When buying a laptop, consumers have the choice between one with a solid state drive (SSD) or one with a hard disk drive (HDD). Even though the price of SSD’s has been falling, HDD’s remain cheaper per unit of memory. However, to protect market share, Seagate has developed the next generation of HDD technology, which uses Heat-Assisted Magnetic Recording (HAMR). Materials with superior nanophotonic properties allow improved HDD performance and reliability. HAMR enables a much higher density of information storage on a HDD, making a reality of terabyte hard drives for laptops. HAMR could benefit from 2D materials in the plasmonic lens .
In February 2016, Ilika announced that it is participating in a two-year project with Seagate and the University of Southampton to develop 2-D materials for this application. Ilika’s thin film technology allows it to make crystalline materials consisting in a single layer of atoms. The materials will be tested at up to hundreds of degrees’ c for thousands of hours and their photonic properties evaluated. This area is sometimes referred to as nanophotonics, which is the interaction of nanometer-scale objects with light.