Scientists from the University of Glasgow in Scotland have developed a nanotech switch, the size of a molecule, which could herald the 500,000 GB iPod.
The scientists reckon that the breakthrough means an iPod could increase its capacity by no less than 150,000 times the current storage capability. Professor Lee Cronin and Dr Malcolm Kadodwala say that the 500,000 GB capacity will be possible on a single square inch, compare that to the current maximum for such a space of just 3.3 GB and you'll understand why people are getting excited.
If, as the Glasgow team believe, it means that the number of transistors per chip could increase from around 200 million to a theoretical billion and more, then that excitement is well justified. Imagine the devices that could be produced, and the functionality they would offer, if storage could increase by a factor of 150,000 without demanding an increase in physical size to accompany it.
Professor Lee Cronin says "What we have done is find a way to potentially increase the data storage capabilities in a radical way. We have been able to assemble a functional nanocluster that incorporates two electron donating groups, and position them precisely 0.32nm apart so that they can form a totally new type of molecular switching device. This is unprecedented and provides a route to produce new a molecule-based switch that can be easily manipulated using an electric field. By taking these nano-scale clusters, just a nanometer in size, and placing them onto a gold or carbon, we can control the switching ability. Not only is this a new type of switchable molecule, but by grafting the molecule on to metal (gold) or carbon means that we can potentially bridge the gap between traditional semiconductor devices and components for nanoscale plastic electronics."