How Much Storage Capacity is in a Speck of Dust?

…apparently enough to hold the entire Library of Congress.

Scientists have created a computer memory system that uses individual atoms to store 0s and 1s. The new storage mechanism is 2-3 hundred times denser than even the densest storage technology used today.

Their memory holds 8128 bits, or a kilobyte, and measures just 96 nanometres by 126 nanometres…

The memory is made of chlorine atoms on a copper surface that is dented with pits, called vacancies. A scanning tunnelling microscope (STM) picks up individual atoms and moves them into or out of the vacancies. The presence or absence of an atom in each pit represents either a 1 or 0.

There is discussion about how the technology could scale, which is where the idea of storing the Library of Congress in a dust speck comes from. In principle I understand how the technology works in two dimensions, but to be truly dense it would need to be some sort of cube configuration and I don’t quite understand how the technology would work 3D. Any physicists out there have an idea?


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