Breakthrough in the search for the holy grail for data storage

Apr 21, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- One of The University of Nottingham’s leading young scientists has created a new compound which could lead to a breakthrough in the search for high performance computing techniques.

Dr Steve Liddle, an expert in molecular depleted chemistry, has created a new molecule containing two Uranium atoms which, if kept at a very low temperature, will maintain its magnetism. This type of single-molecule magnet (SMM) has the potential to increase capacity by many hundreds, even thousands of times — as a result huge volumes of data could be stored in tiny places.

Dr Liddle, a Royal Society University Research Fellow and Reader in the School of Chemistry, has received numerous accolades for his ground breaking research. His latest discovery has just been published in the journal .

Dr Liddle said: “This work is exciting because it suggests a new way of generating SMM behaviour and it shines a light on poorly understood uranium phenomena. It could help point the way to making scientific advances with more technologically amenable metals such as the lanthanides. The challenge now is to see if we can build bigger clusters to improve the blocking temperatures and apply this more generally.

Computer hard discs are made up of magnetic material which record digital signals. The smaller you can make these tiny magnets the more information you can store.

Although it may have somewhat negative PR it seems depleted Uranium — a by-product from uranium enrichment and of no use in nuclear applications because the radioactive component has been removed — could now hold some of the key to their research. Dr Liddle has shown that by linking more than one uranium atom together via a bridging toluene molecule SMM behaviour is exhibited.

He said: “At this stage it is too early to say where this research might lead but single-molecule magnets have been the subject of intense study because of their potential applications to make a step change in data storage capacity and realise high performance computing techniques such as quantum information processing and spintronics.”

Dr Liddle said: “The inherent properties of uranium place it between popularly researched transition and lanthanide metals and this means it has the best of both worlds. It is therefore an attractive candidate for SMM chemistry, but this has never been realised in polymetallic systems which is necessary to make them work at room temperature.”

Dr Liddle is a regular contributor to the School of Chemistry’s award winning Periodic Table of Videos — periodicvideos.com. The website, created by Brady Haran, the University’s film maker in residence, won the 2008 IChemE Petronas Award for excellence in education and training.

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Explore further: Mineral magic? Common mineral capable of making and breaking bonds

More information: A delocalized arene-bridged diuranium single-molecule magnet, Nature Chemistry (2011) doi:10.1038/nchem.1028

Abstract
Single-molecule magnets (SMMs) are compounds that, below a blocking temperature, exhibit stable magnetization purely of molecular origin, and not caused by long-range ordering of magnetic moments in the bulk. They thus show promise for applications such as data storage of ultra-high density. The stability of the magnetization increases with increasing ground-state spin and magnetic anisotropy. Transition-metal SMMs typically possess high-spin ground states, but insufficient magnetic anisotropies. Lanthanide SMMs exhibit large magnetic anisotropies, but building high-spin ground states is difficult because they tend to form ionic bonds that limit magnetic exchange coupling. In contrast, the significant covalent bonding and large spin–orbit contributions associated with uranium are particularly attractive for the development of improved SMMs. Here we report a delocalized arene-bridged diuranium SMM. This study demonstrates that arene-bridged polyuranium clusters can exhibit SMM behaviour without relying on the superexchange coupling of spins. This approach may lead to increased blocking temperatures.

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User comments : 6

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mysticshakra
1.9 / 5 (7) Apr 21, 2011
Another breakthrough that could lead to breakthroughs.....of course we never see any. And uranium? How would you like to have that in your desktop.
Donutz
5 / 5 (8) Apr 21, 2011
Of course we never see any????!! That's right, life right now is JUST EXACTLY like it was in the 60's. NOTHING has been invented since then.

Anyone else remember the TRS-80? Altair? Commodore Pet?
bloodyanarch
5 / 5 (1) Apr 21, 2011
HAHA, ypu there was the wheel... then Tang.. and that's pretty much it.
FrankHerbert
0.8 / 5 (49) Apr 21, 2011
WAH WAH WHERE'S MY JETPACK?!
that_guy
not rated yet Apr 21, 2011
Let's project this out to it's conclusion - Eventually the stockpiles of depleted uranium (Also used in projectiles) will be *depleted*. Then they'll have to mine for it...Uranium mining is hugely expensive, and only cost effective due to the amount of energy that comes from it.

So once you are mining and separating the uranium for the non-radioactive portion, you're in a different ball game.

In addition to the fact that there are already single molecule polymers that can be used to store information, even dna for that matter.

Seriously, don't give me an article about this until you have a method for reading and writing data on these molecules at the same pace as current technology. That is the bottleneck.
hikenboot
not rated yet Apr 21, 2011
Putting Memory super small makes it possible to emulate a whole chip with a database lookup table where each loop would do nothing more than lookup what the next gate would be on a real chip, tracing a virtual path through the chip
My idea is that one would create chips that are massively parallel in there structure and the OS on top of it would be massively paralelized in its structure and the programs on top of them would be massively parallelized.
Simpler chips that have massive lookup tables instead of many gates (just enough to make a loop and query a well index database of the gates )
So you would have a loop as I explained earlier that would execute based on inputs a search of a the tiny memory database and create an emulated NAND AND NOR XOR etc for each pass thru the loop so the chips would be simple and have hundreds or thousand or millions of them running in parallel.