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: Argonne research expanding from injectors to inhalers

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Cool deep-water protects coral reefs against heat stress

Jan 07, 2015

Cool currents from the deep ocean could save tropical corals from lethal heat stress. Researchers from Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for ...

How to find a submarine

Oct 23, 2014

Das Boot, The Hunt for Red October, The Bedford Incident, We Dive At Dawn: films based on submariners' experience reflect the tense and unusual nature of undersea warfare – where it is often not how well ...

Recommended for you

Argonne research expanding from injectors to inhalers

2 hours ago

There is a world of difference between tailpipes and windpipes, but researchers at the Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory have managed to link the two with groundbreaking research that could ...

Pennies reveal new insights on the nature of randomness

9 hours ago

The concept of randomness appears across scientific disciplines, from materials science to molecular biology. Now, theoretical chemists at Princeton have challenged traditional interpretations of randomness ...

User comments : 0

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.