Your next hard drive could be made of depleted uranium

Single molecules made up of two uranium atoms are able to store a magnetic charge. The reason to care about this little physical quirk is that we might be able to use depleted uranium to create hard drives that are hundreds, or even thousands of times more dense than drives we have today.

Depleted uranium is uranium that's had all (or most) of the radioactive U-235 sucked out of it, leaving just the regular old U-238. As it turns out, if you get the stuff cold enough and work it into a custom molecule with two atoms of uranium, it turns into a little tiny molecular magnet that you can encode with data. Seeing as these molecular bits are the size of, you know, molecules, you can stuff more of them into a given area of hard disk than has ever been possible before.

Scientists at the University of Nottingham, where the research was conducted, were careful to be buzzkills and say that "at this stage it is too early to say where this research might lead." It's pretty obvious, though, and it's not just about lots more storage in the same amount of space: it's also about the same amount of storage in a minuscule amount of space, making mobile electronics even more mobile.

Futurity, via Gizmodo

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