New Fujitsu optical head promises terabit per square inch recording

Fujitsui has developed a new optical drive element that could one day achieve one terabit per square inch recording. The element is for thermally assisted magnetic drives and helps focus heat onto a hard drive platter so that a magnetic head can record more data. The new head element, along with perpendicular recording technology, will help hard drive companies increase capacities.

The new element can focus on a "sub-hundred nanometer" spot and can achieve a spot size of 88nm by 60nm. The focused spot is heated by the element which allows a magnetic recording head to pack more data onto the platter.

Heat-assisted magnetic recording or HAMR has been researched for several years now. The theory is that hard drive bits cannot keep shrinking forever because the magnetic bits will start interfering with each other. By heating a spot, a bit can be recorded more easily and the subsequent cooling will stabilize the data.

Fujitsu has recently made other advancements to increase drive capacities. Last year the company announced new lubricants and a lower head flying height. It also has changed the materials used in the drive head.