A manufacturer in the hard disk drive industry has ordered a Heat-Assisted Magnetic Recording (HAMR) deposition tool from Veeco - another sign of the end of perpendicular magnetic recording.
Perpendicular recording won't run out of steam for some years but disk drive manufacturers are already investigating alternatives to increase areal density beyond its recording limit of around 800-900Gbit/sq in. Two approaches have been identified to enable very small magnetised areas of a recording medium to preserve their polarity in the face of surrounding interference.
One is to surround them with a ring of insulating material - the patterned media approach. The other, HAMR, is to use a recording medium which needs localised heating to make a polarity change practicable.
Veeco supplies tools for the manufacture of thin film magnetic heads, and its products include "ion beam etch and deposition, physical vapor deposition, optical and atomic force metrology, lapping and slicing/dicing equipment". It has just announced its first order for a HAMR deposition tool.
TDK, a disk drive head supplier, demonstrated a HAMR head in October last year. There is no collective hard disk drive industry view about whether patterned media or HAMR is the right follow-on technology for perpendicular recording. Seagate has been associated with HAMR more than, for example, Western Digital, and Hitachi GST is thought to be examining both technologies.
Patterned media tool makers such as Molecular Imprints and Intevac have previously reported sales into the disk drive industry. ®