Solid-state hard drives offer some pretty impressive speeds, certainly nothing to shake a stick at, unless that stick is a laser. A team of scientists have found a way to use lasers to write data to magnetic storage devices – and it happens about 1,000 times faster than a normal hard drive – moving gigabytes and maybe even terabytes in a matter of seconds. The scientists discovered that heat can be used to write information and what do you know, lasers are an efficient way to heat things. Here’s a quote from Dr. Alexey Kimel:

“For centuries it has been believed that heat can only destroy the magnetic order. Now we have successfully demonstrated that it can, in fact, be a sufficient stimulus for recording information on a magnetic medium.”

Alright, let’s get scientific: using 60 femtosecond (60 quadrillionths of a second) pulses of a laser, you can rapidly heat a small section of the ferromagnetic part of a hard drive. This changes the state of magnetization, allowing data to be encoded, with each write taking less than five picoseconds (five trillionths of a second).

And while this all allows for mind-blowing write speeds, they haven’t yet found a way to read the data back quickly, and having a hard drive that can write data one thousand times faster than it reads is far from ideal.

via Gizmodo

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