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April 3rd, 2007
Researchers claim atomic-level storage
Scientists have demonstrated single bit data storage at the atomic level. This could, it is claimed, open the way to nanoscale memory a hundred times denser than today's flash and RAM, possibly more.
The effect was reported by scientists Andrei Sokolov and Bernard Doudin writing in the Nature Nanotechnology journal. It depends upon so-called spin electronics, spintronics for short.
This is an area of quantum physics in which the electrons flowing through nanoscale metallic wires have their spin affected by the magnetic state of the atoms in the wire though which they are flowing. The phenomenon is called ballistic anisotropic magneto-resistance (BAMR) and is a cousin to that used by giant magneto-resistive (GMR) read heads in modern disk drives.
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