Beyond Magnetic Storage: Atoms and Molecules
As magnetic storage densities continue to increase, the fundamental limits of this technology are rapidly being approached. Decreasing bit size reduces the volume of magnetic material that constitutes the bit. At the super-paramagnetic limit, thermal energy becomes sufficient to randomize these magnetic moments. Concurrently, semiconductor technologies are also reaching their limits. Analogous to magnetic storage, as semiconductor dimensions become smaller, their energy bands become discreet states— at this point we enter the quantum regime. Alternative storage systems will be required to maintain the rapid increase in storage density expected from the industry. Several technologies are currently being developed for future storage options. Scanning Probe technologies based on Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) or Scanning Tunneling Microscopy (STM) methods are currently under development in industry and at universities. An alternative probe storage technology, called Field Emission Storage, is also under development. A brief overview of these technologies will be presented, with an analysis of the advantages and disadvantages inherent in each system.
KeywordsAtomic Force Microscopy Scan Tunneling Microscopy Phase Change Material Storage Medium Tunneling Current
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