You see, in this case, those tips that are forming and reading the
depressions are very, very small. Atomically small. They’re actually
the tips of Atomic Force Microscopes, and they can form and read
depressions so small (10 nanometers in diameter), and so close together,
that this thermomechanical storage technique can store hundreds of
gigabits/square inch — perhaps as much as one terabit/square inch!
Which is well beyond the (currently) anticipated magnetic recording
limit of perhaps 150 gigabits/square inch (see below). Another way to
look at this is that “about three billion of [these depressions”> fit in
a punch card hole.” (http://www.reuters.com/news_article.jhtml?type=
According to an AP article brought to our attention by reader R. Gautier
prototype can already store the text of 25 million pages on the surface
of a postage stamp! That’s 20-times the density of today’s common disk
drives. And this is just the prototype…
This isn’t the death knell for traditional magnetic disk drives — the
read/write speed of Millipede appears (at this time) to be far slower,
and so its initial implementation may be to vastly increase the amount
of memory in portable devices. Imagine, if you will, that if this
technology increases its storage capacity at anything like the “Moore’s
Law-plus” rate of current storage increases, we could have portable
digital devices that might NEVER run out of room for storing pictures,
audio, video, and more.
Which would change a lot of rules.
Copyright (c) 2001-2002, Jeffrey R. Harrow. All rights reserved.