The Tiny Limits of Storage

Just a month after a science fiction writer speculated on storage devices the size of a grain of sand comes news from the magazine Science of developments in magnetic anisotropy that could eventually be used to store information in individual atoms, paving the way to pack as much as 150 trillion bits of data per square inch, 1,000 times more than current data storage densities. In other words, the ability to store data in individual atoms could lead to devices capable of storing the equivalent of 30,000 movies in a device the size of an iPod.

The first paper describes a device for writing binary numbers onto a handful of atoms, or even individual atoms. The second suggests that switches could operate at the level of molecules.All hail to Cyrus F. Hirjibehedin, Chiung-Yuan Lin, Alexander F. Otte, Markus Ternes, Christopher P. Lutz, Barbara A. Jones, and Andreas J. Heinrich.

Somehow my Ipod seems clumsy.


  1. >> Storage devices of a size of grain of sand

    … will cause certain difficulties to forensics, to various intelligence and surveillance organizations.