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Laser hard drives: 100 times faster

Future magnetic storage could be sped up with the use of laser technology

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.