Michael E.Thomas, president of Colossal Storage Corporation once remarked: "In 1974, I was making 5 Megabyte disk packs – the biggest at that time in the world.

"At the same time, IBM, Burroughs, Honeywell, and other Computer professionals said no one would ever need that much storage."

Today organizations are constantly running out of storage space and grappling with ever increasing size requirements in data storage, writes Vanitha Vaidialingam for storage-biz.news.

It is predicted that magnetic storage technology will soon become obsolete and hard drives will reach their paramagnetic limit in a few years.

The search for newer and more efficient means of data storage has sparked extensive research into nanotechnology and its potential in the data storage space.

One such invention is the ferroelectric molecular optical storage nanotechnology by Thomas. Another is the recent breakthrough in self-assembling nanotech devices that provide user with amazing storage options.

Scientists from the University of California, Berkeley and University of Massachusetts Amherst have achieved a breakthrough in the creation of self-assembling nanotech blocks with immense potential to scale up indefinitely.

These blocks consist of tightly packed polymer chains that were previously considered impossibile.

Significantly, the polymer chains are different from each other and when bunched together, these molecules arrange themselves into a grid to form a block of co-polymer.

The team used sapphire crystal to create the vast fields of blocks.

The crystal does not break down when scaled up to form a large number of blocks.

The facets of the sapphire are cut and heat treated to facilitate the formation of nano-scale sawtooth ridges, which resolve the problem of scale as the copolymer is formed on these ridges.

The resultant arrangement of molecules can store electronic data as bits at the rate of 10 terabits per square inch or 1,250 gigabytes of data in an area that is only the size of a large postage stamp.

This represents a storage density that is more than 15 times the capacity that is available in the market today.

This technology is at a nascent stage but holds out promise. It is the first step in the direction of proving the hypothesis that it is possible to store large volumes of data in nano spaces.

This breakthrough is exciting and interesting as it will address many of the issues relating to the increasing storage requirements of the modern world where electronics is being inducted into different aspects of our life.

Conventional storage devices are proving inadequate and cumbersome.

Moreover, this breakthrough also has several other implications.

  • It will revolutionize the semiconductor chip processes.
  • It will bypass the minimum size limits for photolithography and enable the production of transistors and chip interconnectors that will reduce the demand for power hungry processor chips.
  • It may also enable the creation of energy efficient photovoltaic cells.

In other words nanotechnology will be an integral part of all future technology and gadgets and will be the power that operates them.

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