New HDD technology writes data at ultra-fast rates

An international team of researchers from around the world demonstrated a new way to write digital data onto magnetic storage media, potentially opening the way to one of the most important advancements in the field since the introduction of Perpendicular Magnetic Recording.

Led by University of York’s Department of Physics, the researchers found a way to use heat from a laser pulse to write data on the disk, a novel scenario that paves the way to achieving data writing speeds hundreds of time higher than those of the faster HDDs currently available on the market.

"Instead of using a magnetic field to record information on a magnetic medium", York physicist Thomas Ostler explained, “we harnessed much stronger internal forces and recorded information using only heat”. This new technology approach allows “the recording of Terabytes (thousands of Gigabytes) of information per second”, Ostler says.

The research, published on Nature Communications, describes a way to “fire” a very short pulse from a nano-laser in 1/10,000 of a nanosecond, precisely writing on a special magnetic plate (medium) made of a gadolinium and iron mix. By firing in a short timeframe, the laser needs less energy than a conventional magnetic head so the new method is much more efficient as for energy consumption.

For centuries it has been believed that heat can only destroy the magnetic order”, Dr Alexey Kimel of the Radboud University Nijmegen commented on the research, “now we have successfully demonstrated that it can, in fact, be a sufficient stimulus for recording information on a magnetic medium”.

The laser-powered tech writes faster, uses less energy and is based on a novel approach about magnetic storage, still it has its drawbacks: before entering the market, the new technology needs to be refined as it uses non-conventional materials and a laser head. Furthermore, the researchers gives no clues about actually reading back the data at rates that can be compared to those new writing speeds.

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17 Comments

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This is impressive, and contrary to what people here seem to believe, it is far from "outdated" technology.
The fact is that SSDs are inferior both in terms of throughput and capacity. Their only real advantage is seek time.

wow this is as impressive as CD burning instead of using floppy disks, but yes it is a little too late in a world where SSD's are becoming more affordable and would be faster anyway.

netsendjoe said,
wow this is as impressive as CD burning instead of using floppy disks, but yes it is a little too late in a world where SSD's are becoming more affordable and would be faster anyway.

SSDs have speed, but they have yet to surpass the capacity of mechanical disks. So until that happens, I wouldn't say it's too late.

netsendjoe said,
SSD's are becoming more affordable and would be faster anyway.

I never knew SSD's could write at multiple TB/s?

Too little too late! By the time this goes to market and the price comes down. There will be no need, SSD without its moving parts is more is way more attractive to people that rely on data. It is honestly a step backward from SSD.

"the recording of Terabytes (thousands of Gigabytes) of information per second"
I don't think you grasp how fast that is - those speeds (while idealistic i bet) dwarf SSD write performance. I think comparing this new technology to SSD technology is unfair. Like the traditional HDD, they will serve different uses. I think this is a great development =)

It would seem that it's ability to read back at these speed would depend on the ability of the CPU and ram to process that much data. In other words wouldn't the CPU and ram have to be almost as fast? Just a thought.

This of course has many flaws but is impressive in it's own right. writing terabytes of data per second is fantastic.

I think that reading back the data is fairly key so once they get that figured out then they may have something to work with here. Interesting to see where this goes over the next several years.

Who cares. Mechanical HDs will be a thing from the past 20 years from now. You will see them in museum.

LaP said,
Who cares. Mechanical HDs will be a thing from the past 20 years from now. You will see them in museum.

HDDs will still be around for a while looking at the mediocre capacities offered so far and HDDs not sleeping.
Oh and the bang:buck ratio sucks big time with them as well.

I wouldn't invest in a first generation device like this, but maybe a second when the worst is ironed out for the data that I have traditionally saved redundant copies of.

How about the reaction time?
SSDs biggest plus is the reaction time...

At such writing speeds I bet the rt ain't too shabby either

GS:mac

LaP said,
Who cares. Mechanical HDs will be a thing from the past 20 years from now. You will see them in museum.

Gee, I hope not. I quite like popping open an old/non-functional hard drive for the silver disks. It's like a treasure chest full of awesome coasters!