Researchers develop nanotech for 50TB tape cartridge

Maxell, Tokyo Institute of Technology jointly coat an ultra-thin tape with nanoparticles

Hitachi Maxell, Ltd. and Tokyo Institute of Technology jointly announced this month that they have developed an ultra high capacity tape media that will eventually lead to magnetic tape cartridges with more than 50TB capacity, or 33 times more than today's LTO Ultrium 5 tape cartridge.

Maxell and Tokyo Institute of Technology said they created an ultra-thin nano-structured magnetic film and, using the perpendicular magnetic recording method , demonstrated a world-record areal density of 45Gbits per inch.

Schematic view of an ultra high capacity tape medium (source: Hitachi Maxell Ltd.

"It was necessary to make the magnetic powder small to increase the areal recording density and to raise storage capacity a cartridge," Maxell stated.

Maxell stated in a release that tape is still a very attractive technology for data archive, "especially in [an] eco-friendly storage system" because of its lower power consumption compared with spinning disk. Unlike disk drive, tape cartridges can sit idle for decades and still retain their data.

The tape media used by Maxell and Tokyo Institute of Technology is the same type that is commonly used today, but the film is vastly thinner and powered with magnetic particles of a size below 10 nanometers. A nanometer is equal to one billionth of a meter.

Today's LTO-5 tape cartridges today are capable of holding 1.6TB of uncompressed data.

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