IBM, epoch-making research: in an atom a bit of information

Researchers at the American company were able to shrink from 100,000 to 1 the atoms needed to store a bit of data

New storage systems are getting smaller and more capacious. Compared to a few years ago, a common USB flash drive can hold thousands of files in a small space. A group of researchers has managed to do something more: store a bit of data in an atom.

The amazing experiment was conducted in California by the IBM Almadem Laboratory and opens up new scenarios: the new technology in the future could allow to create storage devices with storage capacity greater than modern hard drives. And less and less bulky. Everything revolves around atoms. A normal HDD uses roughly 100,000 atoms to record one bit of information, research has shown how it is possible to shrink the number of atoms required to 1. This means that in the same space occupied by today's storage units you will have a storage density 1000 times greater.

The iTunes library in a credit card

To give a concrete example, the researchers claim that the new invention will make it possible to store the entire iTunes library, consisting of 35 million songs, in a storage device no bigger than a credit card. In a few years, thanks to the experiment of IBM's research group, we will be able to have computers, smartphones and other devices with smaller and smaller sizes. Although not in the short term, because for now there are no indications if the new discovery will ever be commercialized.

The hard drives of the future

What is certain is that the tests of Big Blue represent a further step towards different and more efficient storage systems. A few days ago, in fact, another group of researchers was able to store a French film from the late 1800s, an Amazon Gift Card and other information in DNA strands. IBM's research, however, is incredible: in a single atom, the researchers were able to store a bit of information, data that would normally require 100,000 particles of matter.