Researchers claim to have developed a molecule-sized switch which dramatically boosts storage capacity without the need to increase the physical size of players.
The technology could see 500,000GB crammed into a square inch microchip, allowing users to store hundreds of millions of video clips and music tracks on a single device, well in excess of the 40,000 songs on today's largest capacity players.
The breakthrough, undertaken with colleagues at Daresbury Laboratory in Warrington using a giant X-ray machine, could also transform storage on other consumer electronics, including DVD players.
"We have found a way to potentially increase the data storage capabilities in a radical way," said Professor Lee Cronin at the University of Glasgow.
"This is unprecedented and provides a route to produce new a molecule-based switch that can be easily manipulated using an electric field.
"The fact that these switches work on carbon means they could be embedded in plastic chips so silicon is not needed. The system becomes much more flexible both physically and technologically."
Glasgow University's Dr Vin Dhanak said that the team now faces the challenge of dealing with "fabrication issues".
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