Individual molecules: Storage devices of the future

By James Plafke on January 24, 2013 at 12:45 pm

Storage is a very exciting thing these days: SSDs are increasing in capacity and becoming cheaper, hard drives are offering storage capacity that’s unprecedented at the consumer level, and recently, scientists have been able to store significant amounts of data using unusual mediums, such as strings of DNA and small groups of atoms. Now, scientists have managed to store data in individual molecules.

Using a new, still-experimental technology, researchers have managed to turn individual molecules into a storage medium. In theory, this molecular memory could increase current storage capacities by one thousand times over more conventional means.

Molecular memory isn’t an entirely new concept but there have always been significant hurdles, the first of which is no stranger to the computing world: cooling. Previously, molecular memory needed to be cooled to temperatures close to absolute zero — not exactly practical. However, a team led by Jagadeesh Moodera, a senior research scientist at MIT, has discovered a way to cool molecular memory using only temperatures approaching the freezing point of water — an easy-to-achieve temperature.

Read more: Individual molecules: Storage devices of the future | ExtremeTech.

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