Linked by weildish on Tue 9th Dec 2008 16:49 UTC
In an almost indiscernible and confusing article filled with various scientific terms that most cringe to hear, it was described how in October of 2008 scientists successfully stored and retrieved data on the nucleus of an atom-- and all for two short lived seconds. With this new type of storage, a traditional bit can now be both zero and one at the same time, but in order to understand just how this is possible, translate the article linked above to plain English. Data integrity returns after two seconds at 90% and storage is obviously impermanent, so there are many kinks to work out before atomic storage actually serves a purpose, but give these scientists a couple of decades, and it's theoretical that we'll one day have nuclear drives the size of USB drives today (or MicroSD cards, or why not even specs of dust?) that can hold hundreds of terabytes-- even pentabytes-- of information.
Awesome, but not the best way...
by looncraz on Wed 10th Dec 2008 19:19 UTC

Member since:
2005-07-24

In fact, IMHO, the best is with altering the bonding angles of molecules. The treat here is that without some force acting to cause change, the state remains valid forever.

Another trick would be to combine both methods, storing a radical charge spike in the nucleus of an atom, with the bonding angle of the molecules being an immediate ECC function. Of course, we need to find out which molecule(s) will act the way we want ( hint: 1 hydrogen w/ 1 deuterium ( hydrogen isotope w/ a neutron ).

The bonding would require/could hold a free radical electron to help stabilize the molecule ( or it can be done with pressure ). The bonding angle of a two-atom molecule is not very easy to determine, adding another atom makes it easy ( like,say, heavy water (HO + deuterium ) ). With this, an extreme bonding angle would show that all bits are "on," and a very shallow angle would say they are "off". The ranges will be more or less exact, within probability. To overcome probability's limits, you can test the residual charge in the nucleus - while the device has power, and while that charge is still significant enough to be measured.

A proper configuration for stability would require, naturally, a perfect substrate - but also an active layer above the storage layer to keep the free radical electrons tunneling back into their correct places. I think magnets could be used for this, but you would need to be able to create holes&tunnels in the magnets so that the radical electron can travel to the correct place, and be accelerated properly.

This will happen, in one form or another, in the next 10 years or less ( double that for time to market ). All I can say - I *LOVE* nano technology! Heck, it ain't like we are actually doing anything that different from what we are already doing - we could use the rather simple bonding angle method and see amazing storage abilities.

I can't wait for the NextBigThing(TM) after all this, though: imagine something like a field-constrained proton with a powerful electron attraction - prevent one of those bits from being on, and you can calculate rather accurately ( probability clouds ) which position is missing :-) Not sure how long that would hold up, though - I don't have the equipment needed to test such a thing :-(

--The loon