Step and flash imprint lithography: Fabrication of patterned media for extremely high density magnetic data storage devices

Nikhil Joshi, Florida International University


Currently the data storage industry is facing huge challenges with respect to the conventional method of recording data known as longitudinal magnetic recording. This technology is fast approaching a fundamental physical limit, known as the superparamagnetic limit. A unique way of deferring the superparamagnetic limit incorporates the patterning of magnetic media. This method exploits the use of lithography tools to predetermine the areal density. Various nanofabrication schemes are employed to pattern the magnetic material are Focus Ion Beam (FIB), E-beam Lithography (EBL), UV-Optical Lithography (UVL), Self-assembled Media Synthesis and Nanoimprint Lithography (NIL). Although there are many challenges to manufacturing patterned media, the large potential gains offered in terms of areal density make it one of the most promising new technologies on the horizon for future hard disk drives. Thus, this dissertation contributes to the development of future alternative data storage devices and deferring the superparamagnetic limit by designing and characterizing patterned magnetic media using a novel nanoimprint replication process called "Step and Flash Imprint lithography". As opposed to hot embossing and other high temperature-low pressure processes, SFIL can be performed at low pressure and room temperature. Initial experiments carried out, consisted of process flow design for the patterned structures on sputtered Ni-Fe thin films. The main one being the defectivity analysis for the SFIL process conducted by fabricating and testing devices of varying feature sizes (50 nm to 1 μm) and inspecting them optically as well as testing them electrically. Once the SFIL process was optimized, a number of Ni-Fe coated wafers were imprinted with a template having the patterned topography. A minimum feature size of 40 nm was obtained with varying pitch (1:1, 1:1.5, 1:2, and 1:3). The Characterization steps involved extensive SEM study at each processing step as well as Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) and Magnetic Force Microscopy (MFM) analysis.

Subject Area

Electrical engineering

Recommended Citation

Joshi, Nikhil, "Step and flash imprint lithography: Fabrication of patterned media for extremely high density magnetic data storage devices" (2007). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3298588.