Hard drives are not yet ready to abandon the ghost, and the latest research promises to put them back on track to reach 100 TB capacities in the next decade.
This capability was initially promised by heat-assisted magnetic recording technology, or HAMR, shortly, but has suffered some strokes along the way. Don’t worry, though, because the wonderful material that is graphene has jumped to the rescue again to make for a looser morning.
Heat-assisted magnetic recording technology remains key to hitting high-capacity hard drives, but as data density has increased, the impact of friction, wear, corrosion, and thermal stability have intervened to spoil everyone's party.
For now, HAMR hard drives use carbon-based (COC) coatings to protect the surfaces of the drive plate. The problem is that this COC layer is still relatively thick, and this has been limiting the search for high data density.
Researchers at the University of Cambridge, specifically the Cambridge Graphene Center, believe they have the answer: replace these carbon coats with graphene coats (I guess the GOCs).
They tested this by replacing the layers of carbon with those of graphene, and certainly the layers of graphene reduced surface friction, offered improved corrosion protection, and also provided much smoother surfaces.
If you know your way to a scientific article, you can check out the reasons and motives for this essay in Nature Communications, but keep in mind that it’s not a light read.
Still, the takeaway is that hard drives still have room on our computers, despite the advances made with SSDs. We shudder to think how much a 100 TB M.2 unit would cost.