Skip to comments.New Storage Device Is Very Small, at 12 Atoms
Posted on 01/15/2012 10:26:09 PM PST by neverdem
SAN JOSE, Calif. Researchers at I.B.M. have stored and retrieved digital 1s and 0s from an array of just 12 atoms, pushing the boundaries of the magnetic storage of information to the edge of what is possible.
The findings, being reported Thursday in the journal Science, could help lead to a new class of nanomaterials for a generation of memory chips and disk drives that will not only have greater capabilities than the current silicon-based computers but will consume significantly less power. And they may offer a new direction for research in quantum computing.
Magnetic materials are extremely useful and strategically important to many major economies, but there arent that many of them, said Shan X. Wang, director of the Center for Magnetic Nanotechnology at Stanford University. To make a brand new material is very intriguing and scientifically very important.
Until now, the most advanced magnetic storage systems have needed about one million atoms to store a digital 1 or 0. The new achievement is the product of a heated international race between elite physics laboratories to explore the properties of magnetic materials at a far smaller scale.
Last May, a group at the Institute of Applied Physics at the University of Hamburg in Germany reported on the ability to perform computer logic operations on an atomic level.
The group at I.B.M.s Almaden Research Center here, led by Andreas Heinrich, has now created the smallest possible unit of magnetic storage by painstakingly arranging two rows of six iron atoms on a surface of copper nitride.
Such closeness is possible because the cluster of atoms is antiferromagnetic a rare quality in which each atom in the array has an opposed magnetic orientation. (In common ferromagnetic materials like iron, nickel and cobalt, the atoms are magnetically aligned.)
Under the laboratorys...
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
This is so cool!
The Holy Grail of atomic physics is to replicate the collapse of atomic inner space. They do that without using a black hole, the amount of information that could be saved is almost infintesimal.
I almost lose jump drives, I think I would lose a 12 atom drive.
I guess so! No one’s done it yet, to my knowledge.
Are you trying to say it’s almost infinite, not infinitesimal, as the physical space needed to store a bit becomes smaller?
There would be some questions to answer, such as how reliable it is, how much extra equipment is needed to keep it in operating condition (e.g. super cold temperatures), and how fast it can be accessed.
The first 128 bit OS would be cool. It will probably be Linux.
It’s itsy-bitsy, teeny-weeny, really very small. And, oh yeah, probably the colder the better. That way the sub-atomic particles won’t move. Well, not move by very much.
Oh, look! It’s past my bedtime!
This is the first time I’ve ever IBM written as “I.B.M”. WTF?
I’ll wait for the 13 atom model to come out.
I’m glad I’m not the only one who was puzzled by that. Is this some sort of NY Times style guide nonsense?
I wonder how hard it is to corral and herd groups of 12 atoms, as compared to trying to herd cats.
If an atomic hard drive crashes, will there be nuclear fallout? How many city blocks will be leveled?
If the amount of data that could be saved is "infintesimal", does that mean we could only store one small bit that is so small it can't equate to anything but a zero and that there might not be enough data included to be sure?
Fun aside - it surely is "cool"!
A reminder of the days when IBM was International Business Machines?
Eighteen months later, the electron model will be announced.
Yes, everyone knows that. But Its never been written that way as long as I can remember. Likely it’s never been written that way by IBM either.
No, how do you find it in your pocket lint is the question???
Bill Gates: Why would anyone need more than 12 atoms of memory?
Sounds like we are well on the way to Nudged Quanta.
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