Researchers start from a single atom to store data
Researchers at IBM have announced that they made progress in terms of magnetic memory storage, by taking a novel approach to theory of atomic behavior and quantum mechanics.
The team of scientists reportedly compressed one bit of data into just 12 atoms, compared to today’s drives which use about one million atoms to store a single bit of information.
Following this experiment, there is a scope of much denser form of magnetic memory than has been possible, through use of materials with different magnetic properties.
The BBC quoted Dr Will Branford from Imperial College London as saying this work shows that in principle data can be stored much more densely using antiferromagnetic bits.
The approach consisted of checking if they could store information into one atom, and if not, ‘how many’ they need.
The researchers kept building larger structures till they moved from quantum mechanical into classic data storage, reaching the limit of 12 atoms, where quantum effects did not play any role and one bit of information could be held together.
They subsequently made a byte of data storage from eight such 12-atom bits, the groups of atoms being kept at very low temperatures and arranged using scanning tunnelling microscope.
The traditional approach is to follow ‘incremental scaling’ while the latest move aims at starting with one atom to build computing devices, according to Andreas Heinrich, atomic storage researcher at IBM.