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Nanolubrication: Characterization of patterned lubricant films on magnetic hard disks

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Patterned lubricant films on magnetic hard disks offer potential advantages in controlled bonding sites, higher average shear strength, and longer durability. However, since the lubricant film thickness is at 1 or 2 nm, characterization of the pattern is difficult. Normal atomic force microscopic techniques can only image very small area in the nanometer range and the sharp tip can potentially modify the pattern. A wide area optical technique is needed to characterize the patterns. This paper examines patterned lubricant film using an optical surface analyzer (OSA) to image the bonded phase and mobile phase of an alcohol functionalized perfluoropolyether (PFPE) on magnetic hard disks. The phase shift signal and reflectivity intensity of the polarized light spectra provide clear optical images of the lubricant film at nanometer thickness. Optical images were successfully obtained before and after the buffing process and the ramp load and unload (L/UL) testing. Results of 100% bonded, 100% mobile, and 20% zigzag patterned lubricant films confirm that the patterned lubricant films can control the bonded/mobile ratio of such films better.

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Correspondence to Jun Zhang.

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Guddati, S., Zhang, J., Sinha, S.K. et al. Nanolubrication: Characterization of patterned lubricant films on magnetic hard disks. Tribol Lett 21, 253–261 (2006).

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  • pattern-bonded lubricant
  • head–disk interface tribology
  • PFPE