CORVALLIS, Ore. Electrical engineers at Oregon State University have discovered a way to use high- frequency sound waves to enhance the magnetic storage of data, offering a new approach to improve the data storage capabilities of a multitude of electronic devices around the world.
The technology, called acoustic-assisted magnetic recording, has been presented at a professional conference, and a patent application was filed this week.
Magnetic storage of data is one of the most inexpensive and widespread technologies known, found in everything from computer hard drives to the magnetic strip on a credit card. It's permanent, dependable and cheap. However, long-term reliability of stored data becomes an increasing concern as the need grows to pack more and more information in storage devices, experts say.
"We're near the peak of what we can do with the technology we now use for magnetic storage," said Pallavi Dhagat, an associate professor in the OSU School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. "There's always a need for approaches that could store even more information in a smaller space, cost less and use less power."
That can be possible, scientists say, if the magnetic materials are temporarily heated, even for an instant, so they can become momentarily less stiff and more data can be stored at a particular spot. This has proven difficult to do, because the heating tends to spread beyond where it is wanted and the technology involves complex integration of optics, electronics and magnetics.
With the new approach, ultrasound is directed at a highly specific location while data is being stored, creating elasticity that literally allows a tiny portion of the material to bend or stretch. It immediately resumes its shape when the ultrasound waves stop. The data can be stored reliably without the concerns around heating.
It should also be possible to create a solid state memory device with no moving pa
|Contact: Pallavi Dhagat|
Oregon State University