MFM (magnetic force microscopy) image taken in our laboratories of data patterns on a perpendicular recording medium recorded with the Exeter contact recording test system.
Two-dimensional signal scan of shingled (overlapping) tracks on a perpendicular recording medium recorded on the Exeter flying write/read test system.
Combined electromagnetic and micromagnetic dynamic simulation of a pemalloy film using the finite-difference time-domain method excited by a picosecond current pulse and showing the distribution of the internal magnetisation (arrows) and generated magnetic fields (contour) after 64 ps from the application of the current pulse.

Magnetic data storage

Our main focus of research in magnetic data storage is in understanding and characterising the complex record, readout and noise processes in magnetic recording, with the aim of increasing future hard disk drive storage capacities to meet the increasing storage demands. 

Particular current activity includes:

  • The fabrication, characterisation and testing of conventional and future magnetic materials to understand their properties and performance for ultra-high density data storage in hard-disk drives.  We have specialised magnetron sputtering deposition and high-temperature annealing equipment for thin-film fabrication and processing, for example of FePt L10 phase high-anistropy materials. We also have custom-made experimental write/read testers for detailed evaluation of the record, read and noise performances of new magnetic hard disk materials, in addition to a suite of more conventional characterisation equipment such as VSM, XRD, AFM and MFM
  • Mathematical and computational modelling of future storage techniques such as perpendicular magnetic recording and bit-patterned media.  Previous and current work include the development of new signal and noise theories for conventional, particulate and patterned magnetic media, the development of hybrid electromagnetic-micromagnetic simulation techniques using the FDTD method to understand the high-speed switching dynamics in magnetic recording heads, replay theory of shingled magnetic recording, and electro-thermal modelling of the kinetics of a processing reaction for the production of nanoscale magnetic patterns. 
 Fully-automated, nanoscale contact recording test system developed to study conventional and future magnetic storage materials.
 Multiphysics, electro-thermal simulations of the reaction process in patterning of nano-dots in a novel patterned magnetic medium being developed at Exeter.