Due to technical challenges, hard drive densities have not been exponentially increasing in recent years as much as they used to, and the threat of reaching that upper-limit is looming all too close. However, with a breakthrough HGST has just announced involving nanotechnology, a solution is right around the corner. Kind of. In this case, “around the corner” is about 7 years, or the “end of the decade”.
The method involves the use of two nanotechnologies; one part self-assembling molecules, and one part nanoimprinting. The molecules use hybrid polymers comprised of segments that repel each other. When applied as a thin film, these segments line up in perfect order. Once prepared, a “line-doubling” technique is used to split this line into two, and the result is then used as templates for nanoimprinting.
Because this technology creates repetitive patterns, it’s expected that it could be used for other types of storage as well, not only mechanical. We could very well see it employed outside of storage, although it might be a wee bit too sensitive for something like a computer processor.
Still, this is some impressive technology. It’s just unfortunate that it will be quite some time before we can get our hands on it!