Scientists successfully store high-density data with magnetic grains

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molecular data storage

University of Manchester scientists proved the molecular data storage of high volumes of data can effectively store in individual molecules.

This research leads to new, high-density data storage systems that potentially hold 25 terabytes of data per square inch. That’s around 25,000 gigabytes on something as small as a quarter.

Magnetism is the underlying force that most modern hard disk drives use to store data. Magnetic grains used to encode a single bit of data. These small magnetic grains flipped to either north or south to represent a 1 or a 0.

magnetic hysteresis

Scientists developing smaller data storage systems with single molecules not achieve magnetic hysteresis unless kept at high cold temperatures. The previous record for achieving magnetic hysteresis on a molecular level was -259 °C. The economics in creating a functional molecular data storage system at that temperature never practical.

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In new research scientists achieved magnetic hysteresis in individual molecules based an atom of the element dysprosium at -213 °C. This smashes the previous temperature benchmark and comes close to establishing a realistic affordable molecular data storage system.

“Here we are approaching the temperature of liquid nitrogen, which would mean data storage in single molecules becomes much more viable from an economic point of view,” says co-lead on the study Dr Nicholas Chilton.

The goal is to cross the -196 °C threshold which allows molecular data storage systems to cool by the much more affordable liquid nitrogen.

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Molecular data storage could potentially revolutionize the way major data centers around the store information. As well as offering up to 100 times higher data density that current technologies, the system theoretically much more energy efficient than traditional storage systems.

This kind of high cold temperature control means that the average consumer won’t be grabbing a molecular hard drive from their local office supply store anytime soon, but the potential for this research to dramatically effect big data storage is immense.

The Manchester team is confident it will crack the liquid nitrogen benchmark sometime in the future.

More information: [Nature]