A remarkable convergence between the magnetic hard-drive industry and photonics technology is about to take place through the use of lasers to switch magnetisation at the nanoscale using plasmonics powered by a semiconductor laser. This heat assisted magnetic recording will enable storage densities of 1 terabit per square inch. The laser needs to be integrated with the read-write head and needs to operate under severe temperature conditions. The implementation of lasers in manufactured products requires the attainment of new knowledge by the magnetics industry along with the response of the academic industry to the new performance challenges. These goals can only be reached through a strong collaborative programme between industry and academia. The scientific programme is to study the properties of III-V materials to allow higher temperature operation and to study the reliability of lasers when formed by etching. The knowledge will be transferred through the cross-border secondment of staff and researchers between Seagate and the Tyndall National Institute

**Latest News**

  • December 2015: The COMPASS project concluded in Dec 2015. You can learn more about the use of photonics in heat assisted magnetic recording (HAMR) and also about the collaboration between Tyndall and Seagate in a short (6 minute) film made for “The Science Squad” TV Series which was broadcast on Irish national television in Nov. 2014.

    You can learn more about the scientific results of the COMPASS project through the papers listed under our publications page.

  • August 2015: COMPASS Marie Curie researcher Dr. Jacek Gosciniak presents an invited talk entitled Plasmonics for Heat-assisted magnetic recording at the IEEE Magnetics-sponsored TMRC 2015 (The Magnetic Recording Conference) in Minneapolis, USA. IEEE_Mag


  • May 2015: COMPASS researcher Donagh O’Mahony visits primary schools in Cork county asIOl2 part of International Year of Light. In conjunction with Tyndall’s outreach activity program, researchers from the Tyndall institute visited a number of primary schools around Cork county to showcase some of the latest photonic technologies being developed in Ireland, including an interesting discussion on the HAMR concept being developed as part of the COMPASS project. 
  • APRIL 2015Tyndall researchers seconded to Seagate. This month saw the secondment of two Tyndall researchers to Seagate in Derry as part of the knowledge transfer activities within the COMPASS project. PhD student Roisín Kelly and Dr Nikolay Petkov of the Electron Microscopy Facility (EMF) at Tyndall are working in Seagate over the coming months on high resolution imaging of magnetic materials in conjunction with Seagate’s experienced microscopy engineers. 
  • March 2015:  COMPASS researcher Brian Corbett presented a talk on photonics at the earth hour
    Lifelong Learning Festival event for Earth Hour Saturday March 28th 2015 County Hall, Cork 
  • February 2015Seagate visit to Tyndall. Seagate Engineer Marcus Mooney visited Tyndall on 6th February as part of the COMPASS project year 3 review meeting. Photo: Marcus Mooney, Brian Corbett and Alin Fericou with the Advanced Micro-Transfer-Printing tool being developed by X-Celeprint at Tyndall’s central fabrication facility.


  • January 2015Tyndall showcases Photonics technologies at BT Young Scientist Exhibition. The BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition took place in the RDS arena, Dublin from January 5th – 9th 2015 .  A five-person team from Tyndall, including COMPASS project researcher Niall Boohan, volunteered at the event, sharing the Intel stand with teams from CRANN and CIT’s Nimbus centre. +45,000 people attended the event in total, with hugely positive feedback from the public regarding the Tyndall stand.

COMPASS Collaboration between Tyndall and Seagate featured on “The Science Squad” TV Series (Nov. 2014)

Brian Corbett 1

Seagate announce major investment in HAMR technology (Oct. 23rd 2014)



EU FP7 Marie Curie Industry-Academia Partnerships and Pathways (IAPP)

Grant Agreement:  286285
Duration: Jan 1st 2011 – Dec 31st 2015