Magnetic microscope recovers damaged dataBy Eric Smalley, Technology Research News
Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) have developed a technique for recovering data from damaged or erased magnetic media like disk drives and audio tapes.
The technique, called second harmonic magneto-resistive microscopy, uses the read-write head of a disk drive to sense and measure minute variations the media's magnetic fields. It scans lines across the media to build a complete image. The images can range in size from a few microns to several inches.
The technique can be used to recover data from digital media -- like damaged flight data recorders -- and analog media -- like mangled snippets of audio tape. The technique can also provide physical evidence of tampering. It has not been certified for use in court, however.
The technique is "very high-resolution and it gives you the strength and the polarity of the magnetic fields, which allows you to play sound back directly from the image," said David Pappas, a physicist at NIST. Pappas developed the magnetic microscope with NTIA's Steve Voran.
TRN Categories: Data Storage Technology
Story Type: News
Related Elements: Photo
July 19, 2000
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