How to Increase Your Hard Drive Capacity Six-Fold with Table Salt

Illustration for article titled How to Increase Your Hard Drive Capacity Six-Fold with Table Salt

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.

[Institute of Materials Research and Engineering via Physorg via]

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I love reading articles like this because of the "We can't possibly make it any better." immediately followed by "We just did."

While one day there may not be any more solutions like this an HDDs may finally hit a real wall, they will surely be replaced by something even better which currently "isn't possible" or "would never work", etc.