Development of high density magnetic recording media for hard disk drives: Materials science issues and challenges

G. W. Qin, Y. P. Ren, N. Xiao, B. Yang, L. Zuo, K. Oikawa

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


The tremendous increase In areal density of hard disk drives Is mainly ascribed to harmonic development between magnetic recording media and heads In their scaling, especially allowing a commercial transition from the longitudinal to perpendicular recording system. This paper reviews the main features, recent breakthroughs and future potentials of both the longitudinal and the perpendicular media from a viewpoint of materials science. Special attention Is firstly paid to the 'trilemma' problem for the media, i.e. the compromise among writability, thermal stability and signal to noise ratio (SNR). The evolution of media materials these years are then addressed with emphasis on the thermodynamic origin of magnetically induced phase separation of Co-Cr based alloys, which governs media noise and coercivity, and Its applications to the current longitudinal media. The materials challenges for media to achieve 500 Gb in.-2 and above are further predicted from the viewpoints of thermal stability improvement and microstructure control of media materials, and their engineering issues have been discussed for the current Co-Cr based alloys, potential FePt and CoPt ordered, phase separated Co-W based alloys and magnetic rare earth compounds. Finally, the future media approaching 1 Tb In. -2 and beyond are addressed with respect to the principles, progress, engineering challenges and future directions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-179
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Materials Reviews
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2009 May


  • Grain size scaling
  • Longitudinal recording
  • Magnetic recording media
  • Magnetically induced phase separation
  • Perpendicular recording
  • Review
  • Texture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Metals and Alloys
  • Materials Chemistry


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