bessykammerThe ever-expanding demand of the world market leads to magnetic recording data storage devices advancing toward much smaller dimensions and higher storage capacities. In order to achieve capacities beyond 2Tb/in2 next generation magnetic recording head transducers could require improved high moment magnetic material together with novel write pole and shield structures to preserve the necessary magnetic flux on reduced device dimensions. The implementation of novel high moment magnetic materials and design in manufactured products requires the attainment of new knowledge by the magnetics industry along with the response of the academic industry to the new performance challenges. These goals can only be reached through a strong collaborative programme between industry and academia. The scientific programme is to study the properties of magnetic materials to enable higher moment than the presently attainable limits. Nanoscale engineering of magnetic thin films will be the main approach to achieve this. The knowledge will be transferred through the cross-border secondment of staff and researchers between Duisburg-Essen, Uppsala and Seagate, utilizing the complementary expertise of the three nodes regarding state-of-the-art experimental and computational techniques as well as device fabrication.

Next generation recording heads require magnetic materials with improved magnetic performance in order to achieve increased hard drive areal densities. The goal of this project is to transfer the knowledge needed to generate high quality magnetic thin films for high moment write poles and shields between Seagate, the world’s leading hard drive manufacturer, the University of Duisburg-Essen and the University of Uppsala both with expertise in the design, deposition, characterisation and microscopic understanding of high moment thin films. This knowledge transfer will allow the manufacture of high moment films and lead to increased performance for future product recording heads. Recording head manufacturers require additional expertise in the design of high moment films with novel materials and properties. The academic partners require knowledge of recording head design, processes and integration. The NU-MATHIMO project will assist this knowledge transfer by creating a long-term collaborative partnership between Seagate, Duisburg-Essen and Uppsala.

xpscemsThis in turn is limited by the saturation flux density (also called moment) of the writer material. For decades it has been believed that this material parameter is limited to 2.4 Tesla (Fig. 3), which has become an accepted physical limit in magnetism. An improvement of even 10% in this material parameter would allow a significant jump in areal density performance from the current product values, benefiting the hard drive industry by a significant amount. Significant progress has been made in the past decade in processing and engineering magnetic materials, by both top down and bottom up techniques. In parallel, concepts for engineered material systems have been developed, providing some potential for moment values higher that 2.4 Tesla. However, the 2.4T value is still the highest values of moment, which has been verified.

Material development within the storage industry has focussed on incremental improvement in specific material properties but fundamental research on magnetic moment has not been undertaken. The academic contribution to the project will be the fundamental understanding of magnetic material properties.

The NU-MATHIMO project brings together the necessary expertise in magnetic materials design, development, characterisation and industrial scale integration capability to contribute significantly towards the progress in magnetic recording with the potential to provide a breakthrough for materializing an unexplored areal recording density beyond 2 Tbit/in2.



  • Mark Gubbins: NU-MATHIMO Project Coordinator
  • Simon Bance: Experienced Researcher (recruit)
  • Ryan Muldoon: Early Stage Researcher (secondee to UDE)