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We examine the issue of scaling magnetic tape-recording to higher areal densities, focusing on the challenges of achieving 100 Gb/in2 in the linear tape format. The current highest achieved areal density demonstrations of 6.7 Gb/in2 in the linear tape and 23.0 Gb/in2 in the helical scan format provide a reference for this assessment. We argue that controlling the head-tape interaction is key to achieving high linear density, whereas track-following and reel-to-reel servomechanisms as well as transverse dimensional stability are key for achieving high track density. We envision that advancements in media, data-detection techniques, reel-to-reel control, and lateral motion control will enable much higher areal densities. An achievable goal is a linear density of 800 Kb/in and a track pitch of 0.2 µm, resulting in an areal density of 100 Gb/in2.
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