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A method of heat-assisted magnetic recording (HAMR) potentially suitable for probe-based storage systems is characterized. In this work, field emission current from a scanning tunneling microscope (STM) tip is used as the heating source. Pulse voltages of 2-7 V with a duration of 500 ns were applied to a CoNi/Pt multilayered film. Different types of Ir/Pt and W STM tips were used in the experiment. The results show that thermally recorded magnetic marks are formed with a nearly uniform mark size of 170 nm when the pulse voltage is above a threshold voltage. The threshold voltage depends on the material work function of the tip, with W having a threshold voltage about 1 V lower than Pt. The emission area of our tip-sample system derived from an analytic expression for field emission current is approximately equal to the mark size, and is largely independent of pulse voltage. This emission area is large compared to lateral heat diffusion in the film. Thus higher applied voltages lead to higher peak temperatures in the model of the write process, but the mark diameter remains relatively unchanged.
Date of Publication: July 2004