Monday July 18, 2016

Record-Setting Hard Drive Writes Information One Atom At A Time

An atomic-scale rewritable data-storage device capable of packing 500 terabits onto a single square inch is here. Chlorine atoms are manipulated on a copper surface to simulate binary switching, resulting in a one-of-a-kind hard drive.

This atomic hard drive, developed by Sander Otte and his colleagues at Delft University, features a storage density that’s 500 times larger than state-of-the-art hard disk drives. At 500 terabits per square inch, it has the potential to store the entire contents of the US Library of Congress in a 0.1-mm wide cube. The new system, described in the latest issue of Nature Nanotechnology, still requires considerable work before it’s ready for prime time, but it’s an important proof-of-principle that lays the groundwork for the development of useable atomic-scale data storage devices.