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Fujitsu creates readable, writeable 'nanohole' hard drive

Step toward 1TB per square inch data density

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Fujitsu's scheme to produce hard drives that can hold a terabyte of data in each square inch of recording surface has taken a step closer to realisation. It has made a 2.5in disk made of its proposed 'patterned medium' and verified the disc's read/write capability.

Fujitsu's approach uses anodised aluminium to create a pattern of "nanoholes", each holding a portion of magnetic material used to store a single bit of data. The aluminium-oxide surrounding these so-called 'nanoholes' helps magnetically insulate each bit from all the others, preventing one from affecting another, which might lead to data corruption.

Fujitsu began work on patterned media in June 2005. In January 2007, it said it had brought the technique forward to the point at which it could pledge it will be able to one day produce 1TB per square inch storage-density drives.

That density requires nanoholes of diameter 13nm. Fujitsu currently can get them down to 25nm. That said, it used 100nm holes for its latest effort: to make a 2.5in patterned media rotating disk capable of being read and written using a "currently available" flying read/write head.

Fujitsu said it had also created for the first time an "ideally ordered" arrangement of nanoholes that that drives are going to need to be able to function efficiently.

While the parts are coming together, the 1TB per square inch drive is still some way off: Fujitsu has said in the past it expects such products to appear in the 2010 timeframe.

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