Thursday, February 9, 2012

Recording Data through heat could lead to faster magnetic Hard Drives

When it comes to computer components like processor, RAM and graphics everything is getting faster and cheaper than ever before, the only thing that's not keeping up with speeds is data storage devices, although we have SSDs but they don't have a lot of space and it is seen that they tend to degrade in performance over time. As a result the good old magnetic hard drive is still the choice for many, because its cheaper and has more storage space than existing SSD for the price.

All that being said, an international team of scientists have demonstrated a revolutionary new technology of magnetic recording which will allow information to be processed hundreds of times faster than by current hard-drive technology. The multinational team of scientists and researchers from countries which include Spain, Switzerland, Ukraine, Russia, Japan and the Netherlands. Experimental work for the research was carried out at the Paul Scherrer Institute in Switzerland, the Ioffe Physical Technical Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences and Radboud University Nijmegen, in Netherlands.

It was found that data could be recorded by using heat which was never thought of before. Existing hard drive and other magnetic storage devices use a magnetic field to bring changes in the polarity of magnetic domains within the hard drives metallic plate, but there is a limitation to the speed of writing and reading the data. Until now it has been believed that in order to record one bit of information by inverting the poles of a magnet  there is a need to apply an external magnetic field. The stronger the applied field, the faster the recording of a magnetic bit of information.  

Initially the two nano islands have different magnetic orientation (black and white respectively). After the application of a single heat pulse, the magnetic direction of both islands changes. Further pulses repeat the process, switching the magnetic state back and forth.
How this new technology works is; instead of using a magnetic field to record information on a magnetic medium, it  harnesses  a much stronger internal forces and recorded information using only heat. It was found that the North and South poles of a magnet can be inverted by an ultrashort heat pulse, harnessing the power of much stronger internal forces of magnetic media. This new revolutionary method allows recording of Terabytes (i.e. thousands of Gigabytes) of information per second, hundreds of times faster than any of the present hard drive storage technology. The added benefit to it is of energy consumption as there is no need for a magnetic field its far more efficient. 

This technology sounds pretty promising, the only hope is that unlike other researches which never make it in the industry a lot of time this one might just make it though. The other advantage is it could probably utilized excess heat generated by the processor etc.

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