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'Pixie dust' may boost storage for IBM

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CIOL Bureau
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NEW YORK, May 21 (Reuters) - International Business Machines Corp. said on

Monday it had made a breakthrough in disk storage technology using a new type of

magnetic coating it calls "pixie dust" that could allow even the

smallest computers to store large amounts of audio and video.

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The company, based in Armonk, N.Y., said the new coating could quadruple the

data density of hard disk drive products. IBM's new data storage breakthrough is

a three-atom-thick layer of the element ruthenium, a precious metal similar to

platinum, sandwiched between two magnetic layers.

The new multi-layer coating, which IBM researchers have called "pixie

dust," is expected to allow hard-disk drives to store 100 billion bits, or

100 gigabits, of data per square inch of disk area by 2003.

The highest density in current products is about 25 gigabits per square inch-

that means in every square inch of disk space one could store what’s in five

music CDs. Within two years, IBM expects that the technology would allow for

desktop computer hard drives with the ability to store 400 gigabytes, or the

information in 400,000 books.

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IBM is already shipping its Travelstar notebook hard disk drive products with

data densities up to 25.7 gigabits per square inch. In time, IBM plans to

implement the technology across all of its disk drive product lines.

(C) Reuters Limited 2001.

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