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Thermal effect limits in ultrahigh-density magnetic recording

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2 Author(s)
D. Weller ; IBM Almaden Res. Center, San Jose, CA, USA ; A. Moser

In current longitudinal magnetic recording media, high areal density and low noise are achieved by statistical averaging over several hundred weakly coupled ferromagnetic grains per bit cell. Continued scaling to smaller bit and grain sizes, however, may prompt spontaneous magnetization reversal processes when the stored energy per particle starts competing with thermal energy, thereby limiting the achievable areal density. Charap et al. have predicted this to occur at about 40 Gbits/in2. This paper discusses thermal effects in the framework of basic Arrhenius-Neel statistical switching models. It is emphasized that magnetization decay is intimately related to high-speed-switching phenomena. Thickness-, temperature- and bit-density dependent recording experiments reveal the onset of thermal decay at “stability ratios” (KuV/KBT)0 ≃35 ± 2. The stability requirement is grain size dispersion dependent and shifts to about 60 for projected 40 Gbits/in 2 conditions and ten-year storage times. Higher anisotropy and coercivity media with reduced grain sizes are logical extensions of the current technology until write field limitations are reached. Future advancements will rely on deviations from traditional scaling. Squarer bits may reduce destabilizing stray fields inside the bit transitions. Perpendicular recording may shift the onset of thermal effects to higher bit densities. Enhanced signal processing may allow signal retrieval with fewer grains per bit. Finally, single grain per bit recording may be envisioned in patterned media, with lithographically defined bits

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Magnetics  (Volume:35 ,  Issue: 6 )