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HDDs record data by magnetizing ferromagnetic material directionally, to represent either a 0 or a 1 binary digit. They read the data back by detecting the magnetization of the material. A typical HDD design consists of a spindle which holds one or more flat circular disks called platters, onto which the data is recorded. The platters are made from a non-magnetic material, usually aluminum alloy or glass, and are coated with a thin layer of magnetic material. Older disks used iron(III) oxide as the magnetic material, but current disks use a cobalt-based alloy. The platters are spun at very high speeds (details follow). Information is written to a platter as it rotates past devices called read-and-write heads that operate very close (tens of nanometers in new drives) over the magnetic surface. The read-and-write head is used to detect and modify the magnetization of the material immediately under it. There is one head for each magnetic platter surface on the spindle, mounted on a common arm. An actuator arm (or access arm) moves the heads on an arc (roughly radially) across the platters as they spin, allowing each head to access almost the entire surface of the platter as it spins. The arm is moved using a voice coil actuator or (in older designs) a stepper motor. Stepper motors were outside the head-disk chamber, and preceded voice-coil drives. The latter, for a while, had a structure similar to that of a loudspeaker; the coil and heads moved in a straight line, along a radius of the platters. The present-day structure differs in several respects from that of the earlier voice-coil drives, but the same interaction between the coil and magnetic field still applies, and the term is still used.

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Q: How does data get stored in hard disk and CD and what is the role of magnetism in the storage process?
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