Scientists at the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom have created a new molecule containing two uranium atoms that is able to maintain magnetism at low temperatures. The molecule is not the first single-molecule magnet, but uranium (and other actinides) possesses some special properties that make it very well suited to technological applications.
A hard disk based around single-molecule magnets of this type could potentially store hundreds or thousands of times the data that we are able to store today… but there is a catch, and the catch is not that it contains depleted uranium.
In order to maintain its magnetism, the compound in question must be kept below two degrees absolute. Stephen Liddle, one of the brains behind magnetic uranium (officially known as Bis(bis(N-trimethulsilyliminodiphenylphosphorano) methanide uranium iodo) toluenediide), is not proposing that it is the answer. He simply suggests that in the future similar compounds that are able to maintain their magnetism at higher temperatures might be used to store our all-important ones and zeros. Whether or not these compounds will contain any depleted uranium remains to be seen.