Friday, October 23, 2009

NCSU creates fingernail-size chip that stores 1TB of Data - GO WOLFPACK!

BOOM! So I saw this article on today and thought I'd share.  According to this article at computerworld, NCSU engineers created a fingernail-sized 1TB data storage unit.


Excerpt from the article:
Computerworld - Engineers have created a new fingernail-size chip that can hold 1 trillion bytes (a terabyte) of data -- 50 times the capacity of today's best silicon-based chip technologies.
The engineers, from North Carolina State University, said their nanostructured Ni-MgO system can store up to 20 high-definition DVDs or 250 million pages of text, "far exceeding the storage capacities of today's computer memory systems."
The team of engineers was led by Jagdish "Jay" Narayan, director of the National Science Foundation Center for Advanced Materials and Smart Structures at the university.
The engineers made their breakthrough using the process of selective doping, in which an impurity is added to a material whose properties consequently change.
Working at the nanoscale, the engineers added metal nickel to magnesium oxide, a ceramic. The resulting material contained clusters of nickel atoms no bigger than 10 square nanometers -- a pinhead has a diameter of 1 million nanometers. The discovery represents a 90% size reduction compared with today's techniques, and an advancement that could boost computer storage capacity.
"Instead of making a chip that stores 20 gigabytes, you have one that can handle one terabyte, or 50 times more data," Narayan said in a press release.


"Most energy used today is harnessed through the movement of current and is limited by the amount of heat that it produces, but the energy created by the spinning of electrons produces no heat," the university state in a press release.
The engineers manipulated the nanomaterial so the electrons' spin within the material could be controlled, which could prove valuable to harnessing the electrons' energy. The finding could be important for engineers working to produce more efficient semiconductors.

Some stats about NCSU

National Science Foundation 
  • 4th in Industry Research Funding among universities without medical schools (2008) 
  • 9th in Total Research Expenditures Among Public Universities Without Medical Schools  (2006)
  • 25th in Graduate Students in Science and Engineering Fields in Doctorate-Granting Institutions (2006)
  • 33rd in Total Research Expenditures Among Public Universities (2006)

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