Lasers Give Disk Drives a Huge Boost

Researchers have demonstrated disk write speeds one hundred times faster than current hard drives. The method uses a laser to heat the recording surface and alter its magnetic field. There is no equivalent read speed increase though. Dutch scientists at Radboud University Nijmegen used a laser to send flashes of polarised light to a 5-micron-wide spot on a disk surface which was heated. The sheer angular momentum of the photons hitting the recording surface was then able to flip the magnetic field if the light was polarised one way, but left it unaltered if polarised in the other direction. A traditional magnetic field reader was then able to detect binary ones or zeroes accordingly

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