A new adaptation of the scanning tunneling microscope (STM) presents the opportunity for a new era of data storage, say researchers at Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y. The idea grew out of the development of arrays of nanoprobes -- instead of the one tiny needle of conventional STMs. Nanoprobe arrays could store data by depositing small bumps made up of a few atoms, or perhaps even single atoms -- on a surface to represent binary bits. Placing such bumps 100 nanometers apart would allow storing up to 1.2 gigabytes of information on a square centimeter of surface, says researcher Scott A. Miller. By placing the bumps one nanometer apart, up to 12 terabytes could be stored in the same space, he adds.