A new way of recording to hard drives could make them “hundreds of times faster” than current hard drive technology.

Scientists at the University of York today said they had discovered a way to record information using heat rather than a magnetic field.

It is believed the discovery will make future magnetic recording devices capable of recording terabytes of information per second.

University of York physicist Thomas Ostler said: “Instead of using a magnetic field to record information on a magnetic medium, we harnessed much stronger internal forces and recorded information using only heat.

“This revolutionary method allows the recording of terabytes of information per second, hundreds of times faster than present hard drive technology. As there is no need for a magnetic field, there is also less energy consumption.”   

Dr Alexey Kimel, from the Institute of Molecules and Materials, Radboud University Nijmegen, where some of the experimental work was carried out, said: “For centuries it has been believed that heat can only destroy the magnetic order.

“Now we have successfully demonstrated that it can, in fact, be a sufficient stimulus for recording information on a magnetic medium.”