Salt multiplies hard disk space six times

Salt multiplies hard disk space six times

The new manufacturing process involves simple sodium chloride — the chemical grade of regular table salt, say the scientists.

The agencies have “developed a process that can increase the data recording density of hard disks to 3.3 Terabits per square inch, six times the recording density of current models”, they said in a statement.

The addition of sodium chloride to the manufacturing process meant the pattern of bits — units of information — on the surface of each magnetic disk was neater, allowing more to be crammed in. The salt improved the resolution of the electron beam used to “print” the bits.

“It can give you a very high contrast. We are now able to see fine lines that would normally be blurred out. Otherwise you can try your best to pattern these bits very closely but they will all end up being gigantic blurred out blobs,” said Dr Joel Yang, the scientist who led the development.

“(In fac) what we’ve shown is that bits can be patterned more densely together by reducing the number of processing step,” he added.

According Dr Yang, the new process could be commercialised by 2016, “when the current techniques run out of fuel and (hard drive manufacturers) need to find alternate methods” of increasing data storage space.

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