Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors


Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Nanospheres stretch limits of hard disk storage

Abstract:
A new magnetic recording medium made up of tiny nanospheres has been devised by European researchers. The technology may lead to hard disks able to store more than a thousand billion bits of information in a square inch.

Nanospheres stretch limits of hard disk storage

EU | Posted on June 15th, 2010

With consumer PCs now being sold with hard disks of a terabyte or more - enough to record more than two years of music - storage capacity seems to be expanding without limit. But the limits are there and industry insiders know that they are approaching fast.

Present-day hard disks record information on a ferromagnetic layer. The layer is made up of grains about 7 nanometres across and each ‘bit' of information is contained in a magnetised cell covering perhaps 60 to 80 grains. When the magnetic field is pointing one way a ‘1' is stored and when it points the opposite way a ‘0' is stored.

One way of packing information on to a disk would be to make the cells smaller. But with fewer grains per cell, the signal to noise ratio rises and with it the probability of a bit being misread.

The obvious answer is to use a recording medium with smaller grains, but then thermal stability problems arise. "Over time, if the thermal stability is not large enough, the magnetic orientation will flip to the opposite direction so it will lose its information," says Manfred Albrecht of the Chemnitz University of Technology.


Nanospheres
He favours a completely new approach using techniques from nanotechnology to construct a ‘patterned' recording surface made up not of irregular grains but of purpose-made magnetic cells. "The problem now is how can you produce these nanostructures on a large scale at low cost?"

Albrecht coordinated the EU-funded MAFIN project which sought to build regular arrays of cells from tiny magnetised nanospheres. The spheres are made of silica and are commercially available in a range of sizes. After testing many different sizes the MAFIN team settled on spheres 25 nanometres in diameter, bigger than conventional grains but smaller than normal storage cells.

The attraction of using nanospheres is that they will assemble themselves into a regular array. The nanospheres are mixed with an alcohol-based solution that is dropped on to the substrate. As the alcohol evaporates the spheres are left in a regular pattern.

"We then deposited a magnetic film on top of the particles to form a magnetic ‘cap'," Albrecht explains. "And if you do it right then this magnetic cap acts as a single magnet, with a north and a south pole, and the array can be used as a storage device."

Whether the cap is magnetised with a north or south pole upwards determines whether it is storing a ‘1' or a ‘0'.

Iron-platinum alloy
The magnetic film is an iron-platinum alloy that has already attracted interest within the magnetic storage industry. It is coated on to the nanospheres by magnetron-sputter deposition. As silica itself is non-magnetic, each cap is isolated from its neighbours and can hold its magnetisation well.

Self-assembly of the nanospheres is guided by pre-patterning of the silicate substrate by x-ray lithography to create tiny pits for the spheres to settle into.

"I believe that self-assembly-based approaches have the largest potential because they are not expensive," Albrecht says. "They are very low cost."

A spacing of 25 nanometres between spheres is equivalent to a storage density of one terabit (1000 gigabits) per square inch. Using the same approach with smaller spheres researchers should be able to attain densities up to six times higher.

As well as looking at the recording medium, MAFIN researchers have also investigated recording techniques. Iron-platinum is harder to magnetise than conventional media, so modifications will be needed to allow information to be easily recorded and read.

Opportunities for industry
The team investigated using a probe with a fine magnetic tip to magnetise and read each of the nanospheres instead of a conventional recording head.

MAFIN finished in May 2009 but its work has carried over into a successor EU project, TERAMAGSTOR. While MAFIN was concerned with a proof of concept, the new project aims to demonstrate a hard disk with a storage density exceeding one terabit per square inch.

Albrecht sees opportunities for European industry to develop the manufacturing processes that new, nanostructured storage media will require. "In Europe we don't have a real industry that produces hard drives," he says. "It's all in Asia and the USA. But we have manufacturers of deposition tools and expertise in sputter technology."

The glass substrates of conventional hard disks will not be suitable for the high-temperature processes needed to deposit alloys, so European companies with know-how in ceramic materials may also have a role to play.

MAFIN received funding from FET - Open initiative of the EU's Sixth Framework Programme for research.

