SapphireNanoStruct - Ceramic coatings of sapphire substrates and their laser nano-structuring for long-term data storage

funded by: FFG, opens an external URL in a new window 

project number: 44524216

project end: 09/2025

Long-term data storage is a major problem of our digital age, as current hard disks and solid-state drives have to be replaced regularly to prevent data-loss, for example. In addition, these consume a lot of energy. In contrast, ceramic data storage media would be extremely durable and long-lasting, making their careful archiving (without data-loss due to "aging" and other environmental influences) much easier and less expensive. Thus, about 99% of the energy consumption of conventional data storage devices could be saved. To develop these novel ceramic data storage devices, the synergy between optimized laser patterning (with ultrashort pulse lasers) and optimized ceramic coatings on ceramic substrates is needed.


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Thus, the aim of this BRIDGE project is to develop ceramic hard coatings (based on TiN, ZrN, HfN and CrN) on polycrystalline and monocrystalline Al2O3 (sapphire) substrates, to explore their interface formation under different heat treatments. The developed layered ceramic composites will be patterned and "written" using ultrashort pulse lasers. A detailed microinvasive analysis of the material-laser interaction in general and the ablation of the coating material in particular will ensure their suitability as ceramic data storages. This requires the interaction of the leading institutes of the TU Wien in these fields. At the Institute of Materials Science and Technology (WWWT), the corresponding coating-ceramic composites are developed and analyzed with high-resolution electron microscopy. At the Institute of Manufacturing and Photonic Technologies (IFT), their laser structuring is carried out with corresponding analysis. The bridging of these institutes of the TU Wien with the Ceramic Data Solutions GmbH (CDS) shall ensure the product development of a ceramic data storage device as well as the education of highly qualified researchers in the relevant field of layer development and laser structuring (through corresponding dissertations) for this branch of industry (as well as related branches of industry). This allows an intensification of the research performance in industrial cutting-edge research and experimental development as well as the promotion of the commercialization of this high-tech innovation.