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IBM Finds Novel Way Of Storing Data On An Atom

9 March 2017, 9:30 pm EST By Andrew Norman Tech Times
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IBM has managed to do the unthinkable. The company has been successful in storing one bit of data on a single atom, which may in the future revolutionize the way data is stored in devices.  ( Patrick Finnegan | Flickr )

One of the most important aspects of any electronic technology being developed in today's world is the size. Companies are constantly coming up with new ways to make sure that these equipments are as tiny as possible so that it may be crammed inside hand-held devices such as smartphones and tablets.

It seems that in this race of technological advancement, IBM has managed to deliver a product which has never been seen before.

The company has been successful in finding a way of storing data on one single atom. To put this achievement into perspective, you should note that it takes 100,000 atoms to record just one bit (which is a 1 or 0) of data in the current hard drives available in markets.

IBM has reduced that number to one bit stored on one atom.

The Research

The technology was developed in the Almaden research lab, where the scientists placed a single atom of the element Holmium and placed it on magnesium oxide surface. A electric charge was then added into the mix which changes the atoms orientation one way or the other, depending on whether to imprint 0 or 1.

The data was then read by interpreting the atom's electromagnetic properties.

How Can This Technology Be Utilized?

This innovative technique could in the future allow people to store huge amounts of data in device which me be the size of a penny. IBM revealed that a person could store Apple's entire music collection of 26 million songs on a device the size of a penny, if this technology was to be used.

It may also be possible to store all personal data in smartwatches, which would eradicate the use of larger devices that are utilized currently, thanks to this technology.

Another viable path that this innovation could probably take is for the development of artificial intelligence (AI), which is known to require huge amounts of data storage to function properly.

When Will The Technology Be Commercialized?

Even though the research has garnered favorable results, there are numerous points which need to be studied further and so the scientists at IBM claim that it may take a long while for it to be mass produced and used inside technological equipments.

"This work is not product development, but rather it is basic research intended to develop tools and understanding of what happens as we miniaturize devices down toward the ultimate limit of individual atom," stated Chris Lutz, a researcher at IBM, clearly indicating that fine tuning is required before it can be used in products.

However, it cannot be denied that this innovation from the company is sure to leave its mark on technological developments of the near future.

The study has been published in the journal, Nature.

Photo: Patrick Finnegan | Flickr

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