Uranium could be the future of hard drives

first_imgIf you’d been putting your money on a bet that SSDs will edge out traditional hard drive technology entirely, you might want to rethink your gamble. Traditional high-capacity moving hard drives will be around for a long time, most likely, and researchers at Nottingham University think they have a way to make them even denser: use depleted Uranium.Depleted uranium, the same material that the military uses for tank shells and gun turret rounds, may one day be used for super-high density storage in hard drives. The trick is to keep the uranium cold. Normally uranium atoms are paramagnetic, meaning they don’t show magnetic properties unless an external magnetic field is applied. At cold temperatures, uranium starts to show those properties on their own. This means that as long as the uranium is kept cold, you can use it to store information.AdChoices广告Of course, one of the biggest challenges is keeping uranium cold enough to maintain its magnetic properties. To resolve this, Dr. Steve Liddle of Nottingham University leveraged a unique property of uranium to create a single-molecule magnet (SMM,) or two Uranium atoms connected to one another to create a north and a south pole. With applied current, suddenly your molecule can flip one way to store a 0, and flip another way to store a 1.Those stored 0s and 1s are the basis of hard drive technology, and using electric current to read and change those magnetic states is how data is written and read to and from hard drives. Dr. Liddle is optimistic, but says additional research is necessary before we can jump to the conclusion that we’ll see depleted uranium hard drives in our local electronics stores.Regardless, depleted uranium is attractive for data storage because it’s a byproduct of nuclear enrichment and has no real use in nuclear applications. It’s no longer radioactive, but it is incredibly dense with uranium atoms. This means that if you can work with those atoms to store information, you can cram a lot of 0s and 1s into an incredibly small space. We’ll have to see where future research goes, but the science is definitely there.Read more at Nottingham University, via Futurity and Gizmodolast_img read more