Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Terabyte laptops soon, based on nanotech breakthrough?

Are you running out of hard drive space on your laptop? Or does your Zune still feel to big? Nanotech may soon offer a solution. Researchers at Hitachi have apparently reduced existing recording heads for computer hard drives by a factor of more than two to achieve new heads in the 30-50 nanometer (nm) range:

One of Hitachi's current models

"TOKYO, Oct. 15, 2007 -- Hitachi, Ltd. (NYSE: HIT / TSE: 6501) and Hitachi Global Storage Technologies (Hitachi GST), announced today they have developed the world's smallest read-head technology for hard disk drives, which is expected to quadruple current storage capacity limits to four terabytes (TB) on a desktop hard drive and one TB on a notebook hard drive.

[...] Called current perpendicular-to-the-plane giant magneto-resistive*1 (CPP-GMR) heads, Hitachi's new technology is expected to be implemented in shipping products in 2009 and reach its full potential in 2011.

Hitachi will present these achievements at the 8th Perpendicular Magnetic Recording Conference (PMRC 2007), to be held 15th -17th October 2007, at the Tokyo International Forum in Japan."

(Click here for a copy of the full press release.)

All of this follows last week's announcement of the 2007 Nobel Prize in physics for Albert Fert of Université Paris-Sud in France and Peter Grünberg of Forschungszentrum Jülich in Germany for their work in nanotechnology that paved the way for the current generation of iPod-sized hard drives.