Table salt could be used to increase the capacity of hard drives from as much as 4 Tbytes today to more than 21 Tbytes, according to researchers at the Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE). The method involves the use of a very high-resolution e-beam lithography, which is the process used to create fine nanoscale circuitry. The researchers added sodium chloride to a developer solution used in lithography processes and were able to produce highly defined nanostructures that were as small as 4.5 nm, without using expensive equipment upgrades.
IMRE's Joel Yang developed the salty developer solution, and worked with researchers at the National University of Singapore and the Data Storage Institute to perfect the nanopatterning technique. "What we have shown is that bits can be patterned more densely together by reducing the number of processing steps," Yang says.
The team's packages of bits deposited on the surface of a platter are about 10 nm in size. The researchers hope to increase storage density even further.
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