Traditional hard drives are hitting a capacity wall—they simply can't physically fit any more data onto their discs. However, a researcher at the Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE) has discovered a way to significantly sextuple that capacity—using common table salt.
Current data storage technology relies on an unevenly-distributed cluster nanoscopic magnetic grains—each about 7 nanometers wide—to store a single bit of data, resulting in a maximum storage density of about 1 terabit per platter. By integrating Sodium Chloride (NaCl aka table salt) into the platters, researcher Dr. Joel Yang found that a single bit of information can instead be stored on a single 10 nm grain of salt rather than on the multiple-grain clusters, thereby increasing the potential storage density to 3.3TB/inch squared and the total capacity of a plate drive to 18 terabits.
Dr. Yang hopes to first further expand drive capacities to 6TB/sq in before aiming for a whopping 10TB/sq in solution—roughly 54 terabits of internal storage. Impressive, sure, but does anybody actually own 50TB of anything that isn't porn? I know I don't.