Researchers at UCLA and the California Institute of Technology reported in Nature that they’ve demonstrated a large-scale, “ultra-dense” memory device that stores information using reconfigurable molecular switches.
The device stores 160 kilobits right now, and was fabricated at a density of 10^11 bits per square centimeter. Technologists had not predicted we would reach this density until 2020.
In case you want to build one yourself, here’s how you get started:
The memory is based on a series of perpendicular, crossing nanowires, similar to a tic-tac-toe board, with 400 bottom wires and another 400 crossing top wires. Sitting at each crossing of the tic-tac-toe structure and serving as the storage element are approximately 300 bistable rotaxane molecules. These molecules may be switched between two different states, and each junction of a crossbar can be addressed individually by controlling the voltages applied to the appropriate top and bottom crossing wires, forming a bit at each nanowire crossing.