In future extremely high density magnetic recording, FePt is considered as a promising candidate for future recording media materials. In this thesis work, FePt media with composite structure have been systematically studied in the forms of both granular media and bit patterned media (BPM).
Continuous FePt films with surface roughness of less than 0.3 nm are achieved in FePt hard magnetic films, exchanged coupled composite (ECC) films and graded films. Nanoimpriting and block-copolymer lithography are employed to fabricate BPM. The switching field distribution (SFD) broadening and degradation of FePt BPM are studied. The reduction of SFD has been achieved using a post-annealing process. Both ECC and graded FePt BPM with sub-30 nm dot size have been experimentally demonstrated on large substrates for the first time. It is confirmed that the patterned graded BPM sample has smaller switching field and larger thermal energy barrier than the ECC sample does.
Ultra-thin FePt granular media with graded composition was directly fabricated using a spontaneous layer diffusion process between the FePt and Pt layers during film deposition. A large gain factor of 3.74 was found in this spontaneously formed FePt graded granular media.
A nanopatterning process, named as the Embedded Mask Patterning (EMP), is proposed and experimentally demonstrated based on the FePt magnetic recording media. In this process the granular structure is defined by a sputtering-deposited mask layer, while the magnetic properties are determined by the FePt continuous film. Grain size can be decreased by optimizing the mask layer only.
A non-ideal surface anisotropy effect has been observed on the magnetization reversal process of both L10 phase FePt nanoparticles, and (001) textured L10 FePt thin film with island structure. The broken symmetry of the surface creates surface anisotropy and also weakens the exchange coupling. The elimination of the surface effect has been experimentally demonstrated by epitaxially capping a Pt layer on FePt. After being embedded in a Pt matrix, the exchange coupling between the surface portion and internal portion of FePt islands was enhanced.