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Atomic Memory

In Pictures: Upcoming Technologies We Want Right Now
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Atomic Memory

Atomic Memory

Imagine if you could store a bit of data--binary zero or binary one--on one individual atom. Now imagine a grain of sand composed of trillions of binary bits of information stored on each atom--a definite far cry from using millions of atoms just to store one bit of data. The idea of atomic memory has been around since the late 1950s, while scientists have been able to move closer to atomic storage during the past 10 years. By 2001, scientists were able to store one bit of data on a single atom, but it had to be shielded from its neighboring atoms by placing it within a five-by-four cell of atoms. The end result took 20 atoms to secure one bit of data. Close, but not the 1:1 ratio scientists eventually want to achieve.

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