Today is the era of optical data carriers. Floppy discs and other magnetic carriers are forced out by USB flash drives, compact discs, DVD and even Blu Ray. But there is one part of your computer that always remains magnetic. It is your Hard Disc. There are many pluses in its magnetic origin, i.e. magnetic drives are much cheaper than flash-based. But, there is one huge flaw – speed. Access time of flash memory is much shorter than in usual hard disc drives. But modern technologies made a huge step in solving this problem.
Scientists of Radbout University Nijmegen made a true marvelous invention. Usually, need a magnet to change the magnetic polarity of a metal. That's how modern hard discs work. But scientists thought of a way to change polarity with laser impulses. Each laser impulse makes the information layer on the disk surface to change its value, from 0 to 1 and vice versa. This invention increased speed of hard disc in about hundred times! But there is one limitation – density of recording is much smaller than that of standard magnetic method. This is because area, which is affected by laser, is about 5 um large. In next 3-4 years scientists hope to reach the 10 nm plank, then these laser-based hard discs can truly compete with magnetic ones.
Computer technologies improve every day. And things that earlier were thought impossible now are reality.