storage devices read and write data by making nanoscale marks on a
surface through physical contact. The technology may one day extend the
data density limits of conventional magnetic and optical storage, but
current probes have limited lifespans due to mechanical wear.
research team, led by Intel Corp., has now developed a long-lasting
ultrahigh-density probe storage device by coating the tips of the probes
with a thin metal film. The team’s device features an array of 5,000
ultrasharp probes that is integrated with on-chip electronic circuits.
The probes write tiny bits of memory as small as a few nanometers by
sending short electrical pulses to a ferroelectric film, a material that
can be given a permanent electric polarization by applying an electric
data access requires that the probes slide quickly and frequently
across the film. To prevent tip wear, which can seriously degrade the
write-read resolution of the device, the researchers deposited a thin
metal film of hafnium diboride (HfB2) on the probe tips.
As the researchers describe in the American Institute of Physics’ journal Applied Physics Letters,
the metal film reduces wear and enables the probe tips to retain their
write-read resolution at high speeds for distances exceeding 8
km—greatly increasing the device’s lifetime. The data densities of the
device exceed 1 Terabit per square inch.
work is an important step toward the commercialization of a probe-based
storage technology with capacities that exceed those of hard disk and
Source: American Institute of Physics