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Ultrasound Waves Used To Increase Data Storage Capacity of Magnetic Media

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the congratulations-it's-a-girl-hdd dept.

Data Storage 25

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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25 comments

So the drives will get louder and hotter? (2)

Fry-kun (619632) | about a year ago | (#42915503)

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

Re:So the drives will get louder and hotter? (2)

Cockatrice_hunter (1777856) | about a year ago | (#42916611)

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.

Corruption? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42915605)

Sounds like this would be a very real problem under the way this works, unless executed flawlessly.
Which, I wouldn't put money on, so I wouldn't be putting anything important on such a disk.

Re:Corruption? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42916603)

Couldn't the same thing be said about almost everything else that we do with the nano-scale, which already include current harddrives, CPUs, and memory.

A bit of the old and new but NAND? (1)

Sertis (2789687) | about a year ago | (#42915747)

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?

Re:A bit of the old and new but NAND? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42916441)

NAND flash is much easier to heat since it isn't spinning. This means that you can have connections to all cells. (In fact you have to to be able to access the data.)
By running a semi-large current through those connections you can heat any cell you like.
This will generally not improve storage capacity. (Well, it might improve reliability and that way make it feasible to store more levels per cell.)
What it will do is that it will remove the wear that you generally get on NAND flash and make it possible to rewrite each cell pretty much as many times as you like.

Re:A bit of the old and new but NAND? (2)

mk1004 (2488060) | about a year ago | (#42917395)

Heat generally reduces the cycle life of NAND, so I don't see why you'd want to apply localized heating, even if it allowed higher density. I didn't see any mention of NAND in the OSU link, so where did Computer World pick that up?

Re:A bit of the old and new but NAND? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42936313)

If you apply 800c temps very quickly to NAND, it resets the life. They have shown prototypes going from 1,000 write cycles to over 1mil write cycles. Would have been higher if they had more time, but they detected no deterioration of the NAND. They expect this tech out in the next "5 years" as normal.... /crossesfingers

Re:A bit of the old and new but NAND? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42916449)

Yes it does seem very odd... NAND is not magnetic storage. My guess is poor fact-checking on the part of TFA, and a lazy submitter using C&P. (Shocking, I know)

Re:A bit of the old and new but NAND? (2)

RoverDaddy (869116) | about a year ago | (#42916845)

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.

Ultrasonics (4, Interesting)

dhomstad (1424117) | about a year ago | (#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.

Right - hence, my "dedicated tune"... apk (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42920823)

Scientists & Engineers ROCK - They actually change the world FOR THE BETTER, & usually non-destructively!

(No - Instead, it's the politicians & "power brokers" that 'twist' things in the other direction, often militarizing them instead for purposes of destruction + death)

Thus? These engineers & scientists "rock the body" (per your pal's case, literally, + yes, even these diskdrives - hence, my tune dedicated to them) -> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SwgnNa0PLWg [youtube.com]

* :)

(Seeing things like this occur, makes me realize we are NOT all that bad, & have potential!)

APK

P.S.=> I've heard many times for years now, as I am sure you have as well, that SSD's will "kill" the HDD (& these people applying them only NOW & the last few years to industrial gains, such as in databasing? I did THAT as far back as 1996, & took the company I told HOW to apply them to databases to a finalist position @ MS Tech-Ed 2000-2002 in its HARDEST category: SQLServer Performance Enhancement)... well, haven't seen it yet!

Especially not if & when guys like these folks + HAMR technology are in play, keeping these types of diskdrives, alive & making them BETTER, FASTER, & stronger...

... apk

Re:Right - hence, my "dedicated tune"... apk (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42920939)

Do you think you're, like, channelling Walt Kelly or something?

Don't LIKE it? Don't read it, troll... apk (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42921089)

Do YOU *think* you're even REMOTELY on topic, troll? Answer = no...

* :)

APK

P.S.=>

"Do you think you're, like, channelling Walt Kelly or something?" - by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 16, @06:39AM (#42920939)

Me? No, I don't think anything - HOWEVER: I KNOW you're a lousy AC troll, nothing more (it must suck to live a life as you do, which you evidence with your bullshit post now... you're just a waste of human potential that you evidence yourself to be)...

... apk

HAMR alternative (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42917015)

This looks like heat-assisted magnetic recording, except with ultrasound instead of laser heating. With HAMR hard drives coming to market around 2014-15, and SSDs using the same effect at some point, it may be possible for Seagate/WD and others to swap the laser with some kind of ultrasonic wave emitter and get it to market even faster.

Media cleaning with a bonus! (1)

macraig (621737) | about a year ago | (#42917235)

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....

My eSavior! (1)

rts008 (812749) | about a year ago | (#42917691)

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!

I have only 1 thing to say (& I'm not saying i (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42917285)

MOBY does the talking far better than I can -> http://since/ [since] it deserves it: www.youtube.com/watch?v=SwgnNa0PLWg ("We Rock the Party")

* :)

(Dedicated to the guys that came thru with this... it's pretty cool!)

APK

P.S.=> Gotta love these engineers & scientists - unlike a LOT of others? They actually make the world, better...

.. apk

No relation to NAND flash (1)

sheepe2004 (1029824) | about a year ago | (#42921057)

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 to make it more sound more important than it is. Then journalists try to re-write parts of the press release (without understanding it) so that they can publish it as "their own" story.

The end result is like chinese whispers: confusing and often wrong.

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