The most dense solid-state memory ever created could soon exceed the capabilities of current computer storage devices by 1,000 times using a new technique. The same technology was used to manufacture atomic-scale circuits, allowing for quickly removing or replacing single hydrogen atoms. The technology enables the memory to be rewritable, meaning it could lead to far more efficient types of solid-state drives for computers.
Previous discoveries of atomic-scale computer storage were stable only at extremely low temperatures, but the new memory works at real-world temperatures and can withstand normal use. The memory is stable well above room temperature and is precise down to the atom.
The technology has immediate applications for archiving data; next steps will include increasing read and write speeds for even more flexible applications. To demonstrate the new memory, the entire alphabet was encoded at a density of 138 terabytes per square inch — roughly equivalent to writing 350,000 letters across a grain of rice.