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PostPosted: Tue Jun 06, 2017 7:07 am 
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Digital technology is taking over the world, and scientists are hard at work finding better ways to store data, lots of it and for long periods of time.

Scientists are exploring new materials for data storage as well as new methods for printing data on their chosen medium.

Here are a few of the emerging storage technologies to be explained.

5D Disc - Eternal 5D Data Storage could record the History of Humankind
Scientists at the University of Southampton have made a major step forward in the development of digital data storage that is capable of surviving for billions of years.

Using nanostructured glass, scientists from the University’s Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC) have developed the recording and retrieval processes of five dimensional (5D) digital data by femtosecond laser writing.

The storage allows unprecedented properties including 360 TB/disc data capacity, thermal stability up to 1,000°C and virtually unlimited lifetime at room temperature (13.8 billion years at 190°C ) opening a new era of eternal data archiving.

As a very stable and safe form of portable memory, the technology could be highly useful for organisations with big archives, such as national archives, museums and libraries, to preserve their information and records.

The technology was first experimentally demonstrated in 2013 when a 300 kb digital copy of a text file was successfully recorded in 5D.


IBM Stores Data on a Single Atom. A Credit Card-sized Device can store 35 Million Songs
IBM has created the world’s smallest magnet using a single atom – and stored one bit of data on it.

Currently, hard disk drives use about 100,000 atoms to store a single bit. The ability to read and write one bit on one atom creates new possibilities for developing significantly smaller and denser storage devices, that could someday, enable storing the entire iTunes library of 35 million songs on a device the size of a credit card.



World's First Light-based Memory Chip to store data permanently
The world’s first entirely light-based memory chip to store data permanently has been developed by material scientists at Oxford University.
The device makes use of materials used in CDs and DVDs, and it could help dramatically improve the speed of modern computing.

Today’s computers are held back by the relatively slow transmission of electronic data between the processor and the memory. There’s no point using faster processors if the limiting factor is the shuttling of information to-and-from the memory. The researchers think using light can significantly speed this up.

Simply bridging the processor-memory gap with photons isn’t efficient, though, because of the need to convert them back into electronic signals at each end. Instead, memory and processing capabilities would need be light-based too.

Researchers have tried to create this kind of photonic memory before, but the results have always been volatile, requiring power in order to store data. For many applications — such as computer disk drives — it’s essential to be able to store data indefinitely, with or without power.



Now we can stop and store light traveling in an Optical Fiber
Researchers at the Kastler Brossel Laboratory in Paris have managed to store light that propagates in an optical fiber and to release it later on demand. By causing interaction between the traveling light and a few thousand atoms in the vicinity, they demonstrated an all-fibered memory.

The researchers report that they have devised optical memory integrated into an optical fiber. The team created a way to stop and store the light that usually propagates in a fiber at a speed as fast as 200,000 km/sec.

This capability represents an important advance in optical communications, as fibers are at the heart of our worldwide telecommunication system, but also for a future quantum Internet, in which quantum information can be transported and synchronized between interconnected nodes.

Storage times of up to 5 micro seconds were demonstrated, corresponding to a traveling distance of 1 km if the light had not been halted.

The experiment by the Paris team also showed that even light pulses containing only one photon can be stored, with a very large signal-to-noise ratio. This feature will enable the use of this device as a quantum memory, an essential ingredient for the creation of future quantum networks.

This work provides a demonstration of an all-fibered memory for light. The researchers have been able to store the light and release it later into the fiber


MIT Engineers program Human Cells to store complex Histories in their DNA.
MIT biological engineers have devised a way to record complex histories in the DNA of human cells, allowing them to retrieve “memories” of past events, such as inflammation, by sequencing the DNA.

This analog memory storage system — the first that can record the duration and/or intensity of events in human cells — could also help scientists study how cells differentiate into various tissues during embryonic development, how cells experience environmental conditions, and how they undergo genetic changes that lead to disease.

Many scientists have devised ways to record digital information in living cells. Using enzymes called recombinases, they program cells to flip sections of their DNA when a particular event occurs, such as exposure to a particular chemical. However, that method reveals only whether the event occurred, not how much exposure there was or how long it lasted.

The researchers have previously devised ways to record that kind of analog information in bacteria, but until now, no one has achieved it in human cells.

Currently this method is most likely to be used for studies of human cells, tissues, or engineered organs. By programming cells to record multiple events, scientists could use this system to monitor inflammation or infection, or to monitor cancer progression. It could also be useful for tracing how cells specialize into different tissues during development of animals from embryos to adults.


