By Evan Ackerman
Having problems cramming those last few tracks of Blood Sledge Electric Death Chickens onto your iPod? Never fear, technology is here (almost), with some sort of molecular storage scheme dreamed up by a crazy (and most probably a little drunk) Scotsman named Lee Cronin at the University of Glasgow:
“What we have done is find a way to potentially increase the data storage capabilities in a radical way. We have been able to assemble a functional nanocluster that incorporates two electron donating groups, and position them precisely 0.32 nm apart so that they can form a totally new type of molecular switching device.
Molecule sized switches would lead to increasing data storage to say 4 Petabits per square inch… The fact these switches work on carbon means that they could be embedded in plastic chips so silicon is not needed and the system becomes much more flexible both physically and technologically.”
A storage density of 500,000 gigabytes per inch means that a device the size of an iPod shuffle would be able to store the entire iTunes music catalog. Fifteen times over. Playing non-stop, that amount of music would last you the rest of your life, even if you live to be about 700 years old. When can it be yours? Probably about 700 years from now, but until then, you can disappoint yourself with holographic storage instead.