First Demonstration of Improvements in HDD Recording Performance

Toshiba Group (“Toshiba”) announced On December 27, 2021, The world’s first demonstration of improving recording performance on hard disk drives (HDD) through microwave-assisted magnetic recording (MAS-MAMR), a next-generation magnetic recording technology. The demo confirms that the technology delivers significant gains in storage capacity, and Toshiba is now aiming for early commercialization of nearby hard drives with a capacity of more than 30TB.

Toshiba is making great efforts in research and development on MAMR, an advanced technology that enhances the density of hard disk recording. In 2021, the company began shipping 18TB hard drives that use Flux Control MAMR (FC-MAMR), which uses torque oscillators to aid in recording. MAS-MAMR is expected to improve recording density beyond that of FC-MAMR by locally microwave exposure to recording media. However, it was not demonstrated that this was feasible until the most recent demonstration.

To demonstrate the fundamental superiority of the MAS-MAMR, Toshiba has strengthened its development with Showa Denko KK (SDK), manufacturer of medium HDD, and TDK Corporation (TDK), manufacturer of hard disk heads. This three-way collaboration recently bore fruit in demonstrating the improved recording performance of MAS-MAMR.

Toshiba will announce details of the newly developed torque oscillator and oscillation characteristics at the joint MMM-INTERMAG 2022 conference, an international conference scheduled for January 10y – 14y, 2022.

development background

Storing digital data in data centers is one of the pillars of modern information infrastructure that supports digitization and digital transformation, and is now more important than ever due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The continuous demand for storage is growing at a rapid pace, and the market for high-capacity near-disk drives, which are the business units for both the scale of the cloud and traditional data centers, is expected to grow to US$17.5 billion in 2025. These evolving needs for storage devices are also fueling the demand for increased storage. capacity in hard drives.

Any attempt to increase the recording density of a hard drive must reconcile three conflicting goals: minimizing the magnetic grain on the recording medium; Realization of thermally stable magnetic grain; and ensuring adequate recording performance. The recording medium is covered with a layer of fine magnetic grains that retain information according to the direction of its magnetization. While the recording density can be improved by miniaturizing the recording bit on the recording media, this requires smaller magnetic grains, which reduce the thermal stability of their magnets. Loss of thermal stability may result in data loss.

Increasing thermal stability as the recording density increases requires a material with a higher “coercing force” that can maintain magnetization. However, the high coercivity makes it difficult for the recording head to generate a sufficient magnetic field for recording. Overcoming this requires next-generation magnetic recording technology in which external power assists the recording.

Advances are being made in the research and development of next-generation magnetic recording technology to overcome this triple problem. While MAS-MAMR would be expected to aid the use of microwaves to significantly improve recording density in theory, confirmation of the effect of microwave-assisted switching (MAS-MAMR effect) on recording condition and improved recording performance with MAS-MAMR has not been demonstrated.

Technology Features

Toshiba has created a “Dual Oscillation Type Torque Oscillator (Dual FGL STO)” that radiates microwaves by a two-layer field generation layer. The Dual FGL STO generates microwaves efficiently, with lower current and in more concentrated areas. Built in recording head, it can improve recording performance with MAS-MAMR.

In the framework of demonstrating MAS-MAMR, TDK developed new recording heads with STO, SDK developed new recording media, and Toshiba confirmed the stable oscillation of STOs in new recording heads.

Subsequently, Toshiba confirmed the effect of MAS-MAMR by combining its newly developed STO with recording heads and media, and for the first time in the world demonstrated an approximately 6 dB improvement in recording performance with MAS-MAMR. This technology makes it possible to manufacture large capacity hard disk drives of more than 30 TB. With its demonstration, MAS-MAMR has taken a major step forward as a practical next-generation magnetic recording technology that can significantly improve recording density.

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