New Molecular Technology Could Raise Hard Disk Storage Density to Exceptional Levels

In an effort to refine the current concept of molecular memory, an international team of researchers made a step forward in their research. They unveiled a new way to produce molecular memory that when implemented could give reliable and inexpensive solid-state storage up to 1,000 TB per square inch. This finding is based on the invention of a new molecule by chemists at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) in Kolkata. According to IISER, the molecule can be used to make molecular memory with limited layers of material, thus allowing the storage device to be thinner and easily operable at normal temperatures.

The molecules used to store data switch between their two magnetic states to represent zeroes and ones. This type of storage can accommodate more information in less space as compared to hard disk drives. Earlier experimental storage devices based on molecular memory used a layer of molecules (insulator) and two ferromagnetic electrodes. The state of these two electrodes at any given point in time determines the conductivity of molecules. The two conductivity states symbolize 0’s and 1’s of binary data.

The new molecule discovered by IISER researchers can easily switch between the two states using only one ferromagnetic electrode, leaving the choice of other electrode to the manufacturer. It can be a typical metal electrode. Besides reducing the manufacturing cost, the metal electrode has the benefit of determining changes in the states of individual molecules. This makes it a great choice for replacement with the sensors on the tips of hard-drive arms. The new storage device will not contain any moving parts, which is a sign of improved reliability. However, the device will feature the same write exhaustion as all the other hard disk drives do.

This technique has also reduced the number of layers of insulator molecules to just one, further simplifying the manufacturing of such storage devices. Aligning multiple layers of molecules earlier required extra cost and resources. In addition, the new molecular memory device can work well at even higher temperatures, making it an ideal choice for all IT departments. As the research on this technology continues, it is evident that the next few years will bring out some more innovative ideas and a much better way to deal with these molecules.