While Toshiba researchers announced a breakthrough that will lead to HDDs with a storage density of 2.5 terabits per square inch, researchers at Tohoku University in Japan have created an experimental ferroelectric data storage method that is capable of recording data at a density of 4 terabits per square inch:
The data-recording device scans a tiny cantilever tip that rides in contact with the surface of a ferroelectric material. To write data, an electric pulse is sent through the tip, changing the electric polarization and nonlinear dielectric constant of a tiny circular spot in the substrate beneath. To read data, the same tip detects the variations in nonlinear dielectric constant in the altered regions.
"We expect this ferroelectric data storage system to be a candidate to succeed magnetic hard disk drives or flash memory, at least in applications for which extremely high data density and small physical volume is required," said Dr. Yasuo Cho.