IBM's 'Millipede' Project

Gina Miller writes "IBM reported using MEMS/NEMS technology to achieve a data storage density of a trillion bits per square inch. The research project, code-named "Millipede," uses an array of 1024 (32 x 32) silicon cantilever AFM tips in a 3-mm square to make indentations 10 nm in diameter in a thin polymer film. Bits are written by heating the cantilever to 400 C, which softens the polymer film, and read at 300 C, where the polymer is not soft. Data is erased by using the tip to surround the data pit with a series of overlapping pits that fill in the old pit. The authors achieved more than 100,000 write/overwrite cycles to demonstrate this capability. They are currently using electronics that achieve kilobit-per-second data rates with individual tips, but expect to do much better with better electronics. A technical report on the Millipede project published in the June 2002 inaugural issue of IEEE Transactions on Nanotechnology can be downloaded from the IBM page. Soooo, the big question for nanodot readers, could this AFM array be useful for molecular manufacturing?"

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