New 'Spray-On' Memory Could Turn Everyday Items Into Digital Storage Devices
Researchers at Duke University have developed "spray-on" digital memory using only an aerosol jet printer and nanoparticle inks.
And, the researchers demonstrated their new “spray-on” digital memory by programing a simple circuit to display four LED lights in different patterns.

USB flash drives are already common accessories in offices and college campuses. But because of the rise in printable electronics, digital storage devices like these may soon be everywhere – including on our groceries, pill bottles and even clothing.

Duke University researchers have brought us closer to a future of low-cost, flexible electronics by creating a new “spray-on” digital memory device using only an aerosol jet printer and nanoparticle inks.

The device, which is analogous to a 4-bit flash drive, is the first fully-printed digital memory that would be suitable for practical use in simple electronics such as environmental sensors or RFID tags. And because it is jet-printed at relatively low temperatures, it could be used to build programmable electronic devices on bendable materials like paper, plastic or fabric

The new material, made of silica-coated copper nanowires encased in a polymer matrix, encodes information not in states of charge but instead in states of resistance. By applying a small voltage, it can be switched between a state of high resistance, which stops electric current, and a state of low resistance, which allows current to flow.


Small tilt in Magnets makes them viable Memory Chips
Researchers at University of California, Berkeley, have discovered a new way to switch the polarization of nanomagnets, paving the way for high-density storage to move from hard disks onto integrated circuits.

This finding could lead to computers that turn on in an instant, operate with far greater speed and use significantly less power.

The research team has found that tilting magnets slightly makes them easy to switch without an external magnetic field. This opens the door to a memory system that can be packed onto a microprocessor, a major step toward the goal of reducing energy dissipation in modern electronics.

Creating and switching polarity in magnets without an external magnetic field has been a key focus in the field of spintronics. Generating a magnetic field takes power and space, which is why magnets have not yet been integrated onto computer chips.
Instead, there are separate systems for long-term magnetic memory. These include a computer’s hard disk drive where data are stored, and the various kinds of random-access memory, or RAM, on the integrated circuits of the central processing unit, or CPU, where calculations and logic operations are performed.


Stanford's skyscraper-style Chip Design "N3XT" boosts performance Thousand Times.
For decades, engineers have designed computer systems with processors and memory chips laid out like single-story structures in a suburb. Wires connect these chips like streets, carrying digital traffic between the processors that compute data and the memory chips that store it.

But suburban-style layouts create long commutes and regular traffic jams in electronic circuits, wasting time and energy.According to the researchers, N3XT systems outperform conventional approaches by a factor of a thousand.

To enable these advances, the N3XT team uses new nano-materials that allow its designs to do what can't be done with silicon i-e building high-rise computer circuits.

N3XT high-rise chips are based on carbon nanotube transistors (CNTs). Transistors are fundamental units of a computer processor, the tiny on-off switches that create digital zeroes and ones. CNTs are faster and more energy-efficient than silicon processors. Moreover, in the N3XT architecture, they can be fabricated and placed over and below other layers of memory.

Just as skyscrapers have ventilation systems, N3XT high-rise chip designs incorporate thermal cooling layers

The Team has already demonstrated a working prototype of a high-rise chip. At the International Electron Devices Meeting in December 2014 they unveiled a four-layered chip made up of two layers of RRAM memory sandwiched between two layers of CNTs.


Smallest Hard Disk to date writes information Atom by Atom
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 Delft University in Netherlands 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. They reached a storage density of 500 Terabits per square inch (Tbpsi), 500 times better than the best commercial hard disk currently available. 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.

The new approach offers excellent prospects in terms of stability and scalability. Still, this type of memory should not be expected in data centers soon. In its current form the memory can operate only in very clean vacuum conditions and at liquid nitrogen temperature , so the actual storage of data on an atomic scale is still some way off.


Intel's Optane SSD is 7 times faster than current SSDs.
Intel has announced at Intel Developer Forum (IDF) 2015 that it will bring its new 3D Xpoint memory to market next year under the brand name Optane.

Optane will be 7 times faster than today's solid state drives. Optane drives will include a specialized software stack, Intel’s custom storage controllers, and the 3D Xpoint memory.

3D XPoint doesn’t just boost speed: it increases storage density, too. Its stacked design keeps things compact, and the memory doesn’t need to make room for transistors. 3D XPoint can read from or write to individual memory cells by simply altering voltages.

Intel says the technology is affordable enough that Optane drives will be made available next year for uses ranging from large corporate data centers to lightweight laptops. They would improve gaming, supercomputers, and data analysis.



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