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Magnetic recording coatings are still made predominantly of iron oxide particles but the newer particles are significantly better in magnetic properties, dispersibility and orientability than the particles used, say, ten years ago. Chromium dioxide particles show excellent recording performance (particularly at densities above 1000 flux changes per millimeter) but they are presently being challenged by the new cobalt-modified iron oxides. These are formed by diffusing cobalt into the surface of acicular iron oxide particles and it is claimed that the particles prepared in this way are much more stable with respect to temperature and stress than the older cobalt-substituted iron oxides. Metal particles, by virtue of their high moment density and high coercivity, would be ideal for high density recording if they could be passivated permanently. The paper reviews improvements which have been made within the last nine years in the properties of particles for magnetic recording applications and discusses how the improvements were effected.