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Data Storage Hardware

Ultrasound Waves Used To Increase Data Storage Capacity of Magnetic Media 25

Posted by Soulskill
from the congratulations-it's-a-girl-hdd dept.
Lucas123 writes "Electrical engineers at Oregon State University (OSU) said yesterday that they have found a technique to use high-frequency sound waves to improve magnetic data storage.The data write-technology breakthrough could allow greater amounts of data to be stored on both hard disk drives and NAND flash-based solid-state drives (SSDs), they said. Typically, when magnetic recording material is temporarily heated, even for an instant, it can become momentarily less stiff and more data can be stored at a particular spot. But, the technique has proven difficult to effectively increase capacity because heating tends to spread beyond where it is wanted and the technology involves complex integration of optics, electronics and magnetics, the researchers said. With the new technique, known as acoustic-assisted magnetic recording, ultrasound is directed at a highly specific location on the material while data is being stored, creating elasticity that allows "a tiny portion of the material to bend or stretch." After the ultrasound is turned off, the material immediately returns to its original shape, but the data stored during the process remains in a dense form."
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Ultrasound Waves Used To Increase Data Storage Capacity of Magnetic Media

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  • by Fry-kun (619632) on Friday February 15, 2013 @03:49PM (#42915503)

    Great, thanks. It's not as if we didn't have to deal with that already.

    • It's my understanding that 'loudness' is a function of amplitude not frequency. Furthermore ultrasounds are by definition too high a frequency for us to hear. As for the heating issue, yeah probably. Otherwise this is kind of cool. It's like writing on a stretched rubber band.

  • This sounds like MO recording with sound waves instead of a laser. I don't see how this works with NAND flash though. Even if you can increase the number of voltage levels stored on a cell after heating, wouldn't each cell need to be exposed in order for it to be targeted by the ultrasonics?
    • Maybe that part is related to a recent article indicating that heat could be used to restore broken NAND flash cells back to working order:

      http://hardware.slashdot.org/story/12/12/02/2222235/self-healing-nand-flash-memory-that-can-survive-over-100-million-cycles

      Perhaps ultrasound is a way to deliver that heat.
  • remind me later (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Taibhsear (1286214) on Friday February 15, 2013 @04:09PM (#42915837)

    "...as yet untested."
    Remind me when you've actually tested it before I get excited.

  • by KatchooNJ (173554) <Katchoo716@nosPam.gmail.com> on Friday February 15, 2013 @04:27PM (#42916037) Homepage

    This new HDD is great... but now my dog is running in circles howling!

  • So it's a piezoelectric setup?

  • Ultrasonics (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dhomstad (1424117) on Friday February 15, 2013 @05:27PM (#42916817)

    "Ultrasound waves" is incorrect usage (source = http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultrasound_(disambiguation) [wikipedia.org] ). Starting with "ultrasonics" or "ultrasonic waves" would have been more apt.

    I love that slashdot is pushing articles on ultrasonics. Ultrasonics seems like the field of the future to me. I remember my first encounter with ultrasonics in gradeschool. I had a friend that broke his arm skateboarding]. His doctor prescribed an ultrasonic bone massager that was intended to increase the rate of bone growth (he had a cast as well, the doctor was not some new-age psuedoscientist). Fast forward into college, when I was interning at a consumer goods manufacturer. They used ultrasonics to bond together nonwovens! Totally sweet. The process used a very specifically shaped piece of metal, called a horn, which flexed in a very specific manner when subjected to ultrasonic frequencies (ultrasonic transducers can perform this electric to mechanical energy conversion). It requires a whole lot less energy than what was done before, which was more like hammering nails - you have to smash super hard, and the whole ordeal is more of an art than a science). Nowawdays they are beginning to use ultrasonic waves to benefit the flow of polymers in injection molding. Oh yah, and like you already mentioned, magnetic storage. This field is just skyrocketing.

  • I'm putting my 4GB CF microdrive and all my SD cards and thumb drives into my ultrasonic cleaner right now! Crossing my fingers that I get new tera- numbers in place of the old giga- ones....

    • Can I toss in my graphics card....I'm desperately trying to achieve 1,000 frames per second in Tux Racer.
      I think my ePenis was overdosed by all that Viagra spam, this may be my only hope!

  • The part about NAND flash is a complete misinterpretation of the press release by computerworld's journalists. The actual press release [oregonstate.edu] says

    It should also be possible to create a solid state memory device with no moving parts to implement this technology, researchers said. Unlike conventional hard-disk drive storage, solid state memory would offer durability.

    They are talking about a magnetic solid state drive of some description. Completely unrelated to NAND flash except for the lack of a spinning disk.

    I think this sort of filtering research press releases through multiple non-technical writes is a big problem for science reporting. The scientists say one thing, then the university press release people try to rewrite it

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