Press Release

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January 18, 2001

Sony Develops High Density Magnetic Tape Recording Technology for
Data Back Up and Archive Applications in the Broadband Network Era

High Density Metal Evaporated Tape and GMR Head Realize
1 Tera Byte Capacity in the 8mm Cassette Form Factor

(Tokyo, Japan)Sony Corporation today announced the development of a next-generation magnetic tape recording technology that offers high-capacity data back up and archive solutions for the broadband network era. By combining a highly sensitive GMR (Giant Magneto Resistive) head with the newly developed high-density metal evaporated tape, storage density of 6.5 Gb/inch2 (track width: 0.8um, minimum bit length: 0.1um) can be realized. This results in up to 1 tera byte capacity in the 8mm cassette form factor. Sony will now move forward to apply the technology to next-generation tape streamer systems for practical application in 2003-4.

The new technology was realized through the development of high-density metal evaporated tape that can be recorded at an extremely low noise level. In addition to thinning the tape material (30nm, 1/6 of AIT2 tape), the metal evaporation process has been optimized to micro-fabricate the magnetic particles to attain a signal-to-noise level of 26dB. Additionally, the conductive nature of the metal evaporated tape is effective in decreasing the static charge level, as the charge level of the tape is a mere 5V compared to the breaking charge level of the GMR head (40V). Head wear has also been decreased to 1/20 of the existing systems through the even fabrication process of the tape surface. Through these efforts, Sony was successful in moving beyond past technological limitations to substantially increase the recording density of magnetic tapes (17 times compared to AIT2 tapes).

Sony will now work to develop a technology to write stable high-density tracks on the tape for practical application to tape streamer systems. Additionally, development will be undertaken to improve the reliability and durability of the tape and the GMR head.
Sony has led the tape streamer market for data back up and archive purposes through the development of unique and competitive products. In 1996, Sony introduced the first generation Advanced Intelligent Tape based on helical scanning technology in an 8mm cartridge at 25GB (AIT-1). Second generation AIT-2 is now available at 50GB capacity. To meet the increased capacity demand in the broadband network era, Sony will continue its efforts to develop the next-generation tape streamer system that realizes tera byte level capacity.

Main Specifications of the Next Generation Tape Streamer Technology (provisional)
Metal Evaporated Tape
Magnetic Layer Cobalt-Cobalt Oxide
Thickness of Magnetic Layer (t) 33nm
Remnant Magnetism (Mr) 300kA/m
Mr x t 10mA
Coercive Force (Hc) 116kA/m
GMR Head
Type Shield-Spin Valve GMR Head
Head Width 0.8um
Distance between Shields 0.18um
Sense Current 5mA
MR Electric Resistance 50
Signal-to-Noise Ratio 26dB
Pulse Width at 50% Threshold (PW50) 0.24um
Track Average Amplitude(TAA) 1.6mVpp