Dutch scientists developed rewritable memory that stores information in the positions of individual chlorine atoms on a copper surface.
The information storage density is two to three orders of magnitude beyond current hard disk or flash technology.
This is indeed good news, because our current technologies with making transistors out of lines etched in silicon is reaching its limit, as the lines become only a few tens of atoms wide.
The researchers used a scanning tunneling microscope (STM), in which a sharp needle probes the atoms on the surface one by one. This allowed the researchers to push the atoms around in a manner … [like in] a sliding puzzle.
But this is still a very long way from practical use:
However, despite its future promise, the approach is not ready for the real world just yet. Stable information storage could only be demonstrated at a temperature of 77 Kelvin (-196C) and the speed of single write and read processes is still slow – on the scale of minutes.