IBM says it has managed to store data on a single atom. The research, which was conducted at IBM’s Almaden lab in Silicon Valley, was published in scientific journal Nature on Wednesday. The finding could potentially change the way we store data in the future.
IBM’s research has found a way to magnetise individual atoms of the element holmium. The two poles of magnetism stand in for 1s and 0s. The holmium atoms are attached to a surface of magnesium oxide, which holds them in place at 5 kelvin, Quartz reports . The researches could then pass an electrical current through the holmium atoms, causing their poles to flip. The atom poles in their fixed state can then allow researchers to measure each atom as 1s or 0s using a single iron atom. This essentially replicates the writing and reading information on a magnetic hard drive.
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