June 11, 2002 — IBM researchers said they have demonstrated the ability to store 25 million printed textbook pages on a surface the size of a postage stamp using small tech.
IBM achieved the milestone — which it says is 20 times higher than the densest magnetic storage available today — through its Millipede project.
The project, a collaboration between scientists at IBM’s Zurich Research Laboratory and three U.S.-based IBM labs, aims to cram more than 500 gigabits onto a single square inch of very thin organic plastic by using atomic force microscopes to feel across nanoscale bumps and indentations. The Millipede read/write head is studded with 1,000 AFM probes etched out of silicon onto a MEMS chip.
IBM said potential applications include personal digital assistants, mobile phones and multifunctional watches. Researchers also are exploring the technology’s use in microscopic imaging, nanoscale lithography or atomic and molecular manipulation.