by Staff Writers
Zurich, Switzerland (SPX) Mar 31, 2017
The idea is intriguing: if only a single atom or small molecule was needed for a single unit of data (a zero or a one in the case of binary digital technology), massive volumes of data could be stored in the tiniest amount of space. This is theoretically possible, because certain atoms can be magnetised in only one of two possible directions: "spin up" or "spin down". Information could then be stored and read by the sequence of the molecules' magnetisation directions.
However, several obstacles still need to be overcome before single-molecule magnet data storage becomes a reality. Finding molecules that can store the magnetic information permanently and not just fleetingly is a challenge, and it is even more difficult to arrange these molecules on a solid surface to build data storage carriers. To address the latter problem, an international team of researchers led by chemists from ETH Zurich has now developed a new method that offers numerous advantages over other approaches.
Christophe Coperet, a professor at the Laboratory of Inorganic Chemistry at ETH Zurich, and his team developed a molecule with a dysprosium atom at its centre (dysprosium is a metal belonging to the rare-earth elements). This atom is surrounded by a molecular scaffold that serves as a vehicle.
The scientists also developed a method for depositing such molecules on the surface of silica nanoparticles and fusing them by annealing at 400 degrees Celsius. The molecular structure used as a vehicle disintegrates in the process, yielding nanoparticles with dysprosium atoms well-dispersed at their surface. The scientists showed that these atoms can be magnetised and maintain their magnetic information.
The magnetisation process currently only works at around minus 270 degrees Celsius (near absolute zero), and the magnetisation can be maintained for up to one and a half minute. The scientists are therefore looking for methods that will allow the magnetisation to be stabilised at higher temperatures and for longer periods of time. They are also looking for ways to fuse atoms to a flat surface instead of to nanoparticles.
Other preparation methods include the direct deposition of individual atoms onto a surface, yet the materials obtained are only stable at very low temperatures mainly due to the agglomeration of these individual atoms. Alternatively, molecules with ideal magnetic properties can be deposited onto a surface, but this immobilization often negatively affects the structure and the magnetic properties of the final object.
Allouche F et al.: Magnetic Memory from Site Isolated Dy(III) on Silica Materials. ACS Central Science 2017, doi: 10.1021/acscentsci.7b00035
Konstanz, Germany (SPX) Mar 31, 2017
Nowadays we communicate via radio signals and send electrical pulses through long cables. This could change soon, however: Scientists have been working intensely on developing methods for quantum information transfer. This would enable tap-proof data transfer or, one day, even the linking of quantum computers. Quantum information transfer requires reliable information transfer from one qua ... read more
Space Technology News - Applications and Research
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement|