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Friday, January 11, 2008
Imation Presents Tape Technology Breakthrough at INSIC

Imation will preview tomorrow a new multi-channel "adjacent-track" write and read tape technology that increases the capacity of conventional data storage tape.

The company will outline its new technology at the Information Storage Industry Consortium (INSIC) Tape Program Quarterly Technical Review this week in San Jose, Calif.

During the INSIC Technical Review, Imation scientist Denis Langlois will present results of the company's technology development program that enables as many as 10,000 tracks per inch (10 ktpi) on conventional magnetic particulate (MP) tapes, made using conventional, low-cost substrates (base films). Langlois' presentation highlights the new Imation technology that utilizes a combination of an amplitude-based "servo" pattern that puts the adjacent tracks on the tape, a unique thin-film head technology for recording, and a multi-layer magnetoresistive (MR) array for playback.

"Data storage tape systems have increased areal density 100,000 times over the past half century," said Dr. Subodh Kulkarni, vice president, Global Commercial Business, R&D and Manufacturing, Imation Corp. "Before 1990, the increase was primarily due to improved linear density. Since then, the application of track-following servo has enabled track density to make a more dramatic contribution. To maintain backward compatibility, designers have kept tape formats similar from generation to generation by using the same servo format and channel spans on the recording and playback heads. This design philosophy results in the need to simultaneously write and read sets of tracks that are spaced apart by significant intervals, which makes the dimensional stability of the substrate materials very critical as tracks become narrower. Without a breakthrough approach to how tracks are written on the tape, conventional, low-cost, substrates are rapidly reaching their limits. Our new adjacent-track write and read technology is an important breakthrough that has demonstrated a major advance in capacity and track- following capability."

Imation technology enables as many as 10,000 tracks per inch (10 ktpi) on conventionalsubstrates such as PET and PEN while practically eliminating dimensional stability concerns in the media.

The company's proprietary "sandwich" reader uses layers of reading devices to minimize the cross-tape spacing between them, while a mixed-frequency redundant amplitude-based servo system that enables a tracking precision of 40 to 50 nm

Imation said that the technology will demonstrate multichannel write and read, with capability to store 1.6 TB in a conventional LTO4 cartridge.

The company intends to work with others in the INSIC tape organization to explore the potential to commercialize this technology, expanding the capacities of traditional tape formats.

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