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Bit-Patterned Media for High-Density HDDs

Bit-patterned media (BPM) are a type of magnetic recording medium in which the magnetic layer is reduced to the size of one bit (one magnetic dot and space). This technology is attracting attention as a candidate high-density magnetic recording medium for hard disk drives (HDDs). When BPM technology is used for a recording density exceeding 2.5 Tbits/in2, the size of the magnetic dot must be reduced to not more than 10 nm. This size is challenging for the manufacturing process, even when cutting-edge semiconductor processing technology is used. An etching mask made of a self-assembled polymer has been proposed as a solution to this issue. However, it is difficult to shape an ordered dot array into complicated structures such as servo patterns, which are necessary for the read and write operations of a HDD.

Toshiba has developed a manufacturing method using guide patterns to control an array of self-assembled dots, and has successfully fabricated a BPM that has servo patterns made of dot arrays with a pitch of 17 nm corresponding to 2.5 Tbits/in2 as well as data tracks with ordered dots. We have also succeeded in making a recording head fly over and stay at a data track of the fabricated BPM, enabling us to demonstrate the servocontrol operation of a recording head flying on a BPM with self-assembled dots for the first time in the world(*). With further development, this technology will become applicable to the fundamental operations of HDDs; that is, the writing and reading of data to and from individual dots.

This work was partly supported by the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) under the “Green IT” Project.

(*) As of August 2010, at the 21st Magnetic Recording Conference 2010 (TMRC 2010) (as researched by Toshiba)

Schematic image of BPM

Schematic image of BPM

Scanning electron microscope (SEM) image of BPM

Scanning electron microscope (SEM) image of BPM

Nonrepeatable runout of BPM

Nonrepeatable runout of BPM