Magnetic Media for Future Ultra-High-Density Information Storage


MAG-UHD - 2633

Keywords magnetic tape, VCRs, HDTV


Start Date: 01-JAN-89 / Duration: 48 months

[ contact / participants ]


Objectives and Approach

The objective of MAG-UHD was to develop a high-resolution medium offering an increase in volume storage density up to a factor of 4 and a reduced error rate with respect to the present state of the art. Manufacturing steps and components have been improved to achieve:

Magnetic tapes, especially for helical scan recording, are the information media offering the highest volume storage density, even when compared with optical discs. According to the present state of the art (ie, streamers), the maximum volume storage density of these media is around 2x10{7} fc/mm{3}. This density is, for the time being, suitable for digital home audio and for the corresponding data storage system (R DAT).

Nevertheless, the emergence of new demands from the computer industry (for back-up) and from the consumer market (HDTV recorders, for instance) requires tremendous increase in the volume storage density of tape media. The use of tape-recorders, coupled with buffer memories to reduce the inconvenience of long access time, remains the best way to achieve very high rates of transfer of huge amounts of data. This new market requirement may be fulfilled by optical technologies, but magnetic tape represents the quickest answer to market demands, provided that some drawbacks of the present technology can be overcome.

The introduction of completely new processing technologies (such as surface treatments) and the use of modern physical analytical methods (such as surface spectroscopy) are necessary steps for successful work and are extensively used. Then the resulting tape should make it possible to:

Progress and Results

The consortium succeeded in developing a metal particle (MP) tape which ranks among the very best products in the field. This was commercialised in January 1993 for V8 and later the same year for Hi8 applications. This success is largely due to the extremely homogeneous tape coating achieved as a result of a newly optimised process for dispersing the magnetic particles. Other key factors were the application of a special calendering process and the development of an ultra-clean low-roughness base film in order to achieve an unusually smooth surface and a very low number of dropouts (less than 10/mm). The consortium is confident that the Hi8 HP level can be further improved later on. The partners see room for improvement in the metal particles themselves, the tape formulation and the production technology: taken together, these will bring the MP media up to a par with today's more expensive thin-film ME tape, making it suitable for future HDTV applications.

Exploitation

Thanks to the results of the project, V8, Hi8 and professional SP Beta tapes are now being produced in Europe. The project represents an important complementary element to the corresponding hardware RACE project (DVT 1001) focusing on digital video recording systems, and the final tape will be a part of every highly sophisticated future system of digital recording for computer and video applications. From that point of view the improved magnetic tape, resulting from this project, will enable the European industry to maintain and to strengthen its position in the worldwide market.


CONTACT POINT

Dr Jockusch
BASF AG
D - 6700 Ludwigshofen
tel: + 49/ 621-609-9482
fax:: + 49/ 621-609-2973

Participants

BASF MAGNETIC GMBH - D - C
TEIJIU-DU PONT FILM SA - L - P
PD MAGNETICS BV - NL - P
CNRS-MULHOUSE - F - A
ARISTOTELES UNIVERSITY OF
THESSALONIKI - GR - A
UNIVERSITE DE BORDEAUX I - F - A
INPL - F - A


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MAG-UHD - 2633, December 1993


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html version of synopsis by Nick Cook