Current PC hard drives require more than a million atoms per bit, but researchers have now created a single memory storage bit using just 12 atoms
“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,” reads the press release.
The findings 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.
Andreas Heinrich, Physicist at IBM Research, explains more:
“The chip industry will continue its pursuit of incremental scaling in semiconductor technology but, as components continue to shrink, the march continues to the inevitable end point: the atom,” Heinrich says.
To put this new breakthrough into context, IBM says that the completed technology could allow for the storage of entire music and movie collections on a device as tiny as a charm on a necklace.