Fujitsu’s ‘Nanohole’ Tech Could Triple Hard Drive Capacity

Last November, we reported on Fujitsu’s efforts to overcome a curious problem with the physics of hard disk drives: storing magnetic data at densities that are smaller than the grains of the underlying ferromagnetic medium should physically allow. The company’s solution involved a combination of lasers to locate precise locations on the drive, and also to pre-heat data spots to make them more conducive to holding data at precise locations.

But all that assumes that the precise locations in question…already exist. Yesterday, we learned from Fujitsu how they intend to accomplish that, and we also got a peek at some areal density goals.

The problem facing HDD engineers has been that perpendicular recording – the process that has already led us to the one-terabyte era for desktop storage – can only go so far. Even higher-capacity drives will be needed soon, not for storing spreadsheets but for serving media…unless CE manufacturers expect every digital home in the 2010s decade to drive their own SANs.Fujitsu’s next big idea literally came from those aluminum “hologram” stickers you frequently see on the front of cereal boxes, and the certification tape of sealed software cases. Making those pretty colors onto aluminum uses a process called anodization, which is a kind of electrolytic “washing” that leaves pits beneath its surface. The non-pitted regions become oxidized to form what’s called alumina.

This pitting can change the color of aluminum, but it also increases its corrosion resistance. The size of those pits has already been known to be “nanoscale.” What if the location of those pits could be predetermined, so a manufacturing process could place pits in an exact arrangement? Then those pits could be exploited for use as bits, in the data sense. Read the full post from the Beta news


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