Digital Tbucket Tank (DTT)

Computer storage at the individual atom level

The engineers at the University of Texas at Austin have developed the smallest data storage device yet. The study, the results of which were recently published in Nature Nanotechnology ( published is based on a discovery made two years ago when a record-breaking thinner device called the "atomizer" was built to store information. In this new work, the scientists have further reduced the size and reduced the cross-sectional area to just one square nanometer.

Image source: Pixabay

The device belongs to the category of Memristors, a popular data recording technology research area that deals with electrical components, with the ability to change the resistance between two ports without the need for a third port in the middle, i.e. the gateway. That means they can be smaller than known computer memories. The latest version, developed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, promises a capacity of around 25 terabits per square centimeter, which is a hundred times higher storage density per layer than the flash memory devices available on the market.

"When a single additional metal atom penetrates the nanoscale hole in a layer and fills it, it gives the material some of its own conductivity, and this leads to a change in the properties or the effect of data storage," explains Research Director Deji Akinwande the new Idea. "The holy grail of science is a descent to a level where a single atom controls memory function, and that's what we've achieved in our new research. Researchers have used molybdenum disulfide (MoS 2) to create a record breaking memory device build, but they believe their discoveries can be applied to hundreds of similar materials with layers close to an atom thick.