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Primeur weekly 2016-07-25

Special

SpiNNaker and BrainScaleS neuromorphic systems ready for non-expert use in stochastic inference computing ...

Beyond Moore's Law panelists address business maturity of new technologies, future developments, neuromorphic chip training, and memristors ...

Focus

D-Wave works with its customers Lockheed, Google and Los Alamos to design better quantum software ...

Altair's Bill Nitzberg to present PBS Pro open source license version, PBS Simulator and PBS Cloud Manager ...

Quantum computing

Russian physicists discover a new approach for building quantum computers ...

RMIT researchers make leap in measuring quantum states ...

Focus on Europe

Guiding EU researchers along the last mile to Open Digital Science ...

Digital Humanities and Urban Climate proposals win NLeSC-Lorentz Workshop competition ...

European Horizon 2020 Work Programme update supports competitiveness through open science ...

6th Irish Supercomputer List shows Irish HPC capacity doubles with new no. 1 and three new TOP500-class machines ...

PRACE to look for Peer-Review Officer ...

7th International HPC Summer School took place in Ljubljana, Slovenia ...

Middleware

Inria joins the OpenMP ARB ...

Hardware

Gigabyte announces official release of production-ready Cavium ThunderX-based servers ...

The University of Tokyo selects Mellanox EDR InfiniBand to accelerate its newest supercomputer ...

Smallest hard disk to date writes information atom by atom ...

A mini-antenna for the data processing of tomorrow ...

Hangzhou C-SKY Microsystems joins EEMBC Executive Board ...

Electron spin control: Levitated nanodiamond is research gem ...

The Scripps Research Institute leverages powerful end-to-end DDN storage to help reveal secrets to new medical treatments ...

Applications

MSC Software partners with Italian Campania Region Technological Aerospace District for the development of aeronautical programmes ...

Deloitte Advisory Cyber Risk Services and Cray offer advanced Cyber Reconnaissance and Analytics services ...

Strathclyde mathematician wins prize for research into speeding up stroke diagnosis ...

Underlying molecular networks suggest new targets to combat brain cancer ...

An accelerated pipeline to open materials research ...

Rice wins interdisciplinary Big Data grant ...

Study uses text-mining to improve market intelligence on startups ...

The Cloud

The HNSciCloud Pre-Commercial Procurement tender is out: you can bid now ...

CSC and IBM expand strategic alliance with collaboration utilizing IBM Cloud for z to enable clients' move to Cloud ...

Smallest hard disk to date writes information atom by atom

STM scan (96 nm wide, 126 nm tall) of the 1 kB memory, written to a section of Feynman's lecture There's Plenty of Room at the Bottom (with text markup)..18 Jul 2016 Delft - Every day, modern society creates more than a billion gigabytes of new data. To store all this data, it is increasingly important that each single bit occupies as little space as possible. A team of scientists at the Kavli Institute of Nanoscience at Delft University managed to bring this reduction to the ultimate limit: they built a memory of 1 kilobyte (8,000 bits), where each bit is represented by the position of one single chlorine atom. "In theory, this storage density would allow all books ever created by humans to be written on a single post stamp", stated lead-scientist Sander Otte. They reached a storage density of 500 Terabits per square inch (Tbpsi), 500 times better than the best commercial hard disk currently available. His team reported on this memory inNature Nanotechnologyon July 18.

In 1959, physicist Richard Feynman challenged his colleagues to engineer the world at the smallest possible scale. In his famous lecture "There's Plenty of Room at the Bottom", he speculated that if we had a platform allowing us to arrange individual atoms in an exact orderly pattern, it would be possible to store one piece of information per atom. To honour the visionary Feynman, Sander Otte and his team now coded a section of Feynman's lecture on an area 100 nanometers wide.

