0.32 billionths of a metre
micro = millionth = 10^-6
nano = billionth = 10^-9
0.32nm = 320 picometres - 320 *trillionths* of a metre
It is always easy to make predictions based on some highly controlled lab experiment, but it is a lot more difficult to develop a technology to the point where it is realiable, and cheap enough, to be used in consumer appliances.
It is much, much, easier to make rash promises for 20 years out (whether that's Bush's global warming targets or technology). By then people would have forgotten and lost interest (like those queuing up for flying cars for the last 30 or 40 years).
NAND flash was first shipped in 1988 but only got cheap enough to be used on a grand scale (multi-gigabytes) in consumer devices since 2005 or so. That's an 17 year ramp-up. Likely NAND flash was in the controlled lab stage a few years before that and it is based on relatively sound technology.
Ferrous RAM, bubble memory,... the tech highway is littered with breakthrough technologies that didn't make it. Call back when you have something promising.
Re: DNA still unbeat then
Please make a difference between states, members and permutations.
For example; a 2-member, 3-state system will allow for 9 permutations (AA, AB, AC, BA, BC, BB, CA, CB, CC).
The Human DNA doesn't have 10^600million members or states, it has a pool of 10^600million *possible permutations*. In other words, you cannot store 10^600million bits of information on a DNA strand, but you can store *one of* 10^600million permutations.
I can't remember what the number of actual "bits" are on a DNA, but since it is a four-state system (GATC) then it's probably X in the equation 4^X=10^600million.
Mind you, since it is a four-state bit (instead of a two-state bit), we can probably store two binary-bits per DNA-bits.
Boy, you really don't understand math
Erm, nature is rammed chock full of nanotechnology - it's where a lot of inspiration for manufactured stuff is coming from, particularly for locomotion.
Just because it's called a gene, flagella, enzyme, etc, instead of a reverse-gated-nano-flux-neutrometer, doesn't mean that it's not doing things at a molecular level....
Agreed, this sort of storage for an iPod seems ridiculous - that is until we've mastered city scaled holographic movies that we want to carry about with us. Imagine how ridiculous a Blu-ray disc would of seemed back in the days of 5 1/4" floppies..