Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Prussian Blue for information storage

19.01.2007
In the family of Prussian blue, there is a compound that can act as a switch: it is not magnetic at the outset, but it can become magnetized by the effect of light and return to its initial state by heating.

Researchers of the Institute of Molecular Chemistry and Materials of Orsay (CNRS/University of Paris XI) and the Laboratory of Inorganic Chemistry and Molecular Materials (CNRS/University of Paris VI) showed that this change of state is due to the collective modification of the position of the atoms, induced by light. Such compounds, which can memorize binary information, could be used as storage bits for future computers. This work was presented in the journal Angewandte Chemie International Edition (after the online publication of January 9, 2007).

In the field of computers, society's demand for capacity to store information is increasing exponentially and has led to the development of the nanosciences: storing ever larger quantities of information in volumes as small as possible and as rapidly as possible. The first hard disk, the RAMAC, built by IBM in 1954, weighed one ton and stored five megabytes. In today's portable computers and MP3 readers, the hard disks store several gigabytes and weigh only a few hundred or even a few dozen grams. To further miniaturize these devices and to give users greater freedom, many chemists are making new switchable materials, i.e. ones that can switch from one state (OFF = 0) to another (ON = 1) by the effect of an outside impulse (variation of temperature, pressure, light, magnetic or electrical impulse), keeping the memory of the state in which they were found. The chemists of the two teams hope in this way to succeed in storing information on the scale of a few atoms.

They are working on Prussian blue. By replacing some of the atoms or iron with cobalt, they transform this pigment known since ancient times into a compound that can act as a switch: illuminated by a red light at low temperature (-150°C), this compound shifts from a non-magnetic state (OFF) to a magnetic state (ON) in a way that is stable over time. If it is heated, it returns to the OFF state. This change of state is due to the transfer of an electron from the cobalt to the iron (and vice-versa), by absorption of light or thermal energy.

Today, using synchrotron radiation, chemists have observed a collective modification of the position of the atoms in space, induced by the shift of the electron from one atom to the other. When the electron goes from the iron atom (OFF state) to the cobalt atom (ON state) due to the red light, the three-dimensional links between the cobalt, nitrogen, carbon and iron atoms, which were initially bent, become linear. This structural modification is responsible for the existence of this magnetic state and its stability over time. This knowledge on the atomic scale of the mechanisms associated with ON/OFF switching is an essential first step for chemists towards imagining materials that could be used by industry to store information on the scale of a few atoms.

These new compounds perfectly reproduce the storage function of traditional components. As it will soon be impossible to reduce the size of the current components without having them lose their memory functions, chemists are dreaming up materials that could take over and meet society's demand for miniaturized information storage.

Monica Mccarthy | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.cnrs-dir.fr

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht New Foldable Drone Flies through Narrow Holes in Rescue Missions
12.12.2018 | Universität Zürich

nachricht NIST's antenna evaluation method could help boost 5G network capacity and cut costs
11.12.2018 | National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Data use draining your battery? Tiny device to speed up memory while also saving power

The more objects we make "smart," from watches to entire buildings, the greater the need for these devices to store and retrieve massive amounts of data quickly without consuming too much power.

Millions of new memory cells could be part of a computer chip and provide that speed and energy savings, thanks to the discovery of a previously unobserved...

Im Focus: An energy-efficient way to stay warm: Sew high-tech heating patches to your clothes

Personal patches could reduce energy waste in buildings, Rutgers-led study says

What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...

Im Focus: Lethal combination: Drug cocktail turns off the juice to cancer cells

A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.

The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...

Im Focus: New Foldable Drone Flies through Narrow Holes in Rescue Missions

A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.

Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...

Im Focus: Topological material switched off and on for the first time

Key advance for future topological transistors

Over the last decade, there has been much excitement about the discovery, recognised by the Nobel Prize in Physics only two years ago, that there are two types...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

ICTM Conference 2019: Digitization emerges as an engineering trend for turbomachinery construction

12.12.2018 | Event News

New Plastics Economy Investor Forum - Meeting Point for Innovations

10.12.2018 | Event News

EGU 2019 meeting: Media registration now open

06.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Data use draining your battery? Tiny device to speed up memory while also saving power

14.12.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Tangled magnetic fields power cosmic particle accelerators

14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

In search of missing worlds, Hubble finds a fast evaporating exoplanet

14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>