backtop


Print 47 comment(s) - last by wiiz3rd.. on Jul 10 at 3:13 PM


Fig. 3 shows a laser head heating the disc while lubricant vapor bombards the depleted area

Nanotubes stacked in a thin layer to create a lubricant
Up to 10X the capacity of current harddrives can be achieved

Seagate has submitted a patent for a technology it invented that could give current hard drive technology a few more years of life. Using nanotube technology, Seagate plans to bring a hard drive's read and write head even closer to the spinning platter than it already is today. Because of the mechanics of the way hard drives store data, the closer the read and write head is to the patter, the more information can be recorded.

Earlier this year, we started to see hard drives using perpendicular technology make their way into the market. The technology is one of those inventions that changes the fundamental way information is recorded onto disk. Without going into too much background information, perpendicular recording techniques have given new life to hard drives. Despite this however, storage demands continue to increase as consumers find more uses for data-focused consumer electronics such as portable video players, audio players and other mediums.

Using nanotubes, Seagate's patent involves coating the surface of a hard drive's platter with an extremely thin layer of extremely tough lubricant. The lubricant is designed to protect the actual magnetic medium, which in itself ranges from 2 to 50nm in thickness. Using this lubricant, Seagate will lower the read/write head to the point where it actually may come into contact with the platter. Seagate will also be introducing a heating mechanism such as a laser, which will heat up a small area of the platter allowing magnetic particles to be arranged more precisely -- thus allowing greater data densities. The laser itself will be positioned adjacent to the read and write head.

Since the lubricant layer is so thin however, the area that was heated will have some of the lubricant evaporated. To combat this, a reservoir that contains lubricant made of hundreds of thousands to millions of nanotubes is contained within the hard drive. Using precise pressure, the lubricant is evaporated into a vapor, and the vapor then deposits itself onto the area where there was depleted lubricant. According to Seagate, the vapor lubricant will take no more than a single disc rotation to complete the filling processes. The patent also says that hard drives will contain enough nanotube lubricant to last anywhere from 5 to 10 years. From Seagate's patent:

The saturated reservoir 60 of disc lubricant may be placed at any suitable location within the disc enclosure 12. The reservoir 60 delivers a predetermined vapor pressure of lubricant inside the enclosure. Lubricant molecules thereby enter the gas phase and bombard the disc surface with a known rate principally determined by the vapor pressure. A multilayer surface film of lubricant is therefore built up from the gas phase. Equilibrium is then established between the gas phase lubricant molecules and the outermost layer of the formed multilayer surface film.

Although it is unknown when this technology will make it to market, it's evident that scientists are hard at work devising new ways to keep the hard drive going. Using nanotube technology in conjunction with perpendicular recording, we should be able to see hard drives with capacities in the terabytes become common. Seagate suggests that we can see hard drives with 10 times the capacities of today's largest hard drives.

Fujitsu also recently announced a breakthrough in the lubricant layer of its hard drives.  By using an extra thin layer of hard, friction-reduced materials, the magnetic head can get closer to the drive platter.  Thus,  the bits can be smaller and the density of the platter increased.



Comments     Threshold


This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

limited lifespan
By InternetGeek on 7/2/2006 10:43:18 PM , Rating: 3
As cool as this is I don't quite like that it gives the HDD a fixed life-span.




RE: limited lifespan
By robert5c on 7/3/2006 12:56:35 AM , Rating: 2
well 5-10 years is a big gap...so not really a FIXED lifespan.

also this technology is still being developed so perhaps they can overcome that issue

and lastly...umm most harddrives only last 5-10 years anyway...so how would this be any different...i've had many harddrives start to lose data or sometimes just die...get a screen from my motherboard telling me it can't access the physical drives...and the drives either don't spin anymore or click click click all the way to the garbage can...thats wish you had RAID.


RE: limited lifespan
By Hydrofirex on 7/3/2006 4:48:50 PM , Rating: 2
I think the point is that it's stupid to take a product and build another way to break into it. Especially for a product for which reliability is so critical. Yes, refill's are one way to go about this - but I'd rather we all decided that we won't buy something like that (Do drive manufacturers really need another way to get our money?). They've got all the data on their own drives and should be expected to use basic statistics to make fluid breakdown infinitely more improbably than mechanical breakdown. It should be so improbably that your drive would not breakdown from mechanical issues before running out of fluid that they don't need a sensor - which would still be nice so that the system could even warn you. Just another layer of reliability built in instead of the opposite.

Can't we just get to the holographic storage? When you need to lubricate your computer hardware you know you're really pushing it. I think the earlier comments about KY and Seagate's law suite really do manage to underscore how far we're having to go here.


"A politician stumbles over himself... Then they pick it out. They edit it. He runs the clip, and then he makes a funny face, and the whole audience has a Pavlovian response." -- Joe Scarborough on John Stewart over Jim Cramer

Related Articles













botimage
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki