Ever since the dawn of the internet, data storage has become a finite resource. While earlier desktops could make do with as less as a 40GB hard drive, nowadays even 10TB drives are not enough, thanks to the barrage of high-definition videos and photos we encounter every day. But scientists at the National University of Singapore’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering have come out with a nano-sized film that can serve as a bigger and more efficient data storage solution, as compared to the current solid-state drives.
The team at the university fused cobalt and palladium to create a film that can house stable skyrmions, which are tiny magnetic whirls with the ability of storing and processing data. Skyrmions are used as the basic bit of information in hard disks.
The current technology uses a magnetic field to stabilise the skyrmions. But the new solution provides stable skyrmions which does not need a magnetic field at room temperatures.
With the need for more bigger and more efficient data storage expected to grow by more than 10 times in the age of Web 2.0, stable skyrmions are a possible solution.
However, it will only be possible once the scientists are able to figure out how to build a 3D skyrmion architecture and stack up the film. The team believes that if it achieves that, it will be possible to take the density of storage up by a factor of 10 to 100 times.
Now, while all this sounds exciting and everything, remember, this is only scientific research for now and is quite far out from being a commercial reality.