Japanese researchers boost data density in 1-inch disk

A Japanese university lab has shown a prototype hard disk that stores up to 10G bytes on a 1-inch disk at a density of 138G bits per square inch.

A Japanese university has shown a prototype 1-inch hard disk drive that packs data on the disk surface more densely than existing hard drives.

The density with which information can be packed onto the disk is particularly important in the tiny hard drives used in handheld electronic devices such as digital music players.

The prototype 10G-byte drive packs data with an areal density -- the number of bits per unit of disk surface area -- of 138G bits per square inch, said Yoshihisa Nakamura, who heads the project at Tohoku University's Research Institute of Electrical Communications. His laboratory developed the prototype drive as part of a project to increase the storage capacity of handheld electronics devices.

The prototype drive uses perpendicular recording technology to achieve its higher areal density, Nakamura said. The technology works by standing the magnetic fields that represent data bits upright. In commercially available drives, those fields lay flat on the surface of the disk. Standing these fields upright means they take up less space, enabling more data to be crammed on the disk.

"For one-inch [drives], 138G-bit areal density is a world record. Somebody may have a higher density in a lab somewhere, but they haven't shown them," Nakamura said.

Many of the world's leading drive vendors have announced they plan to sell drives using perpendicular technology. Of these companies, Japan's Hitachi Global Storage Technologies. (HGST), Fujitsu and Toshiba worked with Nakamura to develop the prototype, he said.

HGST is considering commercializing the drive, although the company has not said when, he said.

Nakamura said his lab should be able to boost the areal density of 1-inch disks to about 500G bits per square inch in 2007. This could enable 1-inch drives to have capacities as high as 30G bytes a few years from now, he said. Currently, the highest-capacity 1-inch drives on sale store a maximum of 6G bytes of data.

Tohoku University researchers aren't the only ones looking to perpendicular recording as a way to boost areal density. Last month, Japanese public broadcaster Nippon Hoso Kyokai (NHK) showed a prototype 10G-byte 1-inch hard drive that also employed the technology.

That drive, which was developed by NHK and Sony, has an areal density of 120G bits per square inch, according to Eiichi Miyashita, senior research engineer at NHK's Science and Technical Research Laboratories. There are no plans to commercialize this drive yet, he said.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Paul Kallender

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?