Forbes reports researchers at the University of California, Berkeley and University of Massachusetts are working on a new nano storage technology that could theoretically fit 10.5 terabits (about 1.31TB) of data onto a surface the size of a quarter.
The secret to packing that much information on such small real estate--about 15 times denser than the densest data storage device currently in existence--is self-assembly, or tricking the disk's materials into organizing into an array of data-storing dots packed far tighter than what could be accomplished with current techniques.
The researchers report their work in the Feb. 20 issue of Science magazine.
Nanotechnology techniques such as self-assembling promise researchers an intriguing alternative to continuing to refine the most commonly used technique for building transistors on silicon computer chips, namely, optical lithography. Optical lithography techniques become increasingly problematic as engineers build tinier devices--the wavelength of the light used to cast patterns onto silicon is already bigger than the width of the devices engineers want to create.