Thursday, January 08, 2009

US Patent 7474602 - Bent CNT tip for thermal data storage

The IBM millipede project offers the prospect of higher density data storage using technology based on atomic force microscopy. The memory storage in these devices are based on thermal effects from a heated tip acting on a phase change medium. This patent teaches how the high thermal conductivity of carbon nanotubes can be used to enhance the functionality of the tips. Claim 1 reads:

1. Data storage device, comprising:

at least one write head, the write head comprising a heating element and a tip; and

a data storage medium, wherein in an operation mode of the data storage device the tip is in contact with a surface of the data storage medium and heat is applied to the tip by means of the heating element,

wherein the tip comprises a silicon tip body and a carbon nanotube element having a first portion extending in a first direction and a second portion extending in a second direction,

wherein the first direction is substantially perpendicular to a surface of the heating element and the second direction is substantially parallel to a surface of the silicon tip body, and

wherein the first portion of the carbon nanotube element is at least partially in contact with the surface of the data storage medium in the operation mode.