Feeds

Next big thing for hard drives: self-assembling polymers

Busting out of the density crunch

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

University of Texas at Austin boffins are touting an advance in materials which could help squeeze five times as much data onto hard drives.

At a Terabit per square inch, data density is pretty impressive, but it’s getting difficult to put the magnetic elements of hard drives any closer together without them starting to affect each other.

The researchers, led by professor C Grant Willson, are looking to self-assembling polymers which would provide nano-scale structures to “insulate” the magnetic elements from each other, to allow yet-greater density.

Uni of Texas hard disk nanostructure image

The future's fingerprint: organised structures for denser hard drives.

Image: University of Texas at Austin

The group is refining a technique called directed self-assembly (DSA), pioneered by MIT and the University of Wisconsin. The original research had already been demonstrated as able to double hard drive density, but wasn’t ready for the “prime time” of mass manufacture.

In DSA, materials called block copolymers can be made to self-assemble into highly regular nano-scale patterns suitable for hard drive manufacture, the group says, following “guideposts” etched into the surface they’re coating. The Austin process is also fast, with the coating organising itself into the right pattern in about a minute.

Hard drive vendor HGST is now testing the process to see if it’s suitable for disk manufacturing processes. More here. ®</p

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Ex-Soviet engines fingered after Antares ROCKET launch BLAST
Speculation rife, but Orbital claims it's too early to tell
Voyager 1 now EIGHTEEN LIGHT HOURS from home
Almost 20 BEEELION kilometres from Sol
MEN: For pity's sake SLEEP with LOTS of WOMEN - and avoid Prostate Cancer
And, um, don't sleep with other men. If that's what worries you
Jim Beam me up, Scotty! WHISKY from SPAAACE returns to Earth
They're insured for $1m, before you thirsty folks make plans
ROGUE SAIL BOAT blocks SPACE STATION PODULE blastoff
Er, we think our ISS launch beats your fishing expedition
NASA: Spacecraft crash site FOUND ON MOON RIM
'What fun!' exlaims NASA boffin who found the LADEE
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
BAE points electromagnetic projectile at US Army
Railguns for 'Future fighting vehicle'
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Website security in corporate America
Find out how you rank among other IT managers testing your website's vulnerabilities.