According to Michael Kozicki, a researcher at Arizona State University, nanotechnology is slated to replace current generation magnetic disk drives used in iPods and laptops within the next five to 10 years. The result would be storage devices that are more durable, lighter, and faster.
Kozicki says he's also working on changing the way we store data now, using nanowires instead of electrons in cells to hold the data. In this way, less energy and space is required for the capacitors. Layering memory using nanoionics can also increase the density of the storage.
... today, only one layer of memory can sit on a silicon chip. Using ionized metal that he creates through nanoionics, he's able to stack memory layers - two, four or maybe more - on top of each other, and those layers would sit on top of the silicon.
Additionally, multiple pieces of information could be stored in the same space that used to hold only one piece of data.
Traditionally, each cell holds one bit of information. However, instead of storing simply a 0 or a 1, that cell could hold a 00 or a 01. Kozicki said the ability to double capacity that way — without increasing the number of cells — has already been proven. Now researchers are working to see how many pieces of data can be held by a single cell.
Already, the use of flash memory in hard disk is a commercial reality, though not necessarily a wallet-friendly one. Still, the price of flash memory is dropping by the day.
With nanotechnology coming over the horizon, is the magnetic (aka Winchester) hard disk drive truly on the way out?
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Paul Mah is a writer and blogger who lives in Singapore, where he has worked for a number of years in various capacities within the IT industry. Paul enjoys tinkering with tech gadgets, smartphones, and networking devices.