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Concept: Hard disk drive


The advent of devices based on single dopants, such as the single-atom transistor, the single-spin magnetometer and the single-atom memory, has motivated the quest for strategies that permit the control of matter with atomic precision. Manipulation of individual atoms by low-temperature scanning tunnelling microscopy provides ways to store data in atoms, encoded either into their charge state, magnetization state or lattice position. A clear challenge now is the controlled integration of these individual functional atoms into extended, scalable atomic circuits. Here, we present a robust digital atomic-scale memory of up to 1 kilobyte (8,000 bits) using an array of individual surface vacancies in a chlorine-terminated Cu(100) surface. The memory can be read and rewritten automatically by means of atomic-scale markers and offers an areal density of 502 terabits per square inch, outperforming state-of-the-art hard disk drives by three orders of magnitude. Furthermore, the chlorine vacancies are found to be stable at temperatures up to 77 K, offering the potential for expanding large-scale atomic assembly towards ambient conditions.

Concepts: Magnetic field, Density, Earth's magnetic field, Atom, Solid-state drive, Computer, SI prefix, Hard disk drive


End-of-life recycling is promoted by OECD countries as a promising strategy in the current global supply crisis surrounding rare earth elements (REEs) so that dependence on China, the dominant supplier, can be decreased. So far the feasibility and potential yield of REE recycling has not been systematically evaluated. This paper estimates the annual waste flows of neodymium and dysprosium from permanent magnets -the main deployment of these critical REEs-during the 2011 to 2030 period. The estimates focus on three key permanent magnet waste flows: wind turbines, hybrid and electric vehicles, and hard disk drives (HDDs) in personal computers (PCs). This is a good indication of the end-of-life recycling of neodymium and dysprosium maximum potential yield. Results show that for some time to come, waste flows from permanent magnets will remain small relative to the rapidly growing global REE demand. Policymakers therefore need to be aware that during the next decade recycling is unlikely to substantially contribute to global REE supply security. In the long term, waste flows will increase sharply and will meet a substantial part of the total demand for these metals. Future REE recycling efforts should, therefore, focus on the development of recycling technology and infrastructure.

Concepts: Magnetic field, Magnet, Magnetism, Computer, Recycling, Rare earth element, Neodymium, Hard disk drive


Electronic activity monitors (such as those manufactured by Fitbit, Jawbone, and Nike) improve on standard pedometers by providing automated feedback and interactive behavior change tools via mobile device or personal computer. These monitors are commercially popular and show promise for use in public health interventions. However, little is known about the content of their feedback applications and how individual monitors may differ from one another.

Concepts: Vacuum tube, Public health, Health, Computer, Mobile device, Personal computer, Word processor, Hard disk drive


We generate jammed packings of monodisperse circular hard-disks in two dimensions using the Torquato-Jiao sequential linear programming algorithm. The packings display a wide diversity of packing fractions, average coordination numbers, and order as measured by standard scalar order metrics. This geometric-structure approach enables us to show the existence of relatively large maximally random jammed (MRJ) packings with exactly isostatic jammed backbones and a packing fraction (including rattlers) of [Formula: see text]. By contrast, the concept of random close packing (RCP) that identifies the most probable packings as the most disordered misleadingly identifies highly ordered disk packings as RCP in 2D. Fundamental structural descriptors such as the pair correlation function, structure factor, and Voronoi statistics show a strong contrast between the MRJ state and the typical hyperstatic, polycrystalline packings with [Formula: see text] that are more commonly obtained using standard packing protocols. Establishing that the MRJ state for monodisperse hard disks is isostatic and qualitatively distinct from commonly observed polycrystalline packings contradicts conventional wisdom that such a disordered, isostatic packing does not exist due to a lack of geometrical frustration and sheds light on the nature of disorder. This prompts the question of whether an algorithm may be designed that is strongly biased toward generating the monodisperse disk MRJ state.

Concepts: Function, Disc, Dimension, Fraction, Linear programming, Mathematics in medieval Islam, Hard disk drive, Random close pack


Neodymium is one of the more critical rare earth elements with respect to current availability, and is most often used in high performance magnets. In this paper we compare the virgin production route of these magnets with two hypothetical recycling processes in terms of environmental impact. The first recycling process looks at manual dismantling of computer hard disk drives (HDDs) combined with a novel hydrogen based recycling process. The second process assumes HDDs are shredded. Our life cycle assessment is based both on up to date literature and our own experimental data. Because the production process of neodymium oxide is generic to all rare earths, we also report the life cycle inventory data for the production of rare earth oxides separately. We conclude that recycling of neodymium, especially via manual dismantling, is preferable to primary production, with some environmental indicators showing an order of magnitude improvement. The choice of recycling technology is also important with respect to resource recovery. While manual disassembly allows in principle for all magnetic material to be recovered, shredding leads to very low recovery rates (<10%).

