Scientists at Singapore's Agency for Science Technology and Research have upped the storage densities of hard drives - with humble table salt.
Traditionally, hard disks use randomly distributed nanoscopic grains about seven to eight nanometres in size to hold data, with a cluster of a few tens of grains holding one bit.
But the scientists - led by Dr Joel Yang - were able to add table salt to the extremely high-resolution e-beam lithography process to make grains that could hold a single bit of data, while measuring 10 nanometres.
The salty solution
The result is a super-dense form of storage that could see huge hard drives manufactured using existing processes, with today's one terabyte drives holding six times as much data.
Referred to as the "salty developer solution", which sounds incredibly wrong, Dr Yang said: "What we have shown is that bits can be patterned more densely together by reducing the number of processing steps."
The scientists are currently working on increasing the storage density further.