####

For more information, please click here

Copyright © ICT Results

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

An accelerated pipeline to open materials research: ORNL workflow system unites imaging, algorithms, and HPC to advance materials discovery and design July 24th, 2016

Russian physicists discover a new approach for building quantum computers: Physicists find a way of 'bundling together' multiple elements of a quantum computer July 24th, 2016

A 'smart dress' for oil-degrading bacteria July 24th, 2016

New superconducting coil improves MRI performance: UH-led research offers higher resolution, shorter scan time July 23rd, 2016

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

An accelerated pipeline to open materials research: ORNL workflow system unites imaging, algorithms, and HPC to advance materials discovery and design July 24th, 2016

Quantum drag:University of Iowa physicist says current in one iron magnetic sheet can create quantized spin waves in another, separate sheet July 22nd, 2016

New reaction for the synthesis of nanostructures July 21st, 2016

Weird quantum effects stretch across hundreds of miles July 21st, 2016

Possible Futures

An accelerated pipeline to open materials research: ORNL workflow system unites imaging, algorithms, and HPC to advance materials discovery and design July 24th, 2016

Russian physicists discover a new approach for building quantum computers: Physicists find a way of 'bundling together' multiple elements of a quantum computer July 24th, 2016

A 'smart dress' for oil-degrading bacteria July 24th, 2016

New superconducting coil improves MRI performance: UH-led research offers higher resolution, shorter scan time July 23rd, 2016

Academic/Education

News from Quorum: The College of New Jersey use the Quorum Cryo-SEM preparation system in a project to study ice crystals in high altitude clouds July 19th, 2016

Leti and Korea Institute of Science and Technology to Explore Collaboration on Advanced Technologies for Digital Era July 14th, 2016

SUNY Poly Celebrates Its 10th Year Exhibiting at SEMICON West with Cutting Edge Developments in Integrated Photonics and Power Electronics July 8th, 2016

FEI and King Abdullah University of Science and Technology Establish New Electron Microscopy ‘Centre of Excellence’: Centre of Excellence involves materials and life sciences research and technical collaboration July 5th, 2016

Chip Technology

An accelerated pipeline to open materials research: ORNL workflow system unites imaging, algorithms, and HPC to advance materials discovery and design July 24th, 2016

Russian physicists discover a new approach for building quantum computers: Physicists find a way of 'bundling together' multiple elements of a quantum computer July 24th, 2016

Quantum drag:University of Iowa physicist says current in one iron magnetic sheet can create quantized spin waves in another, separate sheet July 22nd, 2016

New Yale-developed device lengthens the life of quantum information July 22nd, 2016

Memory Technology

Research team led by NUS scientists develop plastic flexible magnetic memory device: Novel technique to implant high-performance magnetic memory chip on a flexible plastic surface without compromising performance July 21st, 2016

The birth of quantum holography: Making holograms of single light particles! July 21st, 2016

Smallest hard disk to date writes information atom by atom July 20th, 2016

Atomic bits despite zero-point energy? Jülich scientists explore novel ways of developing stable nanomagnets July 11th, 2016

Self Assembly

WSU researchers develop shape-changing 'smart' material: Heat, light stimulate self-assembly July 4th, 2016

Building a smart cardiac patch: 'Bionic' cardiac patch could one day monitor and respond to cardiac problems June 28th, 2016

Self-assembling icosahedral protein designed: Self-assembling icosahedral protein designed June 22nd, 2016

DNA shaping up to be ideal framework for rationally designed nanostructures: Shaped DNA frames that precisely link nanoparticles into different structures offer a platform for designing functional nanomaterials June 14th, 2016

Announcements

An accelerated pipeline to open materials research: ORNL workflow system unites imaging, algorithms, and HPC to advance materials discovery and design July 24th, 2016

Russian physicists discover a new approach for building quantum computers: Physicists find a way of 'bundling together' multiple elements of a quantum computer July 24th, 2016

A 'smart dress' for oil-degrading bacteria July 24th, 2016

New superconducting coil improves MRI performance: UH-led research offers higher resolution, shorter scan time July 23rd, 2016

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE




  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







Car Brands
Buy website traffic