The data density of magnetic hard-drives has doubled every year for the past 5 years, an impressive growth rate now threatened by the superparamagnetic limit , between 500-1000 gigabits/in2 , for polycrystalline vertical media. Patterned media recording (PMR), where information is stored on highly uniform, single-domain magnetic islands arranged in lithographically defined tracks, is a technology that could increase data density to 20 Terabits/in2 and provide the vehicle for 7-10 years growth of a $ 200 B industry.
The patterned media proposed here could enable the multibillion dollar magnetic data storage industry to continue its record- setting growth rate for the next 7-10 years and enable storage device minituarization for emerging applications in mobile computing. The nanofabrication tool set developed during the course of this project offers an immediate benefit to magnetic random access memory (MRAM) and magnetic quantum cellular automata (MQCAs) research, and, thus, has the potential to transform the integrated circuit industry. The tool set could be applied to molecular and nanoelectronic integrated systems as well.