A new discovery may open the way for the development of next generation data storage devices with capacities of up to 10 terabits (10 trillion bits) per square inch. An ultra-smooth surface may be the answer, according to a discovery by the researchers from Agency for Science, Technology and Research’s (ASTAR) Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE) and the National University of Singapore (NUS), reports the journal Nature.

The self-assembly technique is one of the simplest and cheapest high-volume methods for creating uniform, densely-packed nanostructures that could potentially help store data, according to an ASTAR statement. However, attempts to employ self-assembly on different surface types, such as magnetic media used for data storage, have shown varying and erratic results to date. This phenomenon has continued to puzzle industry researchers and scientists globally. The researchers have now solved this mystery and identified that the smoother the surface, the more efficient the self-assembly of nanostructures .

The method can now be used on more surfaces. A height close to 10 atoms, or 10 angstroms, is all it takes to make or break self-assembly,” said M.S.M. Saifullah, one of the key researchers.

More In: Sci-Tech