Scientists from IBM Research labs have discovered chemical reactions which could eventually allow computer hard disks and other data-storage systems to store more than 100 times the data they can today.

The chemical reaction causes tiny magnetic materials to automatically arrange themselves into well-ordered arrays, and this allows for the large data-storage possibilities.

The reactions allow precise control over the size of each 'nano-particle', as well as the separate distance between them, according to the statement.

The nano-particles are about half the average size of the grains IBM used to store its record density of 35.3 billion bits per square inch in 1999. However, these new particles are also 10 times more uniform in size. The smaller size allows smaller data bits, and uniform particle size permits smaller data bits to be detected easily and accurately.

Eventually, IBM hopes the technology will allow one data bit to be stored on one grain of magnetic material, instead of the 1,000 grains needed today. More information about IBM Research’s nanotechnology projects can be found on the company’s research site.