24TB HDDs – New Technology Might Make it Possible Page: 1

The geeks at Hitachi have developed a revolutionary new hard disk drive technology that could change the capacity of HDDs for ever; the new technology has been developed jointly with NEDO, Japan’s public management organization.

The New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization – NEDO in short, is Japan’s nodal agency promoting research and development on energy and environmental technologies. The new development has come about as a result of the joint efforts of NEDO, the National University Corporation Tokyo Institute of Technology, Kyoto University and Hitachi.

The new technology allows as much as 3.9Tbit of data storage per square inch, which is far greater than anything currently available. The standard HDD today uses magnetic material as storage media. While recording, bits – collection of magnetized particles are laid out end-to-end on the disk platters. Greater the capacity of the platter to accommodate magnetized particles, greater will be the HDD’s storage capacity. Alternatively, smaller the size of the magnetic grains that make up the data bits, higher will be the storage capacity of the disk.

If somehow the magnetic grains can be arranged more efficiently, data storage capacity could be boosted. The research team in Japan has come up with a new patterning technology that allows ultra-high density arrangement of grains. This technology is based on a phenomenon through which polymer materials self-arrange the particles, allowing the formation of accurate magnetic structures as small as 10nm.

Current hard disks have an areal density of around 500Gbits per square inch. If the new technology is applied to such HDDs, the same disks can easily store 8-times the data they are capable of at the moment. Effectively speaking, this would result in HDDs with capacities of 24TB in the near future.

The researchers are still working on refining the technology and expect to present it in a proper form at the 2010 Material Research Society Fall meeting to be held in Boston, Massachusetts between November 29 and December 3.

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