An experimental technology called molecular memory could store data in individual molecules has been developed by an international team of researchers led by Jagadeesh Moodera, a senior research scientist in the MIT Department of Physics and at MIT’s Francis Bitter Magnet Laboratory,
The technology promises a 1,000-fold increase in storage density over hard disks, which are approaching a million megabytes of data per square inch.
Previous schemes for molecular memory have relied on physical systems cooled to near absolute zero. The new molecular-memory scheme works at around the freezing point of water — which in physics parlance counts as “room temperature.”
Moreover, where previous schemes required sandwiching the storage molecules between two ferromagnetic electrodes, the new scheme would require only one ferromagnetic electrode. That could greatly simplify manufacture, as could the shape of the storage molecules themselves: because they consist of flat sheets of carbon atoms attached to zinc atoms, they can be deposited in very thin layers with very precise arrangements.