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Home > News > It may be possible to store a bit of data on a single atom and retrieve it

March 30th, 2007

It may be possible to store a bit of data on a single atom and retrieve it

Abstract:
THE race in computing is a race to the bottom. Smaller components can do more in less space—and that applies both to processors that manipulate data and to memories that store them. Yet the urge to develop ever-smaller components suggests that, at some point, things will become so tiny that the effects of quantum mechanics start coming into play.

Often, this is regarded as a bad thing. It might, for example, allow electrons to leak to places where they are not wanted via a process called quantum tunnelling. Quantum effects can, however, also be beneficial, as a group of researchers writing in this week's Nature Nanotechnology demonstrate. Andrei Sokolov of the University of Nebraska and Bernard Doudin of the University of Strasbourg have shown how an individual "bit" of data—a one or a zero of the binary code used by computers—might be stored on a single atom.

Source:
economist.com

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