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Heat-assisted recording technology will enable 40 TB HDDs by 2020
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Heat-assisted recording technology will enable 40 TB HDDs by 2020

TDK has developed a heat-assisted recording technology, which will drastically increase the capacity of hard disk drives.

This technology uses a heat-assisted recording head to record by using temperature as well as magnetism. Currently, recording density is increased by using recording media with high magnetic coercivity, but that technology is also reaching its limit. In the new system, the coercivity of the medium, or the amount of reverse magnetic field required to change the value of the stored data, is temporarily reduced by heating it with a laser, which enables writing. As a result, the recording density is further increased.

"With a current 3.5 inch hard disk, the capacity is about 3TB. But this new technology will enable hard disks to store 30 or 40 TB by around 2020."

"When you use heat, if you heat a wide area, you end up heating parts you don't want to write on. In other words, parts you don't want to erase get heated, and you can end up erasing important data. So, you have to focus the laser very sharply, to achieve what's called local heating. Now, at TDK, we've developed a unique device, called a near-field light generator, to achieve a light spot just tens of nanometers wide, which is 1/10 that used in a Blu-Ray disk. In this way, we've achieved local heating of the medium."

"What we're demonstrating here is using a hard disk drive, with this heat-assisted head, to record and replay several files at the same time. Until now, we've been evaluating the record and replay characteristics of heat-assisted heads, using very specialized devices in research labs. But now, with collaboration from Seagate Technology, we're able to present a product that actually runs on the Windows 7 OS, and is really only one step away from being commercially viable."

"First of all, we'd like to offer a product that uses this technology in the second half of 2015."

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