A dramatic breakthrough in the density of bits on a platter has come through a small tweak in the process:
“The secret of the research lies in the use of an extremely high-resolution e-beam lithography process that produces super fine nano-sized structures. Dr Yang discovered that by adding sodium chloride to a developer solution used in existing lithography processes, he was able to produce highly defined nanostructures down to 4.5 nm half pitch, without the need for expensive equipment upgrades. This â€˜salty developer solutionâ€™ method was invented by Dr Yang when he was a graduate student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.”
This may push manufacturers to increase capacity and throughput of hard drives. The key point of this development is that it does not require new equipment, just a change in how they are used. That should give rapid uptake of the process. In any event, this should keep hard drives relevant for a few years longer while SSDs mature.