Indian Engineers Create Fingernail-size Chip of 1TB

Date:   Tuesday , November 17, 2009

Flattered by the 20GB chips? A prototype designed by a team of Indian engineers will unleash a nano chip, which will hold 1TB of data. With 50 times more capacity, the nano-structured chip named Ni-MgO can store up to 20 high-definition DVDs or 250 million pages of text.

The team used the process of selective doping at a nano scale, in which an impurity is added to a material whose properties consequently change. In this case, they added the metal nickel to magnesium oxide, a ceramic. The team is led by Jagdish ‘Jay’ Narayan, Director of the National Science Foundation Center for Advanced Materials and Smart Structures at the North Carolina State University. The engineers have made an apt use of nanodot, a technology that facilitates storing over one hundred times more data than today’s hard drives. The idea is to control the orientation of each nanodot, because any information that one stores in it has to be read quickly and exactly the same way.

The nano chip will not take decades to let consumers relish the advantages of the idea, which would revolutionize the computer storage capacity. “We haven’t scaled up our prototype but we don’t think it should cost a lot more to do this commercially in a year or two. The key is to find someone to start on the large-scale manufacturing process,” Narayan explains.

The Indian engineers are not isolated in the memory storage systems, as more researchers are pouncing on the development of the sphere. A technique using carbon nanotubes for storing data that could potentially last more than a billion years, thereby improving on the lifespan of storage, may make its appearance soon.