Pushing the limits of hard disk storage

October 7, 2005

Just how much data can we cram onto a hard disk? In a paper appearing online today in Physical Review Letters, EPFL (Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne) Professor Harald Brune and his colleagues report what they believe to be the ultimate density limit of magnetic recording.

His group created a self-assembled lattice of non-interacting two-atoms-high islands of cobalt on a single-crystal gold substrate. The islands' density -- 26 trillion islands per square inch -- is the highest yet recorded and 200 times the bit density of current computer hard disks. The magnetic properties of the islands are the most uniform ever recorded, and because the islands don't interact with each other, they can each hold one bit of data.

However, it's not a storage medium "ready to use" because these records were posted at the uncomfortably cold temperature of -223 C! Above this temperature, thermal excitation starts to reverse the magnetization and the information in the memory gets volatile.

Brune and his colleagues are still trying to solve this blocking temperature problem using bi-metallic islands of 500-800 atoms that can maintain the desired magnetic properties at room temperature.

On the web: ipn2.epfl.ch/LNS/index.htm

Source: Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

Explore further: Scientists use bait and hooks to explore the lives of sharks

Related Stories

NOAA: Warm oceans cause concern of coral bleaching (Update)

July 6, 2015

Abnormally warm ocean temperatures are creating conditions that threaten to kill coral across the equatorial Pacific, north Pacific and western Atlantic oceans, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Monday.

Recommended for you

Reshaping the solar spectrum to turn light to electricity

July 28, 2015

When it comes to installing solar cells, labor cost and the cost of the land to house them constitute the bulk of the expense. The solar cells—made often of silicon or cadmium telluride—rarely cost more than 20 percent ...

New blow for 'supersymmetry' physics theory

July 27, 2015

In a new blow for the futuristic "supersymmetry" theory of the universe's basic anatomy, experts reported fresh evidence Monday of subatomic activity consistent with the mainstream Standard Model of particle physics.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.