Recently, scientists have discovered a denser, smaller, faster and more energy-efficient data storage system than conventional silicon chips. The new system, promoted by researchers at Stanford University, the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Texas Attone, consists of a metal called tungsten diatin, arranged in a layer of thin, only three atoms thick.
This new system encodes data primarily in the sliding stack of two-dimensional metal layers. The idea is that when a tiny electric shock is applied, each second layer moves slightly compared to the other layers above it and below. It keeps this arrangement until another electric shock rearranges them. In this way, the data can be encoded in the usual one- and zero formats, depending on whether a layer is offset or not.
In order to read the data, a magnetic field can be used to manipulate the electrons in the layer and determine their location without moving them. The team says the new approach has some advantages over existing silicon-based data storage systems. It can cram more data into smaller physical spaces, and the electric shock required to move the layer is very small, which means it is very energy-efficient. In addition, sliding occurs very quickly and data can be written up to 100 times faster than existing technologies.
The team has patented the design and is currently working on ways to improve it, such as finding 2D materials other than tungsten didiazeth that might be compatible with the technology.
The study was published in the journal Nature Physics.
Source: Stanford University