TechSpot means tech analysis and advice you can trust. Read our ethics statement.
Want to own a storage device with a capacity so large it will put your traditional hard drive to shame? Try Sony's new magnetic tape drive, which features the world's highest areal recording density, allowing a single drive to feature a whopping 185 TB of storage capacity.
Sony achieved such a feat by "creating a nano-grained magnetic layer with fine magnetic particles and uniform crystalline orientation" through the use of sputter deposition, a technique purposed to form thin films consisting of multiple layers of crystals. By "optimizing sputter conditions" and creating a smooth soft magnetic underlayer, Sony's primary data layer has fine magnetic particles 7.7nm in size on average.
Standard coated magnetic tape drives (an array of which are seen above) use simpler technology, but have significantly lower capacities with areal densities around 2 Gb per square inch. Sony's new magnetic tape technology features an areal density of 148 Gb per inch, which is 74 times denser.
Magnetic tape drives will never be a feature of your home computer, as they're typically a slow form of storage, but they will be an asset for supercomputers and data archival centers who require large capacity storage without a huge physical footprint.