At a materials research conference starting next week, Hitachi is expected to reveal what could be the next major breakthrough in the world of mechanical storage.
The research team - which has been working in collaboration with Japan's New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organisation (NEDO) - makes use of the self-arranging properties of certain polymers. As a result, they have successfully developed an ultra-high density patterning technology that allows accurate magnetic structures to be formed at a scale of less than 10nm.
This could lead to a massive jump in storage density from around 500Gb per-square-inch on current high-end drives to around 3.9Tb per-square-inch - an eight-fold increase - using a drive that is otherwise very similar. This would translate to 3.5in drives with capacities of up to 24TB and 2.5in drives with capacities of close to 8TB.
Obviously this sort of increase wouldn't come straight away, but it does mean that the technology will be able to satisfy our high-capacity storage needs for quite a few years to come.
Since it's only just being presented at a conference, this technology is unlikely to make it into commercial drives anytime soon, although it isn't clear how far along the research is. Nonetheless, it's sure to tide us over until we can get our hands on fancy quantum hard-drives.