Glasgow University’s Professor Lee Cronin told Register Hardware that the revolutionary process uses a molecule-sized switch which consists of two molybdenum(VI) oxide 'polyoxometalate' molecular nanoclusters positioned about 0.32nm - 32 millionths of a millimetre - apart within a metal oxide 'cage'.
He claimed that the switch can be used to manipulate electrical fields, allowing it to store data and have that information read back. By placing switches on a carbon or gold surface, up to 1bn transistors could be put onto a single chip – around five times the current limit.
Cronin said this explosion in storage capacity could be extended out past iPods, but admitted that it could be 20 years before consumer electronics are available that employ such storage methods to gain huge amounts of capacity.
Full details of the research - Reversible electron-transfer reactions within a nanoscale metal oxide cage mediated by metallic substrates - have been published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.