The Register reports TDK has developed a heat-assisted magnetic recording technique that could double HDD capacity:
Japanese disk drive head supplier TDK says it has added a laser heater to its platter licking devices to enable heat-assisted magnetic recording. In non-boffinry speak, this will double disk drives' areal density - and therefore double capacity. All suppliers have to do is come up with the right chemical mix for the platters.
Current perpendicular magnetic recording technology will hit a brick wall in a generation or two: as the size of each stored bit shrinks, the disk capacity increases, but the platters lose their ability to hold the magnetic direction for each bit in a stable manner. There's only so far you can shrink the bits before they stop being useful; it's called the superparamagnetic limit..