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Danes develop atomic memory chip

Technique promises million-fold expansion of storage capacities

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Danish researchers have developed a prototype computer chip that uses atoms to record information, according to Reuters. Data is stored on a single oscillating atom of hydrogen left to jump back and forth when two other atoms of hydrogen and an atom of silicon are removed from the hydrogen surface layer on a standard silicon chip. Working at the Danish University of Technology's microelectronics centre, the four-man team produced the chip at room temperature, a major advance on previous attempts which required the chip to be chilled to absolute zero. However, the process has to be carried out in an ultra-high vacuum chamber, to prevent any surface contamination. Which is why team leader Dr Francois Grey said: "This is not something you can put into a computer tomorrow." However, the technique can and will be developed, perhaps reaching the stage where the equivalent of one million CD-ROMs could be held on a single disc, predicted Grey. ® Click for more stories

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