IBM Researchers Store Data on Worlds Smallest Magnet – a Single Atom

IBM announced it has created the world’s smallest magnet using a single atom – and stored one bit of data on it. Currently, hard disk drives use about 100,000 atoms to store a single bit. The ability to read and write one bit on one atom creates new possibilities for developing significantly smaller and denser storage devices, that could someday, for example, enable storing the entire iTunes library of 35 million songs on a device the size of a credit card. Currently, hard disk drives use about 100,000 atoms to store a single bit. The ability to read and write one bit on one atom creates new possibilities for developing significantly smaller and denser storage devices that could someday, for example, enable storing the entire iTunes library of 35 million songs on a device the size of a credit card. The scientists used an IBM-invented, Nobel prize-winning scanning tunneling microscope to demonstrate technology that could someday store all the songs on the iTunes library on the area of a credit card, according to IBM.

The ability to read and write one bit on one atom may lead to developing significantly smaller and denser storage devices in future that can store the entire iTunes library of 35 million songs on a device.Scientists used a scanning tunneling microscope (STM) to build and measure isolated single-atom bits using the holmium atoms. An electrical current was used to write and read binary data (1s and 0s) on the atom.The invention can allow people and businesses to store 1,000 times more information in the same space and one day make data centers, computers and personal devices radically smaller and more powerful.

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