It’s incredible! Atom-scale storage can hold up to 62TB in a square inch

    Last Updated: 20 July, 2016
    atomic-scale

    A huge breakthrough in storage tech as the researchers in Netherlands has developed a new storage technique capable of storing the entire contents of the US Library of Congress in a 0.1-mm cube smaller than a dust mite.

    A group of nonscientists head by Sander Otte at the Delft University of Technology has unveiled an atomic-scale rewritable data storage device that uses chlorine atom positions as data bits, that stores 1KB of information into an area just 100 nanometers wide. If it doesn’t sound better, let’s put in another way, this atomic hard drive can hold a whopping 62.5TB of data per square inch – that’s 500 times larger than the best hard drives.

    Otte says the method could theoretically fit every book ever written onto a flat copper sheet the size of a postage stamp.

    Here’s how it works:

    Scientists formed a checkerboard by combing chlorine atoms onto a cold grid of copper forming perfect squares. If any square misses a chlorine atom, a dark hole is seen on the checkerboard. Then they shuffle chlorine atoms on the grid using a scanning tunnelling microscope, thus creating data blocks. A blank space followed by a chlorine atom is a 0, while the reverse is a 1. Using this method, Otte can store any digital information, be it lines from a speech or small segments of computer code.

    However, this technology isn’t ready for general usage, as it only works in extremely clean and hyper-cold (-346F) environments. At -320 Fahrenheit, the research team was able to store one of their 1-kilobyte records for about two days with no errors. And rewriting one of the copper plates is as simple as just moving around the chlorine atoms to form new combinations of ones and zeroes.

    The only setback to Otte’s method is that is a slow process and a dense way to store data. Reading and writing data on copper clocks takes ample amount time and the scientists are investigating new methods to speed up the reading and writing process. When this method works in normal conditions, your phone could have massive storage capacities. It’s about matter of time that it could happen in real time.

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