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Canon looks to nanoholes to drive up storage densities

One terabit per square inch, anyone?

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Expect storage media capacities to increase significantly this decade, if Canon's latest research bears commercial fruit.

The company this week said its R&D division has developed a material capable of supporting data densities of 500Gb per square inch. By comparison, Fujitsu's top-of-the-line 2.5in hard drive, which the company claims has the highest data density in the world, can store 100Gb per square inch.

And Canon's ambition is to extend its new material to provide data densities of around 1000Gb per square inch (1Tb) by 2010.

The company's boffins have essentially developed a material substrate into which magnetic elements made of cobalt, cobalt alloys, or nickel compounds can be embedded. The magnetic particles sit inside cylindrical pockets called 'nanoholes', each of which is 50nm in diameter and 500nm deep.

Canon reckons the technology will allow it to reach its anticipated data densities more quickly than can its rivals who are attempting to stretch the limits of conventional materials. The Japanese giant also believes its process will be cheaper.

Initial versions of the process are expected to appear in commercial products in 2007-2008. ®

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