Concepts: Oxygen, Recycling, Rare earth element, Life cycle assessment, Design for X, Neodymium, Rare-earth magnet, Hard disk drive


Current perpendicular-to-plane (CPP) giant magnetoresistance (GMR) effects are of interest in a possible application of magnetic sensor elements, such as read-head of hard disk drives. To improve the junction performance, the interface tailoring effects were investigated for the Heulser alloy, Co₂Fe0.4Mn0.6Si (CFMS), based CPP-GMR junctions with an L 1 2 -Ag₃Mg ordered alloy spacer. Ultra-thin Fe or Mg inserts were utilized for the CFMS/Ag₃Mg interfaces, and CPP-GMR at low bias current density, J and the J dependence were evaluated for the junctions. Although, at low bias J, MR ratio decreased with increasing the inserts thickness, the device output at high bias J exhibited quite weak dependence on the insert thickness. The output voltages of the order of 4 mV were obtained for the junctions regardless of the insert at an optimal bias J for each. The critical current density J c was evaluated by the shape of MR curves depending on J. J c increased with the insert thicknesses up to 0.45 nm. The enhancement of J c suggests that spin-transfer-torque effect may reduce in the junctions with inserts, which enables a reduction of noise and can be an advantage for device applications.

Concepts: Electromagnetism, Magnetic field, Solid-state drive, User interface, Spintronics, Magnetoresistance, Giant magnetoresistance, Hard disk drive


This study analyses the current habits and practices towards the store, repair and second-hand purchase of small electrical and electronic devices belonging to the category of information and communication technology (ICT). To this end, a survey was designed and conducted with a representative sample size of 400 individuals through telephone interviews for the following categories: MP3/MP4, video camera, photo camera, mobile phone, tablet, e-book, laptop, hard disk drive, navigator-GPS, radio/radio alarm clock. According to the results obtained, there is a tendency to store disused small ICT devices at home. On average for all the small ICT categories analysed, 73.91% of the respondents store disused small ICT devices at home. Related to the habits towards the repair and second-hand purchase of small ICT devices, 65.5% and 87.6% of the respondents have never taken to repair and have never purchased second-hand, respectively, small ICT devices. This paper provides useful and hitherto unavailable information about the current habits of discarding and reusing ICT devices. It can be concluded that there is a need to implement awareness-raising campaigns to encourage these practices, which are necessary to reach the minimum goals established regarding preparation for reuse set out in the Directive 2012/19/EU for the category small electrical and electronic equipment.

Concepts: Electricity, Computer, Reuse, Mobile phone, Electronics, Camera, Electronic engineering, Hard disk drive


In the era of big data, there exists a growing gap between data generated and storage capacity using two-dimensional (2D) magnetic storage technologies (for example, hard disk drives), because they have reached their performance saturation. 3D volumetric all-optical magnetic holography is emerging rapidly as a promising road map to realizing high-density capacity for its fast magnetization control and subwavelength magnetization volume. However, most of the reported light-induced magnetization confronts the problems of impurely longitudinal magnetization, diffraction-limited spot, and uncontrollable magnetization reversal. To overcome these challenges, we propose a novel 3D light-induced magnetic holography based on the conceptual supercritical design with multibeam combination in the 4π microscopic system. We theoretically demonstrate a 3D deep super-resolved [Formula: see text] purely longitudinal magnetization spot by focusing six coherent circularly polarized beams with two opposing high numerical aperture objectives, which allows 3D magnetic holography with a volumetric storage density of up to 1872 terabit per cubic inches. The number and locations of the super-resolved magnetization spots are controllable, and thus, desired magnetization arrays in 3D volume can be produced with properly designed phase filters. Moreover, flexible magnetization reversals are also demonstrated in multifocal arrays by using different illuminations with opposite light helicity. In addition to data storage, this magnetic holography may find applications in information security, such as identity verification for a credit card with magnetic stripe.

Concepts: Density, Volume, Solid-state drive, 2D computer graphics, Storage media, Computer data storage, Hard disk drive, Computer storage media


Nearly ten years have passed since the first mobile apps appeared. Given the fact that bioinformatics is a web-based world and that mobile devices are endowed with web-browsers, it seemed natural that bioinformatics would transit from personal computers to mobile devices but nothing could be further from the truth. The transition demands new paradigms, designs and novel implementations.

Concepts: Truth, Epistemology, Computer, 2006 albums, Fact, Mobile device, Personal computer, Hard disk drive


Nd-Fe-B permanent magnets are a strategic material for a number of emerging technologies. They are a key component in the most energy efficient electric motors and generators, thus, they are vital for energy technologies, industrial applications and automation, and future forms of mobility. Rare earth elements (REEs) such as neodymium, dysprosium and praseodymium are also found in waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) in volumes that grow with the technological evolution, and are marked as critical elements by the European Commission due to their high economic importance combined with significant supply risks. Recycling could be a good approach to compensate for the lack of rare earths (REs) on the market. However, less than 1% of REs are currently being recycled, mainly because of non-existing collection logistics, lack of information about the quantity of RE materials available for recycling and recycling-unfriendly product designs. To improve these lack of information, different waste streams of electrical and electronic equipment from an industrial recycling plant were analyzed in order to localize, identify and collect RE permanent magnets of the Nd-Fe-B type. This particular type of magnets were mainly found in hard disk drives (HDDs) from laptops and desktop computers, as well as in loudspeakers from compact products such as flat screen TVs, PC screens, and laptops. Since HDDs have been investigated thoroughly by many authors, this study focusses on other potential Nd-Fe-B resources in electronic waste. The study includes a systematic survey of the chemical composition of the Nd-Fe-B magnets found in the selected waste streams, which illustrates the evolution of the Nd-Fe-B alloys over the years. The study also provides an overview over the types of magnets integrated in different waste electric and electronic equipment.

Concepts: Recycling, Rare earth element, Electrical generator, Monazite, Dysprosium, Neodymium, Rare-earth magnet, Hard disk drive