Our hard drives as we know them use a magnetic field to record information onto the drive platter. In a recent study, an international team of scientists discovered that heat can actually be used in place of this magnetic field, which was found to be more energy efficient and would allow ten times the storage capacity and 300 times the speed and performance of today’s hard drives. The way this new discovered method would work is through applying ultra-short pulses of heat in the form of laser light onto a field of densely-packed miniscule magnetic grains. With this, the recording of information was about 200 gigabytes per second. However, project-leader and physicist Thomas Ostler from the University of New York stated that it can go even higher up to terabytes per second, while consuming less energy than it would with a magnetic field.
Although it is still being experimented on, this new discovery could lead to much more efficient hard drives (and electronic storage in general) and better overall computer performance. At the same time, waste heat that is generated by computers can now actually be used for this purpose.