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We have written and read bit patterns on arrays of square islands cut with a focused ion beam into granular perpendicular magnetic recording media. Using a static write–read tester, we have written square-wave bit patterns on arrays of islands with sizes between 60 and 230 nm, matching the recording linear density to the pattern period. These measurements reveal the onset of single-domain behavior for islands smaller than 130 nm, in agreement with magnetic force microscope images. The recording performance of patterned regions is systematically compared to that of unpatterned regions. © 2001 American Institute of Physics.