Image 1 - New Technology Paves The Way To A New Future For Hard Drives
February 8, 2012

A New Future For Hard Drives?

A new technology developed by a team of international researchers could make current computer hard drive technology obsolete.

The researchers said the new technology uses heat to write information to magnetic storage systems, instead of magnetic fields.

This technique would allow hard drives to write hundreds of times faster than current drives, recording thousands of gigabytes per second.

"Instead of using a magnetic field to record information on a magnetic medium, we harnessed much stronger internal forces and recorded information using only heat," University of York physicist Thomas Ostler said in a statement.

The technology uses ultra-short heat pulses to change the magnetism of material in the drive, which allows for faster drives.

"This revolutionary method allows the recording of Terabytes - thousands of gigabytes -  of information per second, hundreds of times faster than present hard drive technology," Ostler said in a statement.

Modern magnetic hard drives are based on a principle that sees that the north pole of a magnet is attracted to the south pole of another, and two like poles repulse.

The team has demonstration that the positions of both 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 magnetism.

“For centuries it has been believed that heat can only destroy the magnetic order," Dr Alexey Kimel, from the Institute of Molecules and Materials, Radboud University Nijmegen, said in a statement. "Now we have successfully demonstrated that it can, in fact, be a sufficient stimulus for recording information on a magnetic medium.”

The researchers published their findings in the February edition of the journal Nature Communications.


Image 2: The ultimate magnetic storage medium, consisting of many individual nanometre sized magnetic grains with a density of 10 petabytes/m^2. The data is written to the device using an ultrafast heating process to drive the reversal at a data rate of 200Gb/s. Compared to today's hard drive technology this would allow 10 times the amount of storage capacity and 300 times the performance. Credit: Richard Evans, University of York [ More Images ]


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