IBM Researchers proved “single atom can stores one bit of data”

By TechNadu Staff / March 14, 2017

IBM researchers team created the world's smallest magnet using one holmium atom. Their goal is to understand the happenings of technology shrink to the most fundamental extreme - the atomic scale and develop a credit-card sized drive, capable of storing the entire iTunes music library of 35 million songs.

In the fast-moving world with the fastest development in technologies, IBM's single atom to store and read data will become a massive success. “Current tech depends on the hard drives that use up to 1,00,000 atoms to store one bit of data”, according to IBM.

In their publication on 8th March in the journal "Nature", they described how to fit the data onto a single atom. This atom was created using Scanning Tunnelling Microscope (STM) developed by IBM, which won the 1986 Noble Prize in Physics, to create, view and move holmium atoms.

Since it uses an electron microscope, the entire technique is extremely expensive. IBM's approach developed at its Almaden research lab that stores 1,000 times of information as in the same space as existing technologies and will lead to the creation of smaller hard drives with vast storage.

This storage system uses the element Holmium placed on a surface of magnesium oxide, to keep the magnetic poles of the atom stable. They used electric current to flip the atom's orientation to write 1 or 0 and read the data by measuring the atom's electromagnetic properties.

We can "rewrite" the data by flipping the atoms into the opposite orientation and freezing them in place. Although IBM's atom stored data for few hours of the experiment, but the real-world storage would be for years.

IBM proved to store and read the data from a single atom. “This work is not product development, but rather it is basic research intended to develop tools and understanding of what happens as we miniaturize devices down toward the ultimate limit of an individual atom,” Lutz told CNET.

For a better user experience we recommend using a more modern browser. We support the latest version of the following browsers: For a better user experience we recommend using the latest version of the following browsers: