A group of US researchers have demonstrated a new technique for recording binary code information using individual hydrogen atoms. Storage devices made using this technology would pack up more than 1000 times more information than a hard drive or solid state drive, or 100 times more than a Blu-ray disc.
Ultra-high density storage devices are not an entirely new concept, but the technologies proposed so far have drawbacks that make them impractical for ordinary consumers, such as the need to maintain extreme temperatures
But the device inspired by the principle of operation of electronic microscopes uses a very narrow and narrow electron beam to detach or replace individual hydrogen atoms on the surface of a silicon substrate. Represented in binary code by the absence / presence of hydrogen atoms, the information can be read back using a sensor inspired by electronic microscopes, the resulting storage media having a theoretical density of 1.5 terabytes per inch. The resultant system does not require special ambiance conditions to operate, and data archived by this method should remain intact for at least 500 years.
For example, at the proposed storage density, a disk size of one coins can store approximately 45 million songs in MP3, or the entire collection hosted by iTunes.
Demonstrated at the experimental stage, the technology allows the reuse of the storage media, deleting and writing new information. Due to low energy consumption and ambient temperature operation, atomic storage technology could receive the necessary support for commercial-scale development as a replacement for existing flash storage solutions, hard disks, or optical discs