The main objective of the proposed one-year exploratory collaborative research is to develop, characterize, model and optimize fluorinated diamond-like carbon overcoats for application as wear-protective overcoats in magnetic recording disk drives. The main focus of the Southwest Research Institute team will be to develop a thin and pinhole-free overcoat with "self-lubricating" properties. Since present-day disks use per-fluorinated hydro-carbon lubricants for wear protection of the carbon overcoat, our approach will be to develop hard coatings, DLC-like in nature, which simulate the behavior of fluorinated hydrocarbon lubricants without the need for applying the lubricants topically on the DLC coatings. It is the intent of this research to develop a deposition process so that an extremely thin (~1nm) hard, dense and self-lubricating film can be obtained. The University of California at San Diego team will investigate and optimize the tribological properties of the above films by performing start/stop and load/unload tests and optimizing the tribological properties of these films. Other advanced methods of wear evaluation will be used such as surface reflectance analysis and nano-hardness measurements in the presence of ultra-sonic wave excitation.

The advancement of magnetic storage using conventional technologies to reach areal densities of the order of 1Tbpsi is becoming increasingly more difficult. Serious problems are encountered in reaching a magnetic spacing of 5nm, which is required for achieving a storage density of 1Tbpsi. A thin wear-protective carbon overcoat that is self-lubricating and does not require a topically applied lubricant film of 1 nm in thickness is of utmost importance in achieving the magnetic spacing requirement of 5 nm. If successful, the impact of this research on the magnetic recording industry will be enormous.

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University of California San Diego
La Jolla
United States
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