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Local Tech Wire

RALEIGH, N.C. – A researcher at North Carolina State University has developed a computer chip that can store an unprecedented amount of data, officials announced Wednesday.

The new chip, which has enough memory to hold an entire library’s worth of information, comes from a breakthrough in the use of nanodots, or nanoscale magnets, said , the John C. Fan Distinguished Chair Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at N.C. State.

“We have created magnetic nanodots that store one bit of information on each nanodot, allowing us to store over 1 billion pages of information in a chip that is one square inch,” Narayan said in a statement.

The breakthrough is that the nanodots are made of single, defect-free crystals, creating magnetic sensors that are integrated into a semiconductor. The nanodots, which can be made uniformly as small as 6 nanometers in diameter, are oriented in the same way, allowing programmers to reliably read and write data to the chips.

The chips themselves can be manufactured cost-effectively, Narayan said, but researchers still need to develop magnetic packaging that will enable users to take advantage of the chips. He said laser technology might be able to effectively interact with the nanodots.