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Microstructural evolution and thermal stability of thin CoCrTa/Cr films for longitudinal magnetic recording media

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4 Author(s)
Ross, C.A. ; Komag Inc., Milpitas, CA, USA ; Ross, F.M. ; Bertero, G. ; Tang, K.

The microstructure and time-dependent magnetic properties of 2.8-60-nm-thick films of CoCrTa sputtered onto a Cr underlayer were measured. The thinnest films have a discontinuous microstructure with several CoCrTa nuclei forming on each Cr grain, with small angular misalignments from the exact epitaxial crystal orientation. For films of 10-nm thickness and above, the grains coalesce. There is evidence for stacking faults at all thicknesses although their appearance in atomic resolution micrographs changes with thickness. Magnetic switching volumes were measured from the change in coercivity with the scan rate of the external magnetic field. The ratio kV/kT of magnetic-to-thermal energy within the switching volume decreases as the film thickness decreases, and films thinner than 10 mn have kV/HT<60 and would show significant decay of recorded data if used in longitudinal media applications. The magnetic switching volumes are similar in magnitude but generally larger than the physical grain volume indicating magnetic interactions between the grains

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Magnetics, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:34 ,  Issue: 1 )