You normally associate a double helix with DNA, but an international team headquartered at Cambridge University used 3D printing to create magnetic double helixes that are about a 1,000 times smaller than a human hair. Why do such a thing? We aren’t sure why they started, but they were able to find nanoscale topological features in the magnetic field and they think it will change how magnetic devices work in the future — especially magnetic storage devices.
In particular, researchers feel this is a step towards practical “racetrack” memory that stores magnetic information in three dimensions instead of two and offer high density and RAM-like access times. You can read the full paper if you want the gory details.
The magnetic helix structure forms pair much like actual DNA. You probably won’t be able to 3D print these yourself since the team used electron beam deposition. However, we were entertained to hear they did the modeling in FreeCAD.
Will this lead to terabytes of main storage for your PC? Probably not directly, but it is a step in that direction. It wasn’t long ago that having 640K of memory and 20 megabytes of hard drive seemed like all you would need. One day, we’ll look back on our quaint computers with 32GB of RAM and terabyte disks and wonder how we ever got along.
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Author Of this post: Al Williams