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Nanowires store data for 100,000 years and read 1000 times faster than current data storage methods

With all the fuss about solid-state drives ever since CES 2007 -- centering on faster boot times and reducing random access times in accessing data stored on a solid-state memory module -- it is still only a matter of time until the next big discovery makes SSD technology obsolete.

A researcher at the University of Pennsylvania named Ritesh Agarwal and his colleagues have developed nanowires capable of storing computer data for 100,000 years and retrieving data 1000 times faster than current storage systems.

The nanowire technology also consumes less energy and requires less space than current memory technologies. “This new form of memory has the potential to revolutionize the way we share information, transfer data and even download entertainment," said Agarwal.

The technology is based on a self-assembling nanowire of germanium antimony telluride, which is a phase-changing material that switches between amorphous and crystalline structures -- the key to read/write memory. Agarwal also claims in tests the data writing, erasing and retrieval process lasted a mere 50 nanoseconds and consumes only 0.7 mW of electricity per bit.

The technology is said to be scalable to the terabit-level. At this time, there is no way to know when or if this technology will ever see mass production and ultimately replace current forms of flash and magnetic storage in computers.





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