The Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE) claims to have boosted the data recording density of hard disks by up to six times that of current models. The increase is achieved via a new patterning method using sodium chloride (AKA table salt).
Conventional hard disks have a random smattering of nanoscopic magnetic grains of about 7-8 nanometers deposited on the surface of storage media.
The research team's head scientist Dr Joel Yang discovered that by adding sodium chloride to a developer solution used in existing lithography processes, he was able to produce highly defined nanostructures of a much smaller size.
This ‘salty developer solution’ allows the team to arrange the nanoscopic magnetic grains on the disks in a uniform pattern, boosting storage to 3.3 Terabit/in2. Consequently, a 2TB hard drive from today would be able to hold a mammoth 12TB of information using the new nanopatterning process.
"It’s like packing your clothes in your suitcase when you travel. The neater you pack them the more you can carry," explains Dr. Yang. "In the same way, [we have] used nanopatterning to closely pack more of the miniature structures that hold information in the form of bits, per unit area."
You can read the full IMRE report here.