As perpendicular magnetic recording (PMR) is expected to hit its physical density limit at about 1 Tb per square inch, we are hearing about new and innovative ways how a technology that is in its core more than 40 years old can get another extension.
Heat assisted magnetic recording has been a long time favorite, but scientists have found another approach to reduce the space between magnetic dots on HDD platters and preventing them from impacting each other at the same time.
At least in the lab, the technology uses a direct self assembly approach and would provide a five-fold increase of HDD storage density, breathing four to five more years of life into HDDs.
The idea is based to build tiny "walls" between the dots. The researchers used block copolymers, which lack magnetic properties and can assemble themselves automatically in a "highly regular patterns of dots or lines". If there is already a surface with "guideposts" in place, they can be forced to establish a desired pattern of walls to allow dots to be aligned in a much denser pattern than it is the case today, the scientists claim.
The viability of the discovery depends, of course, on its ability to be introduced into mass-production. The researchers said they are working with HGST to evaluate how easily and economically direct self assembly could be used in HDD manufacturing. In the lab, they said that the block polymers can align themselves in about 30 seconds in "some cases".