• Marios Alexandrou

Student thesis: Phd


For the past 50 years, the magnetic storage industry has been the ultimate provider, covering the ever-expanding needs of digital mass storage. Up to now, scaling to smaller dimensions has been the core approach for achieving higher areal densities in conventional media. However, recent studies have shown that further miniaturisation is physically bound by superparamagnetic effects. Bit patterned media (BPM) is one of the most promising solutions for extending the areal densities beyond 1Tbit/in2.The ability to magnetically characterise novel BPM is a key requirement for its future commercialisation. The work presented in this thesis describes the investigation of the Magneto-Optic Kerr Effect (MOKE) and the Anomalous Hall Effect (AHE) techniques, used in the characterisation of BPM samples. These samples were produced as part of this work using a customised subtractive fabrication process. Continuous thin magnetic films with Ptseed(10nm)/[Co(0.4nm)/Pt(1nm)]x15 composition and perpendicular anisotropy, were deposited using electron-beam (e-beam) evaporation, and subsequently patterned into magnetic nano-islands through means of e-beam lithography and Ar+ ion milling.In terms of the MOKE technