Researchers at IBM have successfully managed to store data onto one singular atom, a revolutionary breakthrough.
Innovation in technology has been driven by the want to make devices smaller. We see this with the power of computer chips increasing every 2 years without changing in size and mostly becoming smaller. However, data storage stagnated slightly. Not now with this innovation in data storage.
These researchers have successfully coded an atom with a binary value of 0 or 1. This is a huge leap in data storage and will change how we continue to store data in the next couple of years. This new technology could enable us to increase current hard-drive storage by 1000 times!
Th researchers were able to infuse 2 Holmium (a metal used in nuclear reactors due to its ability to absorb neutrons) atoms with separate values and connected them to make a tiny hard-drive. Most of the data in the world today has only been produced in the past 6 years. Atomic data storage could be a game changer in reducing the space and energy used in storing information.
If one were to enlarge this tiny hard-drive to the size of a business card, it would be possible to store a music library of 35 million songs. That is about 122.5 Terabytes.
To date, the smallest element to have stored data was a magnetic grain about 5 nanometres in size. A Holmium atom is about 0.2 nanometres in size. Researchers are planning to explore atomic data storage on other elements.
In the future, this atomic data storage could be used to power digital devices. The more would be generated by these atoms moving information. This shows that computers and smartphones can get even smaller.