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Grant Award for smart materials for electronic data storage

25th February 2016

Ilika announces that it is taking part in a two-year project between Seagate and the University of Southampton (“UoS”), which has been awarded a £374,000 grant by Innovate UK. £194,000 of the grant will be used to fund project activities at Ilika.

Seagate are the market leaders in magnetic recording used in Hard Disk Drive (“HDD”) technology, most commonly used in laptops. UoS has developed world class expertise in the area of nanophotonics, the interaction of nanometer-scale objects with light.

The objective of this “Nanomaterials for Smart Data Storage” project is to provide a demonstration of “2D materials” for Seagate’s Heat-Assisted Magnetic Recording (“HAMR”) HDD applications. 2D materials, sometimes referred to as single layer materials, are crystalline materials consisting of a single layer of atoms. In this project, materials with superior nanophotonic properties are being developed to achieve improved hard drive performance and reliability. These materials must operate at temperatures of up to 300⁰C for thousands of hours, requiring extremely robust nanomaterials that have specific photonic properties allowing light energy to be conducted.

HAMR is the next generation of HDD technology under development at Seagate. When buying a laptop, consumers have to make the decision between getting either a Solid State Drive (“SSD”) or HDD as the storage component. Even though the price of SSDs have been falling, HDDs remain significantly cheaper per unit of memory. 

Commenting on this latest development, Graeme Purdy, Ilika CEO, said: "The UK has world class capability in the area of hard drive technology, nanophotonics and material discovery and optimisation. This project provides an opportunity to develop these materials for improved product performance and competitiveness for the manufacturing business of end user Seagate."

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