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New data storage technique works like a nanoscale typewriter

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Research from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln has revealed a new data storage technique works a lot like a typewriter to store information more efficiently.

Flickr | typewriter
Flickr | typewriter

A research team from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln has discovered a new technique that could make storing data much more efficient — and it works a lot like a typewriter. Whereas typical data storage uses an electrical charge to actually change the properties of certain materials as a way to store information, physicist Alexei Gruverman and his team have discovered that mechanical force can work better. The process uses a tiny probe — it has a 10 nanometer radius, making it invisible to the naked eye — that puts pressure on these materials to leave an impression, much like how a typewriter leaves an impression on a piece of paper. It's hard enough that data can be written, but not so hard as to actually damage the materials. The team says that the process makes it possible to store data much more densely than with previous techniques, which potentially makes this more efficient — if it ever gets adopted. Right now Gruverman and his crew are looking to expand on the discovery by finding new applications for the technique.