New Scientists reports researchers have figured out a way to make HDDs hundreds of times faster by using a very short burst of heat generated by a laser:
It was previously thought that heat could only assist in remagnetisation when used in conjunction with a magnetic field. It turns out that zapping a magnet with a laser for less than one trillionth of a second, momentarily raising the temperature by over 800 degrees Celsius, can have the same effect. The results were published today in the journal Nature Communications.
The researchers say this new method could be used to make hard drives capable of recording terabytes of information a second, which is hundreds of times faster than existing drives. The process also uses less energy than magnetic recording, meaning the new drives would be more energy efficient.