A 1 Terrabyte Coin

By Team Digit | Updated 5 Mar 2009
A 1 Terrabyte Coin
The 50GB you can fit on a Blu-Ray disk just isn’t enough for some people. There are people out there who just won’t stop till you can watch your favourite movies in HD off a grain of rice. Scientists from University of California at Berkeley and the University of Massachusetts Amherst, have found a way to make atoms as obedient as puppies, making them align perfectly over large distances, meaning for us, more storage in less space.
Not only does this have the potential to give us as much as “250 DVDs on a Coin sized surface”, but this also has some wonderful implication for microelectronics, solar cells, displays etc. In a breakthrough in research by Thomas Russell and Ting Xu, they managed to use a new process using sapphire crystals to guide the assembly of the polymer chains. Best of all this process doesn’t require very difficult to use components, in the words of Xu who is a Berkeley assistant professor in Chemistry and Materials Sciences and Engineering, “Every ingredient we use here is nothing special“. Russell is director of the Materials Research Science and Engineering Center at Amherst.

Using this process you can manufacture features as small as 3nm, which is a huge improvement over the current 45nm manufacturing process. They have managed to achieve capacities of 10Terrabits or 125GB per square inch, which is 15 times more than what we have today, without any manufacturing defects. This is the equivalent of fitting “250 DVDs” on a surface “the size of a U.S. quarter, which is 25.26 millimetres in diameter”.


According to Brookwood, the principal analyst at Insight64, "It's this kind of basic materials research that has created the opportunities that have made Silicon Valley and American manufacturing great”. The researchers say that if the industry is motivated enough, the technology can be commercialized in as little as ten years. We have come a long way since the invention of computers, but the journey is far from over, the future holds bright prospects. You only need to look at the ten years past, and you will realize what wonderful things, that we haven’t even thought of yet, lie ahead.

Team Digit
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