Hitachi‘s Global Storage Technologies division claims that its researchers have fabricated the world’s smallest read heads for hard disk drives.
The development is expected to lead to the quadrupling of current storage capacity limits to 4TByte for desktop hard drives and 1TByte for those in notebooks.
The Hitachi researchers successfully shrunk the size of existing recording heads by more than a factor of two to achieve new heads in the 30-50nm range – up to 2,000 times smaller than the width of an average human hair.
Called current perpendicular-to-the-plane giant magneto-resistive, or CPP-GMR, heads, they will enable hard disk drive (HDD) recording densities of 500Gb/in2 1Tb/in2 to be achievable, a quadrupling of today’s highest areal densities.
Earlier this year, Hitachi delivered the industry’s first terabyte hard drive with 148Gb/in2, while the highest areal density Hitachi products shipping today are in the 200Gb/in2 range. These products use existing tunnel-magneto-resistive, or TMR, heads.
Recording heads with 50nm track-widths are expected to debut in commercial products in 2009, while those with 30nm track-widths will be implemented in products in 2011. Current TMR heads, shipping in products today, have track-widths of 70nm.