[Coco] Re: Totally OT: Terabit memory device
billcousert at yahoo.com
Sun Jul 18 16:22:06 EDT 2004
"John E. Malmberg" <wb8tyw at qsl.net> wrote in message
news:cdduqh$cqg$1 at sea.gmane.org...
> While apparently not the fabled cube, in a Jeff Harrow newsletter,
> either _The_Rapidly_Changing_Face_of_Computing_ or the _Harrow_Report_,
> sometime a few years ago told of a LAB that recorded several terabytes
> of data on a roll of standard cellophane tape, and was able to retrieve
> the data.
> It used lasers. I do not remember what the estimate was for a viable
> product, or the costs.
> I do not know of any Terabyte single disks out there. There are several
> vendors selling raid arrays that will simulate a Terabyte disk.
> wb8tyw at qsl.net
> Personal Opinion Only
IBM's Millipede project looks interesting. One terabit per square inch.
IBM's 'Millipede' Project Demonstrates Trillion-Bit Data
Store the equivalent oIBM Research News
f 25 DVDs on a surface the size of a postage stamp
Zurich/Switzerland, June 11, 2002 -- Using an innovative
nanotechnology, IBM scientists have demonstrated a data storage density of a
trillion bits per square inch -- 20 times higher than the densest magnetic
storage available today.
IBM achieved this remarkable density -- enough to store 25 million
printed textbook pages on a surface the size of a postage stamp -- in a
research project code-named "Millipede".
Rather than using traditional magnetic or electronic means to store
data, Millipede uses thousands of nano-sharp tips to punch indentations
representing individual bits into a thin plastic film. The result is akin to
a nanotech version of the venerable data processing 'punch card' developed
more than 110 years ago, but with two crucial differences: the 'Millipede'
technology is re-writeable (meaning it can be used over and over again), and
may be able to store more than 3 billion bits of data in the space occupied
by just one hole in a standard punch card.
Although this unique approach is smaller than today's traditional
technologies and can be operated at lower power, IBM scientists believe
still higher levels of storage density are possible. "Since a
nanometer-scale tip can address individual atoms, we anticipate further
improvements far beyond even this fantastic terabit milestone," said Nobel
laureate Gerd Binnig, an IBM Fellow and one of the drivers of the Millipede
project. "While current storage technologies may be approaching their
fundamental limits, this nanomechanical approach is potentially valid for a
thousand-fold increase in data storage density."
The terabit demonstration employed a single "nano-tip" making
indentations only 10 nanometers (millionth of a millimeter) in diameter --
each mark being 50,000 times smaller than the period at the end of this
sentence. While the concept has been proven with an experimental setup using
more than 1,000 tips, the research team is now building a prototype, due to
be completed early next year, which deploys more than 4,000 tips working
simultaneously over a 7 mm-square field. Such dimensions would enable a
complete high-capacity data storage system to be packed into the smallest
format used now for flash memory.
While flash memory is not expected to surpass 1-2 gigabytes of
capacity in the near term, Millipede technology could pack 10 - 15 gigabytes
of data into the same tiny format, without requiring more power for device
"The Millipede project could bring tremendous data capacity to mobile
devices such as personal digital assistants, cellular phones, and
multifunctional watches," says Peter Vettiger, Millipede project leader. "In
addition, we are also exploring the use of this concept in a variety of
other applications, such as large-area microscopic imaging, nanoscale
lithography or atomic and molecular manipulation."
The core of the Millipede project is a two-dimensional array of
v-shaped silicon cantilevers that are 0.5 micrometers thick and 70
micrometers long. At the end of each cantilever is a downward-pointing tip
less than 2 micrometers long. The current experimental setup contains a 3 mm
by 3 mm array of 1,024 (32 x32) cantilevers, which are created by silicon
surface micromachining. A sophisticated design ensures accurate leveling of
the tip array with respect to the storage medium and dampens vibrations and
external impulses. Time-multiplexed electronics, similar to that used in
DRAM chips, address each tip individually for parallel operation.
Electromagnetic actuation precisely moves the storage medium beneath the
array in both the x- and y-directions, enabling each tip to read and write
within its own storage field of 100 micrometers on a side. The short
distances to be covered help ensure low power consumption.
For the operation of the device -- i.e. reading, writing, erasing and
overwriting -- the tips are brought into contact with a thin polymer film
coating a silicon substrate only a few nanometers thick. Bits are written by
heating a resistor built into the cantilever to a temperature of typically
400 degrees Celsius. The hot tip softens the polymer and briefly sinks into
it, generating an indentation. For reading, the resistor is operated at
lower temperature, typically 300 degrees Celsius, which does not soften the
polymer. When the tip drops into an indentation, the resistor is cooled by
the resulting better heat transport, and a measurable change in resistance
To over-write data, the tip makes a series of offset pits that overlap
so closely their edges fill in the old pits, effectively erasing the
unwanted data. More than 100,000 write/over-write cycles have demonstrated
the re-write capability of this concept.
While current data rates of individual tips are limited to the
kilobits-per-second range, which amounts to a few megabits for an entire
array, faster electronics will allow the levers to be operated at
considerably higher rates. Initial nanomechanical experiments done at IBM's
Almaden Research Center showed that individual tips could support data rates
as high as 1 - 2 megabits per second.
Power consumption greatly depends on the data rate at which the device
is operated. When operated at data rates of a few megabits per second,
Millipede is expected to consume about 100 milliwatts, which is in the range
of flash memory technology and considerably below magnetic recording.
The 1,024-tip experiment achieved an areal density of 200 gigabits
(billion bits, Gb) per square inch, which translates to a potential capacity
of about 0.5 gigabytes (billion bytes, GB) in an area of 3 mm-square. The
next-generation Millipede prototype will have four times more tips: 4,096 in
a 7 mm-square (64 by 64) array.
The most recent technical report on the Millipede project is published
in the June 2002 inaugural issue of IEEE Transactions on Nanotechnology.
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