Continuing increases in the areal density of hard disk drives will be limited by thermal instability of the thin film medium. Patterned media, in which data are stored in an array of single-domain magnetic particles, have been suggested as a means to overcome this limitation and to enable recording densities of up to 150 Gbit cm−2 (1 Tbit inch−2) to be achieved. However, the implementation of patterned media requires fabrication of sub-50-nm features over large areas and the design of recording systems that differ substantially from those used in conventional hard drives. This review describes patterned media, including the fabrication of arrays of small magnetic particles and their magnetic properties, such as domain structure, reversal mechanisms, thermal stability, and interactions. The practical implementation of patterned media recording schemes is assessed.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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