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Indian develops chip to contain entire library

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An Indian-American scientist has developed a computer chip that can store an unprecedented amount of data - enough to hold an entire library.

The new chip stems from a breakthrough in the use of nanodots, or nanoscale magnets, and represents a significant advance in computer-memory technology.

"We have created magnetic nanodots that store one bit of information on each nanodot, allowing us to store over one billion pages of information in a chip that is one square inch," says Jay Narayan, professor of Materials Science and Engineering at North Carolina State University (NCSU).

Narayan, a product of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur, conducted the study.

The breakthrough is that these nanodots are made of single, defect-free crystals, creating magnetic sensors that are integrated directly into a silicon electronic chip.

These nanodots, which can be made uniformly as small as six nanometres in diameter, are all precisely oriented in the same way - allowing programmers to reliably read and write data to the chips, an NCSU release said. A nanometre is the billionth of a metre.

The chips themselves can be manufactured cost-effectively but the next step is to develop magnetic packaging that will enable users to take advantage of the chips - using something, such as laser technology, that can effectively interact with the nanodots.

The research was presented at the Materials Research Society Spring Meeting in San Francisco.

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