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: Progress in the fight against quantum dissipation

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

The Isthmus of Panama: Out of the Deep Earth

Apr 01, 2014

As dates in geologic history go, the formation of the slender land bridge that joins South America and North America is a red-letter one. More than once over the past 100 million years, the two great landmasses ...

Tracking reveals hidden lives of elephant seals

Mar 27, 2014

Researchers at the University of California, Santa Cruz, who pioneered the use of satellite tags to monitor the migrations of elephant seals, have compiled one of the largest datasets available for any marine ...

NREL driving research on hydrogen fuel cells

Mar 25, 2014

Hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV) were the belles of the ball at recent auto shows in Los Angeles and Tokyo, and researchers at the Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) ...

UN scientists see grim future if no climate action

Mar 23, 2014

UN scientists are set to deliver their darkest report yet on the impacts of climate change, pointing to a future stalked by floods, drought, conflict and economic damage if carbon emissions go untamed.

Lord of the bees

Mar 21, 2014

(Phys.org) —James Hung has collected more than 17,000 wild bees from coastal, desert and mountain areas of San Diego County. But many of his specimens bear little resemblance to the honey bees we normally ...

Recommended for you

Progress in the fight against quantum dissipation

7 hours ago

(Phys.org) —Scientists at Yale have confirmed a 50-year-old, previously untested theoretical prediction in physics and improved the energy storage time of a quantum switch by several orders of magnitude. ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Progress in the fight against quantum dissipation

(Phys.org) —Scientists at Yale have confirmed a 50-year-old, previously untested theoretical prediction in physics and improved the energy storage time of a quantum switch by several orders of magnitude. ...

Down's chromosome cause genome-wide disruption

The extra copy of Chromosome 21 that causes Down's syndrome throws a spanner into the workings of all the other chromosomes as well, said a study published Wednesday that surprised its authors.

Meteorites yield clues to Martian early atmosphere

(Phys.org) —Geologists who analyzed 40 meteorites that fell to Earth from Mars unlocked secrets of the Martian atmosphere hidden in the chemical signatures of these ancient rocks. Their study, published ...