Pd/Co multilayers are candidates as perpendicular magnetic recording media. A softmagnetic underlayer can both improve crystallographic orientation and reduce the magnetostatic energy of recorded domains. Pd/Co multilayers have been deposited onto silicon nitride by DC magnetron sputtering with and without CoZrNb (CZN) seed layers. Cross-sectional transmission electron microscopy shows that the CZN layer imposes a columnar grain structure on the multilayer film through epitaxy. Seeded multilayers have columnar 200Å grains that begin at the CZN interface and extend through the film thickness. In contrast, the grains in unseeded multilayers are not columnar. X-ray rocking curves on the (111) Pd/Co peak show that the CZN seed layer improves the (111) crystallographic texture of the multilayer film. We observe a correspondence between FWHM rocking curve widths in the CZN and the subsequently deposited multilayer. The CZN seeding produces changes in perpendicular hysteresis loops, which are attributed to an exchange interaction and a change in the multilayer amicrostructure due to seeding.
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