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US boffin builds ultra-dense nanodot memory

With frikkin' lasers

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A US scientist has developed a way to store binary data on dots 6nm in size - possibly leading to a one-square-inch chip holding 2TB of data.

Jay Narayan is a materials science and engineering professor at North Carolina State University (NCSU) and works with nanodots, which are single crystals free of any defect. In a NCSU release Narayan said: "We have created magnetic nanodots that store one bit of information on each nanodot, allowing us to store over 1 billion pages of information in a chip that is one square inch [in size]."

His nanodots are magnetic sensors integrated into a semiconductor and can be made as small as 6nm in size using semiconductor manufacturing processes. The crystals are created during thin film growth by pulsed laser deposition. Reversals in their polarity can be used to signal binary ones and zeroes.

What does one billion pages of information mean? One inch equals 25,400,000 nanometers, so 4.23 million of Narayan's 6nm nanodots could fit into an inch. That means 17,921 billion of them could fit into a square inch chip. This is equivalent to 2.24TB of data - if it could be connected to something which could read and write data on it. So far there is no connectivity to the mooted chip, but Narayan supposes a laser method might be used.

His work is reported in a paper entitled Self Assembly of Epitaxial Magnetic Nanostructures, presented at the US Materials Research Society spring meeting earlier this month in San Francisco. ®

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