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Self-Organizing Assembly Shows Promise for Enlarging Hard Drive Capacity

University of Texas at Austin researchers have developed a technique using self-organizing block copolymers that promises to increase hard disk drives’ storage capacity by a factor of five. They are now testing the technology with HGST, a Western Digital company formerly called Hitachi Global Storage Technologies. Storage capacity, which relies on magnetic dots closely placed together on a metal surface, is at a current maximum of approximately a terabit of data per square inch. The University of Texas researchers determined that physically isolating the magnetic dots by placing no magnetic material between them increases the storage density. They are using block copolymers as a coating over the disk’s surface for patterning a drive quickly with tiny dots. The material forms the desired patterns using directed self-assembly, a process which uses molecules’ ability to re-assemble into ordered structures. The academic and HGST researchers are evaluating the technologies to determine whether they can be scaled appropriately for conventional manufacturing. The work was published in the journal Science. (EurekAlert)(Science)(University of Texas)

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