Crystals In Gel For Computer Memory
Crystals in gel are being touted as computer memory storage devices by scientists at University of Edinburgh. Dr. Andy Alexander and his team have developed the technique, which could lead to memory storage at densities one hundred times greater than today's technology.
(Crystal nucleation using a supersaturated solution of KCl, formed in an agarose gel)
The development could allow users to store a terabyte of data in a space the size of a sugar cube within a decade.
This would be enough to hold the equivalent of 250,000 photographs or a million books.
The researchers overcame this difficulty by focusing two overlapping low-energy laser beams on a salt solution, providing exactly the right amount of energy to form a temporary crystal. Dr Andy Alexander, of the university's school of chemistry, who developed the technique, said it could be used to improve on traditional methods of optical data storage, such as CDs.
Compared with the flat two-dimensional surface of a CD, three-dimensional optical data storage uses many more layers, in which tiny crystals could act as storage points. Information would be recorded in a similar way as on CDs - by making marks in a pattern, which are read using light.
Such devices, which could be available within 10 years, would enable users to store, access and move around massive amounts of information easily.
Science fiction writers have been thinking about storing vast amounts of data in crystals for a long time. For example, in his 1961 book Return from the Stars, Stanislaw Lem wrote about crystal corn data storage crystals:
I spent the afternoon in a bookstore. There were no books in it. None had been printed for nearly half a century...
The bookstore resembled, instead, an electronic laboratory. The books were crystals with recorded contents...
From BBC; thanks to Fortigurn for the story and reference suggestions. Read more about the basic technique at Chemical and Engineering News and Alexander Group website.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 10/20/2009)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )
Related News Stories -
Twist Bioscience High Density Digital Data On DNA
'They tied the memory to the bloodline and that was their record!' - Barbara Humbly, 1982.
Store One Bit On One Atom
'...each individual molecule has a meaning.' - Robert Heinlein, 1951.
DataTraveler Ultimate Generation 2 Terabyte Flashdrive
'A man or woman could carry AIs or complete planetary data spheres...' - Dan Simmons, 1989.
Sandisk 1 Terabyte SD Memory Card Surfaces
'They should be Welton Fine-Grains, or they would be too bulky to ship...' - Robert Heinlein, 1973.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
LA Subway Scanner, As Seen In 'Total Recall'
'I'm afraid to tell you this Mr. Quaid, but you have suffered a schizoed embolism...'
Sion Electric Car Covered With Solar Panels
'It drew its power from six square yards of sunpower screens on its low curved roof.'
PAL-V Liberty Flying Helicopter Car
'...lifted themselves to skimming flight upon whirling helicopters."
Space Drones - UK's Effective Space To Launch Rocket Tugs
'Twenty rocket tugs towed it from its Earth hangar out into space.'
DIY Autonomous Robot Detects Trash
'The search-bug detached itself and rolled forward.'
Ancient Russian Walking Excavator Would Be Perfect RV
I don't need it to go fast, it just needs to amble along.
ELROI Satellite 'License Plate'
Robert Heinlein was thinking about this in 1941.
When Robots Beg For Their Lives
"Just what do you think you're doing... Dave.'
Do You Still Want A Folding Screen Phone?
'A paper thin polycarbon screen unfurled...'
'Snapchat Dysmorphia' Now A Thing, Say Plastic Surgeons
'The program raced up the screen one scan line at a time, subtly smoothing, deleting and coloring.'
Quiet Electric Cars Law Finalized By US Transportation Department
'... a sound tape to supply the noise'
Drone Assassin Fails To Kill Venezuelan President
'The spotter descends, and we think it searches the vicinity, looking for the victim's face...'
Stick-On Tape Speakers, As Predicted By Bruce Sterling
Flexible tape speakers, someday.
Bezos Invites You To New Life In Off-World Colonies
'A new life awaits you!'
Amazon's Rekognition System Sees Criminals In Congress
'... the imprint of her image on the telephoto cell.'
Build Your Own Space Suit For Cheap
'I'm going to pump the air from this room... so that the interior will be like airless and pressure-less space.'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories