As device sizes continue to shrink into the nano-scale, material development becomes increasingly important. This presents new deposition and characterization challenges which must be overcome to produce the next generation of devices. Magnetostrictive GaFe (galfenol) is one such material in which development of deposition and characterization techniques is necessary to enable new MEMS devices. In addition, plasmonic gold Near Field Transducers (NFTs) used in Heat Assisted Magnetic Recording (HAMR) require new characterization options to understand device failure modes as well as new gold deposition processes to improve device reliability. While these applications are very different, the underlying material deposition and characterization challenges involving thin film crystallinity are very similar. Magnetostriction measurements of electrodeposited galfenol show that it is possible to achieve thin films of this material over a wide range of compositions using electrodeposition. In addition, grain refinement in gold was achieved through alloying which shows the potential to create more robust thin films while maintaining gold's desirable plasmonic properties. Finally, advanced characterization processes using Electron Back Scatter Diffraction (EBSD) were also developed to analyze thin film crystal structure and its role in NFT stability. These results will further progress in the fields of MEMS and HAMR as well as provide the basis for identifying and solving materials challenges in the future.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. April 2015. Major: Electrical Engineering. Advisor: Bethanie Stadler. 1 computer file (PDF); xiv, 151 pages.
Development and Characterization of Magnetostrictive GaFe and Plasmonic Gold Thin Films.
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