Computerworld reports: IBM announced Thursday that after five years of work, its researchers have been able to reduce from about one million to 12 the number of atoms required to create a bit of data.
The breakthrough may someday allow data storage hardware manufacturers to produce products with capacities that are orders of magnitude greater than today’s hard disk and flash drives.
“Looking at this conservatively … instead of 1TB on a device you’d have 100TB to 150TB. Instead of being able to store all your songs on a drive, you’d be able to have all your videos on the device,” said Andreas Heinrich, IBM Research Staff Member and lead investigator on this project.
Today, storage devices use ferromagnetic materials where the spin of atoms are aligned or in the same direction.
The IBM researchers used an unconventional form of magnetism called antiferromagnetism, where atoms spin in opposite directions, allowing scientists to create an experimental atomic-scale magnet memory that is at least 100 times denser than today’s hard disk drives and solid-state memory chips.