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French Physicists Claim Breakthrough in ­ltra-Fast Data Access

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Superfast lasers could potentially be used to make storage and retrieval of data on hard disks up to 100,000 times faster, according to French physicists. A team led by Jean-Yves Bigot of the Institute of Materials Physics and Chemistry in Strasbourg used a femtosecond laser to alter electron spin and accelerate the pace of data retrieval and storage.

"Our method is called the photonics of spin, because it is photons [particles of light] that modify the state of the electrons' magnetization" on the storage surface, Bigot says. The burst of laser light lasts only a millionth of a billionth of a second. The team used femtosecond lasers measuring about 30 centimeters by 10 centimeters, which is too big for consumer electronics. However, the researchers say the lasers could be scaled down during the next decade.

From Agence France Presse (France)
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Abstracts Copyright © 2009 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


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