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Thin films for magnetic recording are usually deposited on metallic Cr underlayers to control their crystallographic texture and other microstructural features such as grain size and crystal perfection. In this paper, the mechanisms involved in the production of thin films (both underlayers and magnetic layers) with specific crystallographic textures is reviewed and discussed. We first present an overview of a model for the development of the initial crystallographic texture of films grown on amorphous substrates. The textures that various films develop during growth are next discussed followed by a review of the role of epitaxy of Co-alloy films on Cr with underlayers and interlayers. The control of grain size of the magnetic film is also discussed in light of the underlayer grain size. Finally, the role of epitaxy on crystalline perfection and subgrain structure is discussed.
The development of crystallographic texture in thin film longitudinal recording media is discussed. Polycrystalline thin films may obtain their crystallographic texture by means of a nucleation process such as epitaxial nucleation on a polycrystalline underlayer or by means of a process involving a preferred growth direction. In this paper we will discuss various epitaxial nucleation textures that are obtained in media produced for magnetic recording. We will discuss the way that the underlayer controls the crystallographic texture of the magnetic layer, as well as methods used to control the texture of the underlayer itself. We give a brief overview of some of our recent findings in the growth of NiAl and FeAl films used for underlayers. Finally we will briefly discuss what we have called the tilted electron beam technique. In this technique selected area electron diffraction patterns are obtained at different angles of tilt and the development of arcs in the patterns is analyzed so as to determine the type and amount of crystallographic texture which is present in the films.
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