Create the first hard disk that stores the information atom by atom

Find new ways to store much information as possible is a race with many variants. Microsoft demonstrates with synthetic DNA, the University of Southampton with a 5D process and now a group of researchers from the University of Delft (Netherlands) with the support of the international Iberian nanotechnology Institute created the first hard disk that stores the information atom by atom.

stores information atom by atom

With this atomic system it has become possible to create a kilobyte memory where each of the 8,000 bits capacity is represented by a single position chlorine atom. This technology allows you to record, read and re-write data with a density 500 times higher than those of a conventional hard drive (would have succeeded to store 80 terabits per square centimeter).

“In theory, this storage density would write all the books created by humanity in a postage stamp”, says Sander Otte, leader of the research whose results were published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.

To achieve this density memory has been created on a copper surface in which have placed a large amount of chlorine atoms, so that almost no gaps between them and one can move between two positions that are interpreted in binary form (1 or 0). To move or remove and replace one atom used a scanning tunneling microscope (STM), an instrument of 1981 which serves to image surfaces at the atomic level.

But this technology still has a long way to reach the current hard disks. Right now only it works under vacuum conditions and -196 degrees Celsius, the temperature of liquid nitrogen. “Data storage at the atomic scale is still a little far, but with this achievement we have taken a big step”, said Otte.