Wow! So it’s just a starting point and you can only use it at temperatures of about -200 C, but this is just incredible
When Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press he changed the world.
Now a team of scientists in the Netherlands has taken this to the ultimate extreme. Through the manipulation of single atoms they have made the world’s smallest hard drive. It is so dense the technology could store all the world’s books on device the size of a postage stamp.
“It is as if we have invented the atomic-scale printing press,” lead researcher Sander Otte at Delft University told Gizmodo.
Using a scanning tunnelling microscope to push single atoms around, Associate Professor Otte’s team created a stable grid of 8000 chlorine atoms where each can represent the one (1) or zero (0) that make up binary digital data.
This means a storage density of 78 terabits per square centimetre, many hundreds of times greater than the best hard disks available.
IBM estimates that humanity is creating about 2.5 billion gigabytes of data a day – and that was in 2012. So the ability to store data efficiently is as a global challenge.
The researchers at Delft hope their research, published this week inNature Technology, will be a step towards dealing with this data management conundrum.
“In theory, this storage density would allow all books ever created by humans to be written on a single post stamp,” Professor Otte said.
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