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back to article Big Blue boffins cram information onto a cool 12 atoms

Boffins at IBM Research's Almaden centre have stored one bit in 12 atoms - creating a memory that's 150 times denser than NAND flash. They used the anti-ferromagnetism phenomenon to order the 12 atoms in a stable group that retained its properties for several hours, and wasn't influenced by neighbouring groups. A byte needs 96 …

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If it's real. The first time back in the 90's was proven to be false.

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Sir

Are you referring to the IBM lettering in atoms that were manually arranged rather than by some process?

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Joke

Interesting stuff. I wonder if all that iron will makes the drives heavy, or prone to rust at all?

<-- look again in case you missed it.

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Boffin

No more so than you're used to

Make sure to give it a good scrub with steel wool once a year or so, just like you're used to doing with typical HDD platters today, and you'll be fine.

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M7S
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Does this make the data more vulnerable?

If a bit is stored on a correspondingly smaller number of atoms (assuming that this research leads to a product, although I note the delay suggested in the article) does this mean that that data could be corrupted by a weaker external force such as, for example, a magnetic field? I'm not suggesting that more atoms gives any kind of RAID type redundancy, but perhaps a larger group or atoms it might be less of a "moveable object" by comparison to the smaller group, or be able to lose a single atom without ill effect, the relative propotions being different.

Would that mean that any protective case might need therefore to be stronger/heavier to compensate for our increasingly EM-rich environment? Also in relationt this I have no idea if the casing around most HDDs functions as a Faraday cage. Perhaps an appropriately educated person could enlighten me on these questions.

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Impressive

... not the new technology, but the fact that existing, working, reliable tech is only a couple of orders of magnitude less dense than this exotic new stuff. I really am impressed.

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FAIL

Worlds smallest SSD

Boffin: "Great we've made this 4TB SSD that fits in a microsd housing."

Manager: "What's the pipes and industrial gas canister for?!"

Boffin: "Keep it cool, so it retains the data".

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WTF?

Another breakthrough in technology and you have marked it a fail?

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You seem to have missed his point

It's an interesting idea, but the parent's point is that it requires temperatures to be low enough to that it can't be maintained by any reasonable means.

Call it a "breakthrough" all you want, but until it's able to be done at room temperature rather then temperatures so low they do not naturally occur on earth it's not USEFUL.

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PAW

you're missing a bigger point

right, because basic research isn't useful unless it's packaged for retail.

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you missed...

... the room full of STM to store (and then read) the data. Or are STMs a bit smaller than they were when I did my PhD?

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This article has more detail:

http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/print/9223396/IBM_smashes_Moore_s_Law_cuts_bit_size_to_12_atoms

Apparently, room temperature will take about 150 atoms, compared with about 1 million currently. So it is still a worthwhile breakthrough.

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Good find...

What they fail to mention is the upper limit, yes at room temperature, but what about 85 C?? (Typical upper limit for PC parts)

i.e. if it gets too warm does it lose it's data?

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Joke

Hang on.

Aren't conventional disks ferromagnetic?

Wouldn't it be risky to use ferromagnetism and anti-ferromagnetism in the same machine?

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Not so long

as you keep them far apart.

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Ferromagnetism and Anti-ferromagnetism are not opposites

It's not like matter and anti-matter: they're more like different behaviours of a material - think of having an elastic material alongside a plastic material...

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Facepalm

It's going to be a tough job to keep the mainframe cool now... That's all I need, a room full of BOFHs inhaling helium just before they answer the helpdesk 'phone.

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Joke

While it won't work for you it'll do wonders when dealing with chipmunk fans :)

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Bah!

I liked the way the author of this piece filled out the space where the working temperature of the substrate was supposed to go with a side-discussion of freezing water and the startling introduction to the hitherto-unknown "Kelvin" scale.

I recall a similar ploy used by me on my mock O-Level English exam which involved a book I hadn't read enough of.

This excellent tactic was entirely successful in filling up the disturbing amount of white paper in the answer booklet.

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GBE

I too shook my head at the "Kelvin" stuff.

Yea, the bit about "Kelvins" was baffling.

First of all, the unit name in question is not capitalized.

Second of all, a temperature (regardless of how it's defined) can be

expressed in any number of units (e.g., kelvins, degrees Celsius,

degrees Farenheit, degrees Rankine). I presume there's an official

Reg unit of temperature, but memory fails me.

I think what the author was trying to say (and failed completely to do

so) was that the temperature is a really, really cold temperature. I

presume the meaningless blurb about kelvins was because for really,

really cold temperatures, one usually uses kelvins as the units since

that gives you smallish positive numbers, and people can think more

easily when dealing with smallish positive numbers.

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This post has been deleted by a moderator

At least amanfromMars

isn't political; that makes his screeds entertaining. Yours, I'm afraid, are merely tiresome.

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IT Angle

Brittle seems to have a thin shell

This has what to do with the article?

.....or are you just feeling like babbling and trying to be a troll?

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FAIL

RE:And, in other Boffinry News ...

I don;t think the Inquirer have many political ambitions above the usual sideways swiping of stupid laws, CEO, fanboys and maybe politicians. Your comments are off topic (you probably know this, seems a little Troll-ish) and are probably better served on the BBC News web site, the Guardian or if you need something a little simpler to understand you could try the Daily Mail.

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Anonymous Coward

Or the Telegraph?

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iran/9010007/An-informal-addition-to-the-laws-of-physics-dont-work-for-Iran.html

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MrT
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I think...

...this is where Moore's Law might hit the skids.

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Go

In the long term, who needs Earth

We're talking long-term here. Atomic manipulation in any form is pretty damn cool. As for this latest thing, it looks like our space habitats will have some killer storage. Oh, yeah, it goes into those nano-bots building the habitat.

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Why not

use it as a storage in datacenters, then put the datacenters in space?

You have the cooling needed from space, then power from the sun.

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Trollface

Re: Why not

Then knock up a quick Dyson Sphere while we're at it. Job done.

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Microwaved from spaced

The downlink would fry birds that flew through it...

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Boffin

Cooling in space

In think that cooling in space is a little problem, becuase of the good isolating properties of vaccumm.

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FAIL

In order to have solar power, you need sunlight

When a satellite is in sunlight the temperature is typically over +100degC, only in the shade is it cold. ~ -160c no numbers are provided to determine if this would be cold enough.

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@ Ravenviz

Would prefer a ringworld, as long as it's builders aren't around ...

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