Societys ever-increasing demands for information and data storage are to be the focus of a new centre for training researchers who will seek to develop innovative laser technology to take cloud computing to the next level.
The CDT is being created to address skills shortages in nanofabrication and photonic integration. Photonic integration is similar to electronic integration and involves the integration of many different types of optical components on a common platform. Lasers, modulators, detectors, multiplexers and optical amplifiers are examples of optical components that need to be integrated.
The Centres focus will be on developing highly-manufacturable photonic integration technologies related to the magnetic storage of digital information. However, it is anticipated that the development of these technologies will be relevant to a wide spectrum of end-users from telecommunications to biophotonics, in which optical technologies are applied to living organisms and health care.
The ability to store digital information has become a growing concern, as the memory capacity of even the smallest of devices, such as smartphones, has grown exponentially.
The biggest growth sector is in what is called cloud computing, where data is stored remotely. Already, almost all of e-commerce and the internet rely entirely on data farms filled with large numbers of server computers and these use HDDs to store commercial and personal information everything from bank details to social media. Cloud computing is increasing this need for storage; in 2010 the cloud accounted for 25% of storage use and by 2020 it will account for more than 60%. This growth is driven by the use of mobile systems for example a server is needed for every 600 smartphones or 120 tablet computers which means that HDDs of increasing capacity are required.
To address these capacity issues, new technology will be required and that is likely to be heat-assisted magnetic recording (HAMR), which uses electromagnetic energy to locally heat the disk to ease the process of writing data on to it. It would allow recording densities to continue to increase at the same rate as happened over the past decade.
HAMR will require the integration of photonic components such as lasers, waveguides and plasmonic antennas into the recording head. This exciting technology will be the focus of the new CDT where the key challenge for the researchers will be to make HAMR deployable as a low-cost manufacturable technology.
The developments required by HAMR will drive low-cost photonic integration and plasmonic technology into other industries and applications.
The CDT will offer new PhD students a unique training and research environment and places are expected to be highly sought-after. Students will carry out research in both institutions, spend time with industry partners and carry out a three-week study period at
Media enquiries: please contact
Liz.Buie@glasgow.ac.uk; 0141 330 2702; 07527 335373.
Notes to editors:
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
EPSRC invests around 800 million a year in research and postgraduate training, to help the nation handle the next generation of technological change. The areas covered range from information technology to structural engineering, and mathematics to materials science. This research forms the basis for future economic development in the
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