Electrochemical Nanotechnologies

Part of the series Nanostructure Science and Technology pp 67-85


Magnetic Heads

  • Tokihiko YokoshimaAffiliated withHigh Density Interconnection Group, Nanoelectronics Research Institute (NeRI), National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), Tsukuba Central 2 Email author 

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Figure 6.1 shows how rapidly the areal density of hard disk drives (HDD) has been increasing over the past 20 years [1]. Several critical innovations were necessary to bring about such rapid progress in the field of magnetic recording [2]. One of the most significant innovations from the viewpoint of material improvement was the electrodeposition of permalloy (Ni80Fe20), which was introduced by IBM in 1979 as the core material of a thin-film inductive head to increase the magnetic recording density [3]. After the introduction of the magneto-resistive (MR) element as the read head and the electrodeposited permalloy as the write head by IBM in 1991 [4], the rate of increase in the recording density of HDDs jumped from 30% per year to 60% per year. Recently, a giant magneto-resistive (GMR) element has been used for the read element instead of the MR element. The rate of increase in the recording density jumped to over 100% per year in 1999, which is an incredible rate of increase. Since 2002, however, the rate of increase has decreased to 30%; thus, new innovations are required to maintain the rate of increase. In 2004, the practical use of perpendicular magnetic recording instead of longitudinal magnetic recording was announced [5]. This system is a critical innovation for developing high-performance HDD systems with high-recording density. The design of the magnetic recording head was changed because of the change of the recording system.