Trippy Breakthrough Combines Table Salt with Hard Drives

We'd sprinkle salt on ice cream if we thought it would improve the flavor the way it does with almost everything else on the planet. The fact that table salt isn't a food group does nothing to diminish our affection for this essential ingredient (sorry, doc), but did you know it also makes hard drives better?

As trippy as that sounds, Dr. Joel Yang from the Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE), a research institute of Singapore's Agency of Science, Technology, and Research (A*STAR), along with collaborators from the National University of Singapore (NUS) and the Data Storage Institute (DSI), came up with a way to increase HDD capacities six-fold using sodium chloride, the chemical grade of regular table salt. No joke.

The team used an "extremely high-resolution e-beam lithography process that produces super fine nano-sized structures." By adding sodium chloride to a developer solution used in existing lithography processes, Dr. Yang found that he was able to produce highly defined nanostructures down to 4.5nm half pitch. Best of all, his method doesn't require expensive equipment upgrades. Current technology uses grains of about 7-8nm in size deposited on the surface of storage media.


Salt beats pepper, every time.

"What we have shown is that bits can be patterned more densely together by reducing the number of processing steps," said Dr. Yang.

The eventual upshot to this breakthrough is that a 1TB drive could, in theory, hold up to 6TB of information in the same size using this new technology.
Comments
OptimusPrimeTime 3 years ago

*We'd sprinkle salt on ice cream if we thought it would improve the flavor the way it does with almost everything else on the planet.*

"Actually, Salt is used in home made Ice Cream. Tasty.  This breakthrough is awesome, technology just keeps on getting better and more interesting. Just who is going to make it first, Hard Drive with Lasers - heat-assisted magnetic recording (HAMR) or this, or both technologies combined."

*Salt beats pepper, every time.*

"Not at my favorite Pizza restaurant, no way."

RTietjens 3 years ago

So... WTF is "tablet salt?" You used the phrase twice. NaCl I know, as ordinary table salt, but what sort do you put on (or make into) tablets?

OptimusPrimeTime 3 years ago

[quote user="RTietjens"]

So... WTF is "tablet salt?" You used the phrase twice. NaCl I know, as ordinary table salt, but what sort do you put on (or make into) tablets?

[/quote]

"RoFL, Didn't see it at first, but caught before it was corrected"

CDeeter 3 years ago

Lol saw that too. Tablet salt is what people who can't afford a full sized table use :-)

realneil 3 years ago

[quote user="CDeeter"]Lol saw that too.[/quote]

We had plenty of Tablet Salt (Actual Salt Tablets) in dispensers on the walls, next to drinking fountains when I was a kid in school at Edwards Air Force base, in the Mojave Desert. Taking a Salt Tablet and drinking a few cups of water before you exerted yourself outside was their way of preventing you from getting heat stroke.

OptimusPrimeTime 3 years ago

[quote user="realneil"]Taking a Salt Tablet and drinking a few cups of water before you exerted yourself outside was their way of preventing you from getting heat stroke.[/quote]

"So this process will help Mechanical Hard drives run cooler and  tolerate more heat during strenuous access and reading in sub optimal conditions? That would be cool, and Even better for the Server market ."

realneil 3 years ago

[quote user="OptimusPrimeTime"]"So this process will help Mechanical Hard drives run cooler and  tolerate more heat during strenuous access and reading in sub optimal conditions? [/quote]

Who knows,....I like that they can improve HDD's with something as inexpensive as Table Salt. How far they take it in HDD development is up to them. One thing to consider is that Salt is a corrosive material. How will they keep it from reacting to the surface it's attached to?

AKwyn 3 years ago

Hmmm... Now if only they can figure out whether or not they can combine this method with the method TDK introduced earlier. It'd be cool if they did this but I doubt this because I don't know if sodium chloride and lasers would mix. (especially lasers that read and write data)

KreepyK 3 years ago

That's pretty cool! That means we should soon have storage for much less $/GB. And higher read/wright speeds at the same rpm.

I wonder how does that play with the laser technology TDK just announced.

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