On the heels of other major news regarding biotech storage systems and new hard drive architectures that we have previously reported here on the National Net Hosting blog, there is another new impressive breakthrough on the atomic side of the spectrum. Researchers from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands have created the first rewritable data-storage device that is able to store information at the atomic level by representing single atoms as single bits of data.
The technology, detailed by Motherboard and first detailed in the current issue of Nature Nanotechnology, is reportedly capable of packing data at the mindboggling density of 500 terabytes per square inch. Theoretically, an atomic drive would therefore be able to store the entire contents of the US Library of Congress within a 0.1-mm-wide cube.
The researches also created a video explanation that does a surprisingly good job of explaining the mechanics of their discovery in layman’s terms.
Using chlorine atoms on a copper surface and a scanning tunneling microscope, the research team was able to build a prototype drive that provides rewritable information of 1 Kilobyte by using 8,000 atomic bits. That’s 500x denser than other existing data storage devices. It’s far from ready for consumer usage, but there is hope that this technology will make its way out of the lab and become one of the most useful ways to handle the massive data explosion that continues to gain speed over time as the world embraces digital communication more and more each day.