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'3-D towers' of information double data storage areal density

Using well-known patterned media, a team of researchers in France has figured out a way to double the areal density of information by essentially cutting the magnetic media into small pieces and building a "3D tower" out of it.

This greatly enhances the amount of data that can be stored in a magnetic storage device and provides a method to reach beyond a wall of physical limits that the currently used technology is hitting. The team presents their findings in the American Institute of Physics' Journal of Applied Physics.

"Over the past 50 years, with the rise of multimedia devices, the worldwide Internet, and the general growth in demand for greater data storage capacity, the areal density of information in magnetic hard disk drives has exponentially increased by 7 orders of magnitude," says Jerome Moritz, a researcher at SPINTEC, in Grenoble. "This areal density is now about 500Gbit/in2, and the technology presently used involves writing the information on a granular magnetic material. This technology is now reaching some physical limits because the grains are becoming so small that their magnetization becomes unstable and the information written on them is gradually lost."

Therefore, new approaches are needed for magnetic data storage densities exceeding 1Tbit/in2.

"Our new approach involves using bit-patterned media, which are made of arrays of physically separated magnetic nanodots, with each nanodot carrying one bit of information. To further extend the storage density, it's possible to increase the number of bits per dots by stacking several magnetic layers to obtain a multilevel magnetic recording device," explains Moritz.

In that context, Moritz and colleagues were able to demonstrate that the best way to achieve a 2-bit-per-dot media involves stacking in-plane and perpendicular-to-plane magnetic media atop each dot. The perpendicularly magnetized layer can be read right above the dot, whereas the in-plane magnetized layer can be read between dots. This enables doubling of the areal density for a given dot size by taking better advantage of the whole patterned media area.


Journal of Applied Physics is the American Institute of Physics' (AIP) archival journal for significant new results in applied physics; content is published online daily, collected into two online and printed issues per month (24 issues per year). The journal publishes articles that emphasize understanding of the physics underlying modern technology, but distinguished from technology on the one side and pure physics on the other. See:


The American Institute of Physics is a federation of 10 physical science societies representing more than 135,000 scientists, engineers, and educators and is one of the world's largest publishers of scientific information in the physical sciences. Offering partnership solutions for scientific societies and for similar organizations in science and engineering, AIP is a leader in the field of electronic publishing of scholarly journals. AIP publishes 12 journals (some of which are the most highly cited in their respective fields), two magazines, including its flagship publication Physics Today; and the AIP Conference Proceedings series. Its online publishing platform Scitation hosts nearly two million articles from more than 185 scholarly journals and other publications of 28 learned society publishers.

Charles E. Blue | EurekAlert!
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