Scientists use heat to store data on magnetic hard drive

By on February 8, 2012, 1:00 PM

A multinational team of scientists have discovered a new method to store data magnetically that is hundreds of times faster than current hard drives are capable of. Data is stored on a traditional spinning hard drive by applying an external magnetic field that inverts the polarity on the media (representing a zero or a one), thus recording a single bit each time the external field is introduced.

The new method demonstrated by the research team uses a laser that fires for 1/10,000 of a nanosecond and generates enough heat to successfully change the polarity on the media. Dr. Alexey Kimel from the Institute of Molecules and Materials noted that for centuries, it was believed that heat could only destroy the magnetic order but now it has been proven to be a sufficient stimulus for recording information on a magnetic medium.

The Register points out that using a laser in this manner isn’t entirely new as TDK has been a using heat-assisted magnetic recording system in a similar way, although the new technique is much faster than any competing technology.

The end result is the ability to record terabytes of data per second and because there is no need for a magnetic field, there is also less energy consumed.

The technology is still a long way from commercialization, however. The results were so unexpected that even the scientists who discovered the method aren’t entirely sure how or why it works. It will also be a challenge to embed a powerful enough laser onto a read head of a hard drive without drawing too much power, says ZDNET.

The team’s findings have been published in the February edition of Nature Communications.




User Comments: 13

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Guest said:

Another new and exiting technology that most likely won't make it to the market.

Guest said:

Typo: *exciting

MrTomTom said:

Why embed the laser directly on the read head ? I believe a mirror would make it much lighter with a laser at the base of the actuator arm.

Guest said:

"Why embed the laser directly on the read head ? I believe a mirror would make it much lighter with a laser at the base of the actuator arm." ... or perhaps a tiny fibre optic tube.

Chazz said:

Could they make a very long laser, so that all parts of the disk(that are under the line of lights) can be read and written to at the same time if needed. It would make striping your HD useless.. and speed up access times yes?

ikesmasher said:

as soon is this is mass produced for consumers, im investing all of my moneyz.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Guest said:
MrTomTom said:

Why embed the laser directly on the read head ? I believe a mirror would make it much lighter with a laser at the base of the actuator arm.

... or perhaps a tiny fibre optic tube.

I assume you think the laser wouldn't damage the fiber optic's.

Guest said:

Yeah, me too; I'm selling my house right now XD

Ranger1st Ranger1st said:

it only took Blu Ray 14 years to get to market.. I'm sure we'll se this .. maybe in 20.

jmjsquared jmjsquared said:

Guest said:

Another new and exiting technology that most likely won't make it to the market.

C'mon, now. Don't be so sinical. :-(

jmjsquared jmjsquared said:

Guest said:

Typo: *exciting

Typo: *Damned cynical. ;-)

Guest said:

Am I correct in assuming this won't make read speeds any faster?

stewi0001 stewi0001 said:

Guest said:

Am I correct in assuming this won't make read speeds any faster?

I agree with that assumption since they are recording via magnetism thus they need another way to read it.

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