The team used a scanning tunneling microscope (STM), in which a sharp needle probes the atoms of a surface, one by one. With these probes scientists cannot only see the atoms but they can also use them to push the atoms around. "You could compare it to a sliding puzzle", Sander Otte explained. "Every bit consists of two positions on a surface of copper atoms, and one chlorine atom that we can slide back and forth between these two positions. If the chlorine atom is in the top position, there is a hole beneath it - we call this a 1. If the hole is in the top position and the chlorine atom is therefore on the bottom, then the bit is a 0." Because the chlorine atoms are surrounded by other chlorine atoms, except near the holes, they keep each other in place. That is why this method with holes is much more stable than methods with loose atoms and more suitable for data storage.

The researchers from Delft organized their memory in blocks of 8 bytes (64 bits). Each block has a marker, made of the same type of 'holes' as the raster of chlorine atoms. Inspired by the pixelated square barcodes (QR codes) often used to scan tickets for airplanes and concerts, these markers work like miniature QR codes that carry information about the precise location of the block on the copper layer. The code will also indicate if a block is damaged, for instance due to some local contaminant or an error in the surface. This allows the memory to be scaled up easily to very big sizes, even if the copper surface is not entirely perfect.

The new approach offers excellent prospects in terms of stability and scalability. Still, this type of memory should not be expected in data centres soon. Sander Otte stated: "In its current form the memory can operate only in very clean vacuum conditions and at liquid nitrogen temperature (77 K), so the actual storage of data on an atomic scale is still some way off. But through this achievement we have certainly come a big step closer."

This research was made possible through support from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NOW/FOM). Scientists of the International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory (INL) in Portugal performed calculations on the behaviour of the chlorine atoms.
Source: Technology University Delft

Back to Table of contents

Primeur weekly 2016-07-25

Special

SpiNNaker and BrainScaleS neuromorphic systems ready for non-expert use in stochastic inference computing ...

Beyond Moore's Law panelists address business maturity of new technologies, future developments, neuromorphic chip training, and memristors ...

Focus

D-Wave works with its customers Lockheed, Google and Los Alamos to design better quantum software ...

Altair's Bill Nitzberg to present PBS Pro open source license version, PBS Simulator and PBS Cloud Manager ...

Quantum computing

Russian physicists discover a new approach for building quantum computers ...

RMIT researchers make leap in measuring quantum states ...

Focus on Europe

Guiding EU researchers along the last mile to Open Digital Science ...

Digital Humanities and Urban Climate proposals win NLeSC-Lorentz Workshop competition ...

European Horizon 2020 Work Programme update supports competitiveness through open science ...

6th Irish Supercomputer List shows Irish HPC capacity doubles with new no. 1 and three new TOP500-class machines ...

PRACE to look for Peer-Review Officer ...

7th International HPC Summer School took place in Ljubljana, Slovenia ...

Middleware

Inria joins the OpenMP ARB ...

Hardware

Gigabyte announces official release of production-ready Cavium ThunderX-based servers ...

The University of Tokyo selects Mellanox EDR InfiniBand to accelerate its newest supercomputer ...

Smallest hard disk to date writes information atom by atom ...

A mini-antenna for the data processing of tomorrow ...

Hangzhou C-SKY Microsystems joins EEMBC Executive Board ...

Electron spin control: Levitated nanodiamond is research gem ...

The Scripps Research Institute leverages powerful end-to-end DDN storage to help reveal secrets to new medical treatments ...

Applications

MSC Software partners with Italian Campania Region Technological Aerospace District for the development of aeronautical programmes ...

Deloitte Advisory Cyber Risk Services and Cray offer advanced Cyber Reconnaissance and Analytics services ...

Strathclyde mathematician wins prize for research into speeding up stroke diagnosis ...

Underlying molecular networks suggest new targets to combat brain cancer ...

An accelerated pipeline to open materials research ...

Rice wins interdisciplinary Big Data grant ...

Study uses text-mining to improve market intelligence on startups ...

The Cloud

The HNSciCloud Pre-Commercial Procurement tender is out: you can bid now ...

CSC and IBM expand strategic alliance with collaboration utilizing IBM Cloud for z to enable clients' move to Cloud ...