The folks at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands have created the most dense storage medium ever created.
They have developed a new type of storage medium that uses the positions of chlorine atoms as bits of data.
Lets take a look at how big of a deal this newly-developed atomic storage is.
How Does it Work?
The atomic storage allows us to store 1 KB of data in just 100 nanometers of space. If we upscale this atomic storage, this means that 62.5 Terabytes of data can be stored in just one square inch of space! This feat is possible because the atomic storage is 500 times more dense than conventional hard disk drives.
The technique scientists used to store the data involved a scanning tunneling microscope used to shuffle the chlorine atoms on a surface of copper atoms. This creates data blocks with markers quite similar to QR code that show the position of these atoms and their condition.
The Tech is Not Ready for Prime Time Yet
This technology is not ready to enter the mainstream market.
Currently this technology only works in very clean conditions and in extremely cold temperatures (77 Kelvin or -196.15 Celsius). These temperatures are not viable for usage in current computing systems, seeing as how temperatures on average stay above 40-50 degrees Celsius in servers under load.
Applications for Atomic Storage
The researchers say that it is only a matter of time until this type of storage is tailored to work at regular temperatures.
Once it works at regular temperatures with all the requirements that go with it (easy read and write procedures with enough speeds to allow everyday usage for example) you could see this tech in your phones, and even USB drives, etc. They might just be the revolution in storage media as 4K content and VR media becomes more common place.