Graphene could allow hard drives to hold 10 times more data

Graphene could allow hard drives to hold 10 times more data

Researchers at the Cambridge Graphene Center have shown that graphene can be used in ultra-high-density hard disk drives (HDD), which are up to ten times higher than current technology. 

The research, published in Nature Communications, was carried out in collaboration with teams from the University of Exeter, India, Switzerland, Singapore, and the United States. In the mid-1980s, they were getting smaller and smaller in size and the number of bytes stored was increasing in density.

Although solid-state drives are popular among mobile devices, hard drives are still used to store files on desktop computers, mainly because of their favorable production and purchase costs. The hard drive contains two main components: the platter and the head. Data is written to the disc using a magnetic head, which moves quickly when the disc rotates. The space between the magnetic head and the platter is continuously reduced to allow for higher densities. Currently, carbon-based coatings (COC), which are used to protect optical discs from mechanical damage and corrosion, occupy a large portion of this space. 

Since 1990, the data density of hard drives has quadrupled, and the thickness of COC has dropped from 12.5 nanometers to about 3 nanometers, which is equivalent to 1 TB per square inch. Graphene now allows researchers to multiply it by 10. Cambridge researchers replaced commercial AOC with one to four layers of graphene and tested friction, wear, corrosion, thermal stability, and lubricant compatibility. In addition to its unparalleled thinness, graphene also meets all the desirable properties of HDD coatings in terms of corrosion protection, low friction, wear resistance, toughness, lubricant compatibility, and surface smoothness. 

Graphene can double the friction and provide better corrosion and wear. Rather than cutting-edge solutions. In fact, single-layer graphene can reduce corrosion by 2.5 times. Cambridge scientists transferred graphene to a hard drive made of ferroportin as a magnetic recording layer and tested heat-assisted magnetic recording (HAMR), a new technology that can increase storage density by heating the recording layer at high temperatures. Current COC does not work at these high temperatures, but graphene does. Therefore, graphene, together with HAMR, can surpass today’s hard disk drives, providing an unprecedented data density of more than 10 TB per square inch. “Proving that graphene can be used as a protective coating for hard disk drives that can withstand HAMR conditions is a “very important result.” This will further promote the development of new high-area-density hard drives,” said Dr. Anna Otter of Cambridge Graphene Center, one of the co-authors of this study. Ten times and a significant reduction in wear rate are essential for achieving more sustainable and longer-lasting magnetic data records are essential. 

The development of graphene-based technology is taking the right path towards a more sustainable world. Professor Andrea C. Ferrari, director of the Cambridge Graphene Center, added: “This work demonstrates graphite The excellent mechanical, corrosion and wears resistance properties of graphene used for storage density magnetic media. Considering that their output in 2020 is about 1 billion TB of new hard disk storage, these results point the way for the large-scale application of graphene in cutting-edge technology. “