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Features - Storage Innovations:


Maxtor Corporation, a worldwide leader in hard disk drives, announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, MMC Technology Inc, demonstrated its new perpendicular recording medium (PMR) disk manufacturing process which delivers production costs similar to today's longitudinal recording media. MMC showcased a single-pass media production process for perpendicular medium using existing manufacturing equipment, making the transition to the next era of areal density possible at affordable costs.

MMC is able to leverage the same equipment used to produce today's longitudinal media (LMR) with only an incremental cost of material due to the development of its new thick soft underlayer (SUL) magnetic material structure. This structure reduces the SUL required for efficient writing from 400 nm to as thin as 100 nm, does not require extra sputtering machines and can be produced at the same throughput as LMR. MMC's existing equipment can also accommodate the increased complexity associated with future PMR media that requires additional metallic layers.

"The formula for perpendicular recording success from a disk point of view depends as much on the cost of production as it does on the recording density capability," said Dr. Ken Johnson, vice president of research and development at MMC Technology. "We've made achievements in reducing production costs by using existing capital equipment and in improving media performance through technological innovations."

MMC media is capable of up to a 175 GB per platter density using advanced developmental PMR heads. This achievement is a result of decreasing grain sizes from today's LMR grains at 8 nm to an average of 6 nm in diameter. In addition, the MMC team reduced the recording layer-to-SUL spacing, resulting in continued improvements in signal to noise ratio and bit error rates. By fabricating narrow grain size distributions and large negative nucleation fields, MMC's PMR media is magnetically stable exhibiting non-detectable thermal decay.

"This perpendicular media achievement continues the MMC tradition of developing highly efficient and scaleable processes," said Bruce Hachtmann, senior vice president of MMC Technology's manufacturing operation. "MMC was the first media company in the world to transition its factory 100 percent to the 40GB and then to the 80GB design points, and we were also the first to convert all products to CVD carbon several years ago."

"New recording technologies such as perpendicular recording are necessary to maintain hard disk drive areal density growth trends," said John Kim, vice president at TrendFOCUS. "By recording data so that it is perpendicular to the read/write head versus current longitudinal recording, more data can be stored in a platter. Up to now, one of the main barriers associated with moving to PMR has been the associated manufacturing and materials costs."

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