Fujitsu paves way to 5 TB hard drives

Sunnyvale (CA) - Fujitsu claims that it has developed a key technology that would allow the company to quintuple today's highest commercial storage densities in hard disk media. If researchers will be able to transfer the technology into commercial products, we could see 5 TB desktop drives and 1.5 TB notebook drives in the not too distant future.

Fujitsu's news describes a one of first details and outlooks provided by one of the leading hard drive manufacturers about its patterned media technology research. So far largely limited to paper publications and simulation programs, Fujitsu claims that it was able to build a patterned media device with a one-dimensional array nanohole pattern with a track width of only 25 nm.

Fujitsu was not able to comment on the track width of the hard drives in production today, but mentioned that the technology would allow storage density to climb to about 1 Tb/inch2 - more than five times the density that is available in production hard drives today. This density corresponds to what most hard drive manufacturers consider to be "superparamagnetic" limit for the recently introduced perpendicular magnetic recording technology (PMR). The current storage density record is held by Seagate, which claimed in September of last year the development of a storage device with 421 Gb/inch2 storage density.

Seagate's current 188 GB/platter 3.5" hard drives use a track width of 175 nm.

At least in theory, a density of 1 Tb/inch2, would translate into 3.5" drives with a capacity of about 5 TB, 2.5" notebook drives with 1.5 TB and 1.8" portable drives with about 500 GB.

Research programs, however, indicate that patterned media could go far beyond 1 Tb. A team of physicists at the University of Houston announced last year that patterned media could reach a density of up to 20 - 40 Tb/inch2.