Pushing the limits of hard disk storage

Oct 07, 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: Atomic trigger shatters mystery of how glass deforms

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

How the bicycle got its spokes

Oct 13, 2014

The humble two-wheeler is a miracle of engineering. But just how did we get from the Penny Farthing to Kevlar tyres?

Mars tech electrifies Earth

May 21, 2014

Some of the wind turbines generating electricity on Earth today grew out of technology developed in the 1990s for settlements on Mars.

Scientists announce top 10 new species for 2014 (w/ Video)

May 22, 2014

An appealing carnivorous mammal, a 12-meter-tall tree that has been hiding in plain sight and a sea anemone that lives under an Antarctic glacier are among the species identified by the SUNY College of Environmental ...

Recommended for you

Atomic trigger shatters mystery of how glass deforms

Oct 18, 2014

Throw a rock through a window made of silica glass, and the brittle, insulating oxide pane shatters. But whack a golf ball with a club made of metallic glass—a resilient conductor that looks like metal—and the glass not ...

Superconducting circuits, simplified

Oct 17, 2014

Computer chips with superconducting circuits—circuits with zero electrical resistance—would be 50 to 100 times as energy-efficient as today's chips, an attractive trait given the increasing power consumption ...

Protons hog the momentum in neutron-rich nuclei

Oct 16, 2014

Like dancers swirling on the dance floor with bystanders looking on, protons and neutrons that have briefly paired up in the nucleus have higher-average momentum, leaving less for non-paired nucleons. Using ...

Cosmic jets of young stars formed by magnetic fields

Oct 16, 2014

Astrophysical jets are counted among our Universe's most spectacular phenomena: From the centers of black holes, quasars, or protostars, these rays of matter sometimes protrude several light years into space. ...

User comments : 0