Fujifilm develops technology to deliver the world’s highest magnetic tape storage capacity of 580TB using Strontium Ferrite magnetic particles

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World record 317 Gbpsi recording density verified

TOKYO – FUJIFILM Corporation (President: Kenji Sukeno) is pleased to announce that it has achieved a world record 317 Gbpsi recording density with data storage tapes using a new magnetic particle called Strontium Ferrite (SrFe)4. The record was set in tests conducted jointly with IBM Research. These tests signal the development of landmark technology that can produce data cartridges with the capacity of 580 terabytes (TB), approximately 50 times greater than the capacity of current cartridges5. The capacity of 580TB is enough to store data equivalent to 120,000 DVDs.

SrFe is a highly magnetic and stable material, widely used as a raw material in magnets for motors, that maintains high performance even when processed into fine particles. Fujifilm has applied proprietary technology to successfully develop ultra-fine SrFe magnetic particles for use in magnetic tape media. The company has been conducting R&D for commercial use of SrFe magnetic particles as a potential replacement for the current standard, Barium Ferrite (BaFe). Testing has been conducted at the company’s existing coating facility, confirming the ability to support mass production and commercialization.

Fujifilm has evolved its proprietary NANOCUBICTM magnetic tape technology6 to further increase recording density. This nanoparticle technology adds trace elements and modifies blending conditions to produce ultra-fine SrFe magnetic particles that are 60% smaller than the BaFe particles currently used on data storage tape. A dispersant formula then evenly distributes and arranges the ultra-fine SrFe magnetic particles at nanoscale to achieve a high signal-to-noise ratio.

The addition of a newly-developed non-magnetic underlayer has improved the smoothness of the tape surface even further, reducing the space between the tape’s data layer and the tape drive’s magnetic head for enhanced readback output. When combined with IBM Research’s new track-follow technology7, signal processing technology8, and recording/readback devices that support them, the magnetic tape with a servo pattern9 can deliver a world record 317 Gbpsi recording density.

The world’s data storage needs are increasing exponentially with HD 4K/8K video, IoT/ICT, hybrid cloud environments,10 and the proliferation of “big data” analysis. Emerging technologies like smart manufacturing, connected vehicles and hybrid cloud environments ensure data will continue its growth trajectory. “Cold data,” stored long-term and rarely accessed, is said to account for over 80% of all data stored today and is increasing in its value to businesses.

Rising cybercrime also supports the use of data storage tape, which can be “air gapped” (physically isolated from network connections) and therefore is secure from online cyberattacks.

Today’s data tape provides safe, affordable and long-term storage, and has long been used by major data centers and research organizations. As the world’s top11 manufacturer of data storage tape, Fujifilm will continue to develop and supply high-performance and high-quality media and services that meet customer needs and solve social issues.

Fujifilm’s technologies that have contributed to the 580TB achievement:

1) Development of fine SrFe magnetic particles

    • Fujifilm has successfully developed SrFe magnetic particles, which have higher magnetic characteristics and 60% less particle volume compared to BaFe particles used in current magnetic tape media (Figure 2). They demonstrate excellent recording/read back performance with low noise.
    • Similarly to BaFe, SrFe is an oxide and therefore is very stable chemically, suggesting expectations of excellent performance in long-term data storage.

2) Enhanced perpendicular orientation of SrFe magnetic particles

Formulation of fine particles typically creates difficulty in achieving their even dispersion. Fujifilm has applied a new dispersant formula and unique process technology to establish precise particle dispersion, thereby maximizing the performance of fine SrFe magnetic particles. Evenly-dispersed SrFe magnetic particles are then arranged perpendicularly to achieve a high signal-to-noise ratio.

Schematic image of Tape Structure and Electron Microscope Comparison of Barium Ferrite and Strontium Ferrite Particles

3) Improved smoothness of magnetic tape surface

The use of a newly-developed smooth non-magnetic layer (underlayer) has reduced unevenness in the interface between the magnetic layer and the non-magnetic layer, improving the smoothness of the tape surface. This allows a magnetic head to get closer to the tape surface (low spacing) when reading signals, recorded in the magnetic layer, boosting signal detection accuracy and replay output performance.

4) Development of high-precision servo writing technology

Fujifilm has developed a unique tape-handling technology to control tape vibrations when writing servo patterns. Fluctuation of servo signals is minimized to maximize drive tracking performance, as assessed by IBM Research, thereby achieving high-density data recording across the tape width.


About Fujifilm
FUJIFILM Recording Media U.S.A., Inc. is FUJIFILM Holdings Corporation’s US-based manufacturing, marketing and sales company for data storage tape and data management solutions. The company provides data center customers and enterprise industry partners with a wide range of innovative products and archival solutions. Based on a history of thin-film engineering and magnetic particle science such as Fujifilm’s NANOCUBIC™ and Barium Ferrite technology, Fujifilm creates breakthrough data storage products.  Worldwide, Fujifilm has surpassed the 170 million milestone for the number of LTO Ultrium data cartridges manufactured and sold since introduction, establishing the company as the leading global manufacturer of mid-range and enterprise data tape.

For more information on FUJIFILM Recording Media products, customers can call 800-488-3854 or go to https://www.fujifilm.com/us/en/business/data-storage. To receive news and information direct from Fujifilm via RSS, subscribe at www.fujifilmusa.com/rss.

FUJIFILM Holdings Corporation, Tokyo, Japan, brings cutting edge solutions to a broad range of global industries by leveraging its depth of knowledge and fundamental technologies developed in its relentless pursuit of innovation. Its proprietary core technologies contribute to the various fields including healthcare, graphic systems, highly functional materials, optical devices, digital imaging and document products. These products and services are based on its extensive portfolio of chemical, mechanical, optical, electronic and imaging technologies. For the year ended March 31, 2019, the company had global revenues of $22 billion, at an exchange rate of 111 yen to the dollar. Fujifilm is committed to responsible environmental stewardship and good corporate citizenship. For more information, please visit: www.fujifilmholdings.com

1 As of the time of media release on December 16, 2020; Non-compressed data capacity, according to Fujifilm

2 As of the time of media release on December 16, 2020; Among particulate magnetic tapes, according to Fujifilm

3 Gigabits per square inch, a unit of measurement for recording density

4 Based on a verification test performed by IBM Research Europe in Zurich, Switzerland.

5 Comparison with LTO8

6 Fujifilm’s proprietary magnetic tape technology for providing nanoscale thin layer coating to achieve high-density magnetic recording; It combines NanoParticle technology for formulating fine magnetic particles, Nano Dispersion technology for evenly dispersing and arranging fine magnetic particles and Nano Coating technology for coating tapes with an ultra-thin layer of  particles.

7 Technology for positioning a magnetic head on data tracks at a precision on the order of nanometers

8 Signal processing algorithm for reducing the rate of errors occurring when reading data even when it is recorded at high density, so as to ensure a high level of data reliability

  Magnetic signals containing location information, pre-recorded into magnetic tapes so that a magnetic head can record and read back data in a correct position

10   IT infrastructure that combines public clouds, shared by multiple companies, with a private cloud environment to optimize speed, robustness, security and cost performance

11 Manufacturer share, according to Fujifilm

12 Source: JEITA (Japan Electronics and Information Technology Industries Association

Media Contact:
Robert Wallace
FUJIFILM Holdings America Corp., Inc.