Leaky nanotubes for greater hard drive storage

Nanotubes – the answer to all the world’s problems! OK, perhaps that is a stretch. But when you consider that Seagate has a patent pending with the use of lubricant stored in carbon nanotubes, there must be something here worth considering.

Nanotubes. Lately, it seems like the solution to any problem we can think of lies in harnessing the capabilities of nanotubes—super-strong molecule-sized carbon pipes, which are believed to have potential uses in everything from transistors to tissue growth to infinitely rechargeable batteries. Yet even though commercial applications for nanotube technology have proven somewhat elusive, researchers are continuing to find more applications for the tiny things, and the latest mouthwatering tidbit comes from hard drive manufacturer Seagate.

Seagate has filed a patent application for a design which would use lubricant stored in carbon nanotubes. As the drive spins, the lubricant slowly leaks out of the nanotubes as a vapor, keeping the drive running smoothly and happily for its intended lifespan.

The next question, no doubt, is why would Seagate want to create a hard drive that leaks lubricant?

Hard drive platters coated with a conventional recording medium are capable of recording data to a certain, relatively low density. Greater density is important because it not only allows more data to be stored in a given space, but data can be searched and read more quickly from a higher density platter. Unfortunately, increasing the density—outside of using techniques like perpendicular recording—also increases the instability of the data. In other words, placing ones and zeros too close together increases the likelihood that one bit may “flip” its neighbor…. Source: Ars Technica

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