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Batman Lights the Way to Compact Data Storage

By Paul Scherrer Institute

January 14, 2015

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Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) researchers say they have developed technology that could make data storage on hard drives faster and more efficient. The researchers say they have succeeded in switching tiny, magnetic structures using laser light and tracking the change over time.

In the process, a nanometer-sized area reminiscent of the Batman logo appeared, indicating success in reducing the size of the magnetic bits used to store data.

In their tests, the researchers used magnetic squares with a side length of between one and five thousandths of a millimeter. Every square and even a part of a square can be seen as a tiny magnet and could thus be a storage bit.

"Using light for magnetic switching clearly works," says PSI researcher Frithjof Nolting. "But why exactly it does is still the subject of debate in the research community."

The researchers developed a time-resolved measurement that enabled them to observe the changes one step at a time using x-rays to gain a better understanding of the magnetic reorientation process. Using this process, the researchers were able to observe how the direction of magnetization changes.

"This could be the way to store even more data on even smaller hard drives one day," says PSI researcher Loic Le Guyader.

From Paul Scherrer Institute
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Abstracts Copyright © 2015 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA

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