Nanotribology pp 291-325 | Cite as

Nano-Tribology of Thin Film Magnetic Recording Media

  • T. E. Karis


The magnetic recording industry is projected to continue growing into the foreseeable future. This growth is fueled by increasing data storage density through advances in channel and read/write head integration, tracking servo mechanisms, higher speed spindle motors, chemical integration, and nanotribology. The rotation rate is approaching 20,000 rpm, and the spacing between the read/write head and the disk is approaching molecular dimensions. The ceramic head rails and the disk magnetic layer are currently protected by a complex, yet robust, system comprising 5–10 nm thick carbon overcoats and a 1–2 nm thick perfluoropolyether lubricant film. The film surface energy and lubricant mobility, which control the surface diffusion, are determined by the film thickness and chemisorption of polar lubricant end groups on the carbon overcoat. Intermittent contacts between the head and the disk incrementally remove lubricant from asperities. Lubricant diffuses from the surrounding surface to restore the film thickness on the asperities.

In this paper, the principles of magnetic recording disk lubrication are reviewed and summarized in terms of a lubrication system comprising lubricant removal, reflow, and chemisorption. New test results are presented to illustrate the lubrication system components. The general principles of the magnetic recording lubrication system should also apply to lubrication of micro- and nanoscale devices.


Acoustic Emission Lubricant Film Asperity Contact Pressure Differential Scanning Calorimetry Lubrication System 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. E. Karis
    • 1
  1. 1.IBM Research DivisionAlmaden Research CenterSan JoseUSA

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