New molecules could bring super-dense, solid-state hard disk alternatives
Researchers have discovered a better way to store data in individual molecules
IDG News Service - A recent breakthrough in storage research may someday produce a new type of solid-state device that can be used like a hard disk drive and holds 1,000 times as much data.
An international team of researchers led by a Massachusetts Institute of Technology scientist has discovered a new way of making molecular memory, which stores data in individual molecules. That breakthrough could help the technology graduate from labs to data centers and drive down its manufacturing costs.
The key to the discovery is a new molecule developed by chemists at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) in Kolkata. It allowed researchers to build magnetic memory with fewer layers of material, making it thinner, less expensive, and more usable at normal temperatures. The reward for consumers and enterprises could be storage that holds 1,000TB per square inch.
Storage devices based on the new discovery probably won't go on sale within five years, though they may arrive within a decade, said MIT's Jagadeesh Moodera, who led the research. The findings, published on Wednesday on the online edition of the journal Nature, should spawn many more projects to develop more such chemicals and refine memory designs, he said.
"Now we know, to some extent, which direction to go," Moodera said.
Molecular memory stores data in special molecules, using the magnetic states of individual molecules to represent the ones and zeroes of binary data. This technique can store data in less space per bit than current hard disk drives use.
Previous experimental devices for molecular memory sandwiched the layer of molecules used for storage, called the insulator, between two magnetically charged layers called ferromagnetic electrodes. Changing the relative magnetic orientations of these electrodes changes the conductivity of molecules in the middle, and the two states of conductivity can represent ones and zeroes.
The IISER researchers developed a new kind of molecule and discovered its conductivity could be changed with just one ferromagnetic electrode. That meant the other layer could be an ordinary metal electrode.
The metal electrode is less expensive to make than a ferromagnetic one, but it also can detect the changes in state of the individual storage molecules. As a result, it could take the place of the sensors that are now used on the tips of hard-drive arms to read the bits on a disk, Moodera said. The resulting storage device would have no moving parts but would still have the long "write life" of a hard drive, he said. Write life, or the number of times new data can be written to a storage device, typically is much higher for hard disk drives than for today's flash storage. That's one factor that has held back solid-state storage in some enterprises.
- 15 Non-Certified IT Skills Growing in Demand
- How 19 Tech Titans Target Healthcare
- Twitter Suffering From Growing Pains (and Facebook Comparisons)
- Agile Comes to Data Integration
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- Using VM Archiving to Solve VM Sprawl This CommVault whitepaper discusses how archiving virtual machines can mitigate VM sprawl with a comprehensive approach to VM lifecycle management.
- Keep Your Network Available, Efficient and Secure Make the most of your network by working with experts who "get it." CDW and F5 have partnered to keep networks highly optimized....
- VCE Converged Infrastructure Enables Continuous Operation for Swiss Power Plant Read how Vblock™ Systems, running in active-active mode, enabled KKL to transform its twin data centers in just two months, enable continuous operations,...
- The Future of IT: A Customer First Approach Explore how customer-first policies can make use of social, mobile and cloud technologies to give workers the freedom and flexibility they desire to...
- Make or Break: New Auto Products Must Go To Market On Time This Webcast quantifies the value of time to market for the auto industry and highlights how Primavera Enterprise Portfolio Management can help organizations.
- IBM Flash Webcast: Optimizing your Datacenter for Efficient Storage & ROI Register for this webcast to learn the benefits of flash storage from IBM Customer, Leonardo Irastorza of Royal Caribbean Cruise Ltd and Storage... All Data Storage White Papers | Webcasts