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'Heat' promises quick data storage

Posted: 10 Feb 2012     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:hard disc drives  data storage  magnetic 

A new way of recording data to hard drives could increase their speed by hundreds of times. Scientists claim this technique uses "heat" to record information instead of using magnetic field.

The researchers found they could "record information using only heat – a previously unimaginable scenario. This discovery will not only make future magnetic recording devices faster, but more energy-efficient too."

Physicist Thomas Ostler from University of York said, "Instead of using a magnetic field to record information on a magnetic medium, we harnessed much stronger internal forces and recorded information using only heat. This revolutionary method allows the recording of terabytes (thousands of gigabytes) of information per second, hundreds of times faster than present hard drive technology. As there is no need for a magnetic field, there is also less energy consumption."

"For centuries it has been believed that heat can only destroy the magnetic order. Now we have successfully demonstrated that it can, in fact, be a sufficient stimulus for recording information on a magnetic medium," added Dr Alexey Kimel, from the Institute of Molecules and Materials, Radboud University Nijmegen.

Modern magnetic recording technology employs the principle that the North pole of a magnet is attracted to the South pole of another and two like poles repulse. Until now it has been believed that in order to record one bit of information – by inverting the poles of a magnet – there was a need to apply an external magnetic field. The stronger the applied field, the faster the recording of a magnetic bit of information.

However, the scientists demonstrated that "the positions of both the North and South poles of a magnet can be inverted by an ultrashort heat pulse, harnessing the power of much stronger internal forces of magnetic media."

The results of the research are reported in the February edition of Nature Communications.

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