Fujitsu Breakthrough Promises Bigger Hard Disks

TOKYO (04/11/2000) - Fujitsu Ltd. says its researchers have developed a breakthrough recording media which promises much greater capacity from future-generation hard disk drives than was previously thought possible.

The new media, dubbed LEXIS, or Layer Exchange Interaction Stabilized, is already being eyed by the company for use in hard disk drives. The media, when combined with a newly developed recording head, has already delivered in the lab a world-best recording density of 56G bits per square inch, the company said in a statement. In terms of a standard 3.5-inch hard disk drive, this means approximately 78G bytes of recording space, or roughly enough room to store 30 DVD-quality movies.

At present, engineers have been able to increase recording densities by 1.6 to 2 times per year through a combination of improvements in the media, drive head and associated electronics and are working toward a goal of developing a hard disk drive with a recording density of 100 Gb/sq. inch by 2003, Fujitsu said. A constant barrier to improving the recording density of the media has been thermal decay, which can make information stored on the disk unstable and ultimately useless.

The LEXIS media gets around this problem with the addition of a multilayer stabilizing layer under the recording layer. This reduces the influence of thermal decay to one-fifth what it would be and means data can be more closely packed on the media surface without fear of it becoming useless.

The company's next step is to marry this new technology with experimental drive heads. Fujitsu is already a leader in GMR (giant-magneto-resistive) drive head technology, and the 56Gb/sq. inch recording density achieved with the new media was done with a prototype new head. Now engineers are looking to increase recording densities to 300Gb/sq. inch -- three times that previously targeted -- with the use of a new TMR (Tunneling Magneto-Resistive) head.

Fujitsu, in Tokyo, can be found online at http://www.fujitsu.co.jp/.

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