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Solid State Storage: How It Works (Page 3/4)

Posted: July 25, 2000
Written by: Tuan "Solace" Nguyen

Molecular Memory Storage Technology (cont.)

To read from the data page, the yellow laser sets the data page to a state of Q, which permits a low intensity red laser to penetrate it. The laser then fires at the data page and passes through everything but the parts that were marked. The cells, which have no laser light passing through them, show up on a CID detector which reads the pattern of on and off cells of the data page, thus, representing ones and zeros.

Image courtesy of Scientific American
So whatís keeping this great technology from coming out to the public? Cost and product. Currently, the product costs for this technology is as expensive as holographic technology. And an economical production unit thatís usable in size is still a long way off.

What now you say? What is left for the power hungry and storage greedy? More unavailable technology! Thatís what! I know, Iím really saturating you readers with all these high-tech and cool technologies and yet, they are unavailable to you. Why exactly am I doing this? No, Iím not evil, but I would like to inform all you readers of whatís ahead of us (hopefully) and where computers will go in the future. So, noting that, letís continue.

Atomic Resolution Storage Technology

What do you think of storing a few gigabytes in the space thatís about the size of your thumb? This is the promise of atomic resolution technology. Why is it called that? Because each bit of data is recorded in a very tiny space. So tiny that each bit is the size of a single atom, or a few atoms. But then again, if itís too many atoms, then itíll be a molecule, and would be molecular memory technology. Which, this is not.

Image courtesy of Scientific American
What It Will Offer

Atomic resolution technology will enable us to store vast amounts of information in a very tight space. It will offer storage capacities that are unheard of and are limited by imagination, and there will be some physical limitations. Electron beams from an array of probes with write heads that are the size of atoms write data onto the storage medium (phase change medium) by heating tiny data spots on the medium and changing its physical state or phase. Under the array, the medium is moved with nanometer precision.

Currently, Hewlett Packard is developing the technology (ARS or Atomic Resolution Storage) and is looking at ways to commercialize the devices. Currently HP has achieved densities in the terabits per thumbnail size mediums.

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