If we measure it in millimeters, a nanometer is 0.000001 millimeters . And in that space they have managed to stuff data, as if it were a pendrive, at the University of Texas. Furthermore, and to continue with the nanoscale, it is a single metal atom that controls this memory unit, the smallest in the world .

This device, as an example of what nanoscale technology can achieve, is taking a look at a future generation of faster, smaller, and less power-consuming computing devices and processors.

The same team of researchers already developed a scheme for a small memory unit similar to this two years ago, which has now been improved, especially by reducing the cross-sectional area. This is how those microscopic dimensions of a square nanometer have been achieved.

Less is more … and better

This miniaturization will result in more efficient, functional and faster processors , but also reducing the size reduces the energy demand thereby minimizing consumption. This means an increase in autonomy in mobile devices and energy savings (with the consequent reduction in the bill) in fixed equipment.

Finally, it was necessary to add an environmental aspect. Smaller sizes mean fewer materials are used. When some of the components also use the recycling of those same materials from other larger devices, the result is that with what a component was manufactured yesterday in the near future, several units can be manufactured.

And, for mobile devices, the reduction in size of is always a constant.

Advancement in physical dynamics and density

The great challenge for the researchers from the Department of Electronic and Computer Engineering at the University of Texas who has achieved this “nanopendrive” was to unlock the storage capacities in microscopic-sized devices due to density. For this, they have taken advantage of their own defects and irregularities on the surface of the material to store the information more efficiently.

Thus with the addition of a single atom to that «pothole» conductive capacity can be conferred to the support in order to store information.

Memristors, the future of nano data storage

This type of memory units of such small size is called memristor, by merging the words memory and resistor. These are supports where the current resistance depends on the electrical quantity that has previously flowed through the device. It is a technology that is proving to be decisive in these media that could offer a capacity of up to 25 Tb per square centimeter, that is, one hundred times more memory density than currently marketed media .