SODOM & GOMORRAH: By freezing atoms to close to absolute zero, researchers at IBM have been able to get individual atoms to store data.
For decades, magentic media has been king. By skrinking feature size, data storage professionals have been able to improve speed and storage. However you can only make your magentic atom clusters so small; it becomes very difficult to set the atoms without wiping out neighboring data.
IBM may have just found a solution. They have started using antoferromagnetism to store a bit in a feature that’s as small as six iron atoms large. This tiny feature is huge; it potentially allows for more data storage than the current technology could even dream of. The downside is that the iron atoms must be reduced to near zero temperatures. Absolute zero is a theoretical temperature that’s about -459.67 degrees Fahrenheit or -273.15 degrees Celsius. The atomic particles could get as “warm” as 5 Kelvin before the data disappeared.
Of course, special equipment would have to be used in order to read the data stored on such clusters. If researchers can gain atomic-level precision in a miniaturized device and if they’re able to get antiferromagnetic materials to retain their data at room temperatures (or build really cold data storage facilities), then computer storage is about to drop in price.