Is Charly Stross' Memory Diamond Already Reality?
One of the great ideas, Charly Stross tosses around, is that of a Memory Diamond:
I’m throwing around fairly gigantic amounts of data in this talk – where are we going to store it all? The answer is, as Richard Fenyman put it in 1959, there’s plenty of room at the bottom. Let’s hypothesize a very high density, non-volatile serial storage medium that might be manufactured using molecular nanotechnology: I call it memory diamond. It’s a diamondoid mesh, within which the state of a single data bit is encoded in each atom: because we want it to be rigid and stable, we use a carbon–12 nucleus to represent a zero, and a carbon-thirteen to represent a one. How we read and write these bits is left as an exercise for the student of mature molecular nanotechnology, but we can say with some certainty that we can store Avogadro’s number of bits – 6 x 1023 – in 12.5 grams of carbon, or around 13 thousand terabytes in an ounce of memory diamond. Going by the figures in a report from UCSD last year, the average worker processed or consumed 3 terabytes per year, and there are around 3.18 billion workers; which works out at 23 tons of memory diamond needed to store everything without compression or deduplication. At a guess, once you take out cute captioned cat videos and downloads that annoy the hell out of the MPAA you can reduce that by an order of magnitude.Two completely different quantum systems were successfully joined at Vienna University of Technology (TU Vienna):
(So I conclude that yes, in the long term we will have more storage capacity than we necessarily know what to do with.)
For jewellery, diamonds are supposed to be pure and flawless, but for quantum experiments, the opposite is required. Here, flaws in the diamond are desirable. When nitrogen atoms slip into the regular carbon structure of the diamond, the diamond becomes almost black, but it gains the ability to store quantum states. “We could show that in our quantum chip, quantum states can actually be transferred between the microwaves and the nitrogen-centers in the diamond”, Robert Amsüss (TU Vienna) explains. The more nitrogen atoms take part in this transfer of quantum information, the more stable the diamonds “memory” becomes.
Surprisingly, it turned out that also the angular momentum of the atomic nuclei can store quantum information. “This could be the first step towards a nuclear memory device”, Johannes Majer suggests.
This should make stuff like the mDisc obsolete.