Nanodots Breakthrough May Lead To 'A Library On One Chip'

Apr 28, 2010 by Matt Shipman

A researcher at North Carolina State University has developed a computer chip that can store an unprecedented amount of data - enough to hold an entire library's worth of information on a single chip. The new chip stems from a breakthrough in the use of nanodots, or nanoscale magnets, and represents a significant advance in computer-memory technology.

"We have created magnetic nanodots that store one bit of information on each nanodot, allowing us to store over one billion pages of information in a chip that is one square inch," says Dr. Jay Narayan, the John C. Fan Distinguished Chair Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at NC State and author of the research.

The breakthrough is that these nanodots are made of single, defect-free crystals, creating magnetic sensors that are integrated directly into a silicon . These nanodots, which can be made uniformly as small as six in diameter, are all precisely oriented in the same way - allowing programmers to reliably read and write data to the chips.

The chips themselves can be manufactured cost-effectively, but the next step is to develop magnetic packaging that will enable users to take advantage of the chips - using something, such as , that can effectively interact with the nanodots.

The research, which was funded by the National Science Foundation, was presented as an invited talk April 7 at the 2011 Materials Research Society Spring Meeting in San Francisco.

Explore further: A single molecule device for mobile phones

More information: “Self Assembly of epitaxial magnetic nanostructures”, Author: J. Narayan, North Carolina State University, Presented: April 7, 2010, 2011 MRS Spring Meeting, San Francisco.

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Nederluv
2.3 / 5 (6) Apr 28, 2010
Over one billion pages. That's quite meaningless to me..
ASCII uses 7 bits per character. 4472 a's on 1 Word-document page. 4472 * 7 = 31304 bits / 8 bits (1 byte) = 3913 bytes per page. Which is 3.913 kilobytes per page. 3.913 * 1 billion = 3.913.000.000 kilobytes. 3.913.000.000 kB / 1.000.000.000 (to make 1 TB) = 3.913 TB. I think (not an ICT type of guy, I can only surf the net).
So that would mean they can put 3.913 TB on a square inch. Which is 6.4516 square centimeters. Or approximately 606.5 GB per square centimeter for us modern, but completely broke (due to socialism) European dudes!
606.5 GB on a square centimeter sounds like quite a lot! My 500 GB HDD is much larger than that. Shame I won't be able to replace it with this, once this technology hits the market. Our government keeps taxing people with a job harder and harder. They need my money, because the socialist Greeks, Spanish and Portuguese keep eating our freshly sent bank notes...
Nemo
5 / 5 (2) Apr 28, 2010
Dunno about the economic references in that last comment but I agree a more conventional TB/sq cm figure would have been helpful.
3432682
1 / 5 (1) Apr 28, 2010
Nice breakthrough, outside the conventional box. Nice comments, too. Great tech doesn't matter much if big government eats everything.
winthrom
not rated yet Apr 28, 2010
Quantum dots can emit laser light and be controlled electronically. Might be a fit here.
bg1
not rated yet Apr 28, 2010
How exactly do you read/write repeatedly and reliably to these nandots?
joefarah
not rated yet Apr 28, 2010
A page is generally considered to be 2000 characters. So we're probably looking at 16 Tbits/sq in. or about 2.5Tbits/sq cm. The race will be to be able to effectively read/write these nanodots. Speed will ultimately determine application.
holoman
not rated yet Apr 28, 2010
A nanotechnology under proof also supported by NSF and DOE is:

Ferroelectric/Multiferroic densities of .2 to .5 Petabits = 200 to 500 Terabits sq. in. / 40 Petabits = 40,000 to 100 Petabits = 100,000 Terabits cu.cm. or 200,000 to 500,000 Gigabits sq.in. / 40,000,000 to 100,000,000 Gigabits cu.cm. with symmetrical read / write times of < 10 picoseconds for 100 year non-volatile storage having infinite rewrites. (Toshiba calculations)

3D Writing is done by laser diode and electric field while 3D reading is done with resonating rings.
akotlar
1 / 5 (1) Apr 29, 2010
What's the use of physically imprinting alpha numeric text on a chip. I imagine binary imprinting on a single layer is far more space efficient (and using tried and true pit/space approach allows for efficiently-accessed multi-layer recordings). Since this library-on-a-chip still needs dedicated hardware to read (and an understanding of the language), it makes far more sense to just stick with what we're doing now.

If the idea is to make a more permanent archive solution this is pointless unless they've chosen stone for the recording medium, in which case I wonder is human society has evolved in the wrong direction.

If the goal is to make a more "universally understood" archive, the binary system is again far more useful.

This is cool technology whose proof-of-concept was played up by reporters to drum up hits.
akotlar
Apr 29, 2010
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
jgelt
not rated yet Apr 29, 2010
Here's a little more detail-
http://www.nanowe...6034.php
gennoveus
not rated yet May 03, 2010
Our government keeps taxing people with a job harder and harder. They need my money, because the socialist Greeks, Spanish and Portuguese keep eating our freshly sent bank notes...


I know that has nothing do to with science, but what country is that?
CHollman82
1 / 5 (1) May 07, 2010
What's the use of physically imprinting alpha numeric text on a chip. I imagine binary imprinting on a single layer is far more space efficient (and using tried and true pit/space approach allows for efficiently-accessed multi-layer recordings). Since this library-on-a-chip still needs dedicated hardware to read (and an understanding of the language), it makes far more sense to just stick with what we're doing now.


What are you talking about?

It sounds like you took the "library on a chip" analogy literally... Were you making a joke or just being dense (no pun intended)?