After three years of experimentation, the team can now control a set of microscopic interactions between the molecules.
Current information processing uses a switching process of zeros and ones to process and store bits of information. Dr Heutz believes she could improve on this process to increase memory. So far the team can switch the interactions from on/off and change the state of the interaction from on to a different type of on. They are still experimenting with ways to turn the interaction off/on. When they find this last interaction Dr Heutz believes she will have a superior set of molecular signals for information processing and storage.
Electronic devices already use magnetism as a system for processing and storing information. These experiments prove that we will be able to replace the current electro-magnetic process with a magnetic interaction between molecules of MPc, said Dr Heutz.
Dr Heutz says it could take a further five years to practically apply this technology. When the refinements are complete she believes exploiting MPc molecules will have enormous benefits in the development of spintronics - a process which relies on the spin of atoms or molecules to store trillions of bits of information per square inch.
She also believes these molecular interactions have the potential to process qubits of information in quantum computing. According to current theories, quantum computing is expected to harness the properties of quantum mechanics to perform tasks that classical computers cannot do in a reasonable time.<
|Contact: Colin Smith|
Imperial College London