Technewsday Tuesday – IBM Storage Goes Atomic

Welcome to a snowy Tuesday here in Canada, and what a perfect day it is to talk about some tech news!

In what I would professionally classify as “very cool, dude!” (the term’s a bit technical, I know), IBM has announced that they’ve discovered a way to store a 1 or a 0 in a single atom. Previously, “atomic storage” meant that the use of patterns of atoms to create readable data.

The science behind it is a bit beyond my expertise, but essentially IBM uses a scanning tunneling microscope (STM) to hit a Holmium atom with electrons, causing it to change spinning state. The spinning state can then be read by the STM, letting it represent a 1 or 0.

This level of storage opens up possibilities for the future, such as smaller drives or very high capacity drives. However, this is still in a very early stage. They have reportedly had trouble with thermal energy causing spontaneous loss or flipping of the spin.

They are still investigating different atoms, clusters of atoms, or small molecules for more stability, but either way we’re talking early stages of what could be a digital storage revolution.

The key there, of course, is “early stages”. I wouldn’t expect anything to come out of it any time soon, but still….the potential is there.

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