Laser hard drives: 100 times faster

Working prototype within a decade?

A group of researchers in the Netherlands has come up with the concept of a laser-powered hard drive which could mean data transfers up to 100 times faster. By using the tech, data can be transferred in times so miniscule that they have to be measured in quadrillionths of a second, according to the professors at Radboud University in Nijmegen.

Initial estimates suggest the technology could be up to 100 times faster than traditional storage. It uses gadolinium, iron, and cobalt to create the effect, which still writes data to a magnetic disk. suggests prototypes could emerge within the next 10 years.

Laser pulses heat tiny areas on the disk to write the data. This produces a 1 or 0 in binary data. However, the researchers say that the laser pulses, at five microns wide, are currently too big for practical use. The footprint of the laser needs to be reduced to around 10 nanometres in order for a working prototype to be built.



Dan (Twitter, Google+) is TechRadar's Former Deputy Editor and is now in charge at our sister site Lifehacker UK. Covering all things computing, internet and mobile he's a seasoned regular at major tech shows such as CES, IFA and Mobile World Congress. Dan has also been a tech expert for many outlets including BBC Radio 4, 5Live and the World Service, The Sun and ITV News.