Two scientists who put the 'nano' in iPod Nano have been awarded a 2007 Nobel Prize.

Albert Fert of France and Peter Gruenberg of Germany discovered the giant magnetoresistive effect, or spintronics, simultaneously and independently in 1988.

It uses the spin of the electron to store and transport information instead of the electrical charge, meaning much more information could be kept in a smaller space than before.

The technology allowed the development of handheld devices such as iPod music players and mobile phones that function like little computers.

Peter GruenbergPeter Gruenberg (left) is a leading researcher in thin film and multilayer magnetism at the Institute for Solid State Physics at the Juelich Research Centre (Forschungszentrum Juelich), one of the largest interdisciplinary research centres in Europe.

Albert FertAlbert Fert (right) is currently professor at University Paris-Sud in Orsay and scientific director of the Unité mixte de physique CNRS/Thales.

The two men will share the 10m Swedish crown (€1.09m) Nobel Physics prize and join the prestigious ranks of Albert Einstein, Marie Curie, and Niels Bohr.

The winner of the Nobel prize for chemistry will be announced tomorrow, followed by the literature prize on Thursday and peace on Friday.