The computer age marked one of the most important technological revolutions that the world has ever seen. Starting in the late 40â€™s when the first computer was invented, the computer industry has had a massive surge in demand for new hardware and software were created to make computers more and more accessible to everyday people. As of 2017, computers have become the norm in everyoneâ€™s day to day life; compared to back when they were first created where computers took up literarily walls of space to have a couple bytes of storage to now holding millions of bytes in something that is smaller than a fingernail.
This rapid advancement can be attributed to, not only new ways that materials such as silicon can be created but also the concept of Mooreâ€™s Law. Mooreâ€™s Law in laymanâ€™s terms states that roughly every year the processing power/storage of computers doubles. This, however, may soon come to an end due to a possible new discovery that may enhance computer storage far beyond the current known process. This discovery instead of reading data a bit at a time as the current system does will take advantage of the orientation of magnetized particles in order to store data.
As of 2016, an MIT research team under the direction of associate professor Geoffrey Beach, have found the existence of these particles called Skyrmions. When they were first discovered, the team found that the location of the particles was completely random. However, as of recently Beach and his team have found a way to create Skyrmions, place them in any location, and control their orientation using an electric field.
Due to the fact that Skyrmions are particles, their size will only range from just a couple of atoms in length. This provides the advantage of having several thousand or eventually perhaps even millions of Skyrmions on a metallic sheet, each one being able to store massive amounts of data. Compared to the conventional magnetic storage that currently exists where data is stored in individual magnetic poles, using the new system the same amount of data could be stored in a very small area. This will make it much more efficient, than the conventional hard drive, or even the use of Random Access Memory.
While this system has recently overcome the huge hurdle of being able to create Skyrmions, placing them in the desired location, and controlling their orientation by using an electric field; there are still some problems which have slowed down the commercialization of this technology.
While the system has been tested and can store data very effectively, it still has problems with reading out the data once itâ€™s already stored. While not impossible, the current method the team is using is not commercial friendly and too expensive. The team currently is using X-Ray Spectroscopy to read the data once it is stored, however, this is very expensive costing $40 thousand to $50 thousand.
Even these limitations are prominent the team is currently finding new more efficient methods of extracting data without using X-Ray spectroscopy. The team theorizes that by adding an additional layer to the other metallic layers and making specific textures on this added layer they might be able to detect the presence of a Skyrmion if itâ€™s present or not.