According to an article on ananova.com, CD’s may be replaced within 5 years by a new type of media; fingertip-sized memory chips that can store up to a gigabyte each.
Scientists at Princeton University teamed up with HP engineers to develop new methods to combine organic and inorganic materials, making use of “the discovery of a previously unknown property of a commonly-used conductive plastic coating.”
A report in the journal Nature described how the researchers identified a new property of a polymer called PEDOT.
PEDOT, which is clear and conducts electricity, has been used for years as an anti-static coating on photographic film. Researchers looked at ways of using PEDOT to store digital information. In the new memory card, data in the form of ones and zeroes would be represented by polymer pixels.
When information is recorded, higher voltages at certain points in the circuit grid would “blow” the PEDOT fuses at those points. As a result, data is permanently etched into the device. A blown fuse would from then on be read as a zero, while an unblown one that lets current pass through is read as a one.
Coming soon: How many terabytes can be stored on the head of a pin?