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MnFe/NiFe exchange structures have been prepared in an ultra-high vacuum sputtering/surface analysis system. Controlled introduction of residual gas impurities such as O2 and H2O at the MnFe/NiFe interface is studied by in-situ x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and the exchange structures are magnetically characterized. Due to the extreme reactivity of the NiFe surface towards O2, the exchange coupling is severely degraded by only small exposures of this molecule to the NiFe surface. In contrast, H2O does not oxidize the NiFe surface and therefore can be tolerated in greater quantities in the sputtering chamber without detrimental loss of exchange. This understanding of the basic surface chemistry of the MnFe and NiFe surfaces can lead to improved sputtering practices in actual manufacturing applications.
In this work the effect of grain size and magnetic switching volume on media noise due to intergranular coupling for CoCrTaPt/Cr thin film media deposited at substrate temperature of 160 and 260°C are investigated. The film deposited at substrate temperature of 260°C showed weaker intergranular interaction and lower media noise compared to the film deposited at 160°C. The magnetic switching volume (V*) is an important consideration for thermal stability and media noise in high density recording media. The magnetic switching volume V* for the film deposited at 160 and 260°C was calculated to be 3.7 x 10-18 and 3.2 x 10-18 cm3 respectively. The magnetic switching volume is correlated to the average Co-alloy grain size, media noise and the interactions between the grains.
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