Yenra : Electronics : NanoCap : Nano Composite Advanced Particles : Magnetic tape storage capacity increases

Hitachi Maxell has successfully developed an epoch-making ultra fine spherical-shaped magnetic particle, "NanoCAP" (Nano Composite Advanced Particles) which could fundamentally change the face of conventional magnetic particle technology for magnetic coating tapes.

The magnetic tape recording media industry has long been characterized by rapid changes and advances in tape capacities and/or densities. Maxell has maintained its industry dominance and leadership through the successful development and introduction of cutting-edge, high-capacity computer backup tapes such as the world's first Super DLTtapeTM(160GB), LTO Ultrium 1 (100GB) data cartridge, and LTO Ultrium 2 (200GB) data cartridge, as well as leading popular audio and video application magnetic tape media.

The recording density of magnetic tape continues to increase rapidly while the size of magnetic particles has continued to become smaller, in response to market demands for higher recording capacity. Commonly used magnetic tapes all generally employ needle-like magnetic particles that are long and slender in shape. However, as the needle-liked magnetic particles become smaller, it becomes more difficult to maintain or improve the magnetic energy required for high-capacity and high-density recording. This has always been a major challenge in the development of future generations of magnetic tape.

The world is moving toward a ubiquitous society and demand for magnetic tape with higher capacities and recording-densities will continue to increase. Maxell has successfully developed a magnetic particle that enables improvement of its magnetic energy not simply by downsizing the conventional needle-like magnetic particles but by focusing on the shape of the individual particle itself. The company has realized advanced miniaturization of magnetic particles by engineering ultra-fine spherical-shaped particles with excellent coercivity and saturation magnetization for advanced magnetic recording performance.

"NanoCAP" magnetic particles consist of a revolutionary technology that could change intrinsic methods used in producing conventional magnetic particle coating tapes. Maxell continues its aggressive challenge to realize further advances in the development and mass production of future generation high capacity computer backup tapes.

Epoch-making Spherical-shaped magnetic particle Particles used in magnetic coating computer tape with the highest recording densities currently available typically utilize needle-like metal magnetic particles with a particle length of about 100 nanometers. As demand increases for higher capacity magnetic tapes, higher recording densities will be required, thus developmental efforts to engineer an even finer needle-like metal magnetic particle have been undertaken.

However, as the needle-liked magnetic particles become smaller, both coercivity (ability to retain magnetic energy) and saturation magnetization (amount of magnetic energy) that are essential for increasing recording capacity and density, tend to decrease. The trade-off between coercivity/magnetization and particle size has been the primary impediment, making it theoretically difficult to continue engineering of needle-like particles for advanced magnetic tapes that require higher recording densities.

The NanoCAP particles successfully developed by Maxell is an epoch making magnetic particle which can resolve these issues. Its a unique spherical–shaped ultra-fine particle with a diameter of about 20 nanometers. This is only 1/5 of the size of conventional needle-like metal magnetic particles. Due to its unique particle structure and materials, NanoCAP provides extraordinary magnetic performance when compared with conventional needle-like particles, with coercivity exceeding 240kA/m (3000Oe) and extremely high saturation magnetization of over 120emu/g.

The spherical shape of NanoCAP particles are suitable for forming the closest possible packing structure and increasing the number of particles per unit volume. This allows even thinner magnetic layer coating that can be expected to result in further increases in output levels. It also exhibits features that are suitable for vertical magnetic recording in future recording methods. The saturation magnetization characteristics of NanoCAP is 200% better than the Barium-Ferrite magnetic particle, well known for its high coercivity and considered one of the most promising candidates to be used for future high density magnetic recording media.

Maxell has always been committed to advanced research and development of magnetic particles to improve the core technology of magnetic recording, and has succeeded in reaching various milestone developments such as "Epitaxial" magnetic particles in Cobalt Modified Gamma Ferric Oxides, and "Ceramic Armor Metal Particles" which realized rapid improvement in anti-corrosion characteristics and resulted in widespread utilization of metal (pure-iron) magnetic particles.

Maxell's primary objective in the immediate future is the full utilization of NanoCAP magnetic particles into development of ultra-thin magnetic layer computer backup tapes with 10TB class storage capacities, and also to develop various magnetic recording media such as high-density digital videotapes for broadcasting & consumer applications. Maxell will also pursue other applications for new engineering materials. With these challenging targets in mind, we will continue our research and development activities into advanced magnetic particles for core technology of future magnetic recording media.