Sony tape
Technology for a tape cartridge capable of storing almost 4,000 times more data than a Blu-ray disc has been developed by Sony.

Sony has developed technology for a tape cartridge capable of storing up to 185 terabytes of data, almost 4,000 times more storage than a Blu-ray disc.

The magnetic tape material is able to store data at around 74 times the density of standard tape used today, holding two gigabits per square inch.

Although eclipsed as a medium for storage by hard drives and flash drives in recent years, magnetic tape is still used in data centres and corporate archives to preserve important data over long periods of time.

In 2012, tape capacity shipments actually increased by 13% and were predicted to rise by 26% in 2013 by the Tape Storage Council industry group.

Sony will be unveiling the new technology jointly with IBM at the Intermag Europe 2014 international magnetics conference in Germany on 4 May.

Sony tape cartridge

The tape is made using a vacuum thin film-forming technology referred to as sputter disposition. It works by shooting ions at a polymer film in order to create a miniscule layer of magnetic crystal particles measuring just 7.7 nanometres.

"By optimising sputter conditions and independently developing a soft magnetic underlayer with a smooth interface, Sony has made it possible to minimise disparities in crystalline length and growth," the Japan-based electronics giant said in a statement.

"This enabled Sony to create a nano-grained magnetic layer composed of fine magnetic particles with an average size of 7.7 nm."

The technology could find use in cartridges similar to old console games, only with the ability to store vastly greater amounts of data.

Sony hopes to be able to commercialise the new tape, though it is unclear when such technology might appear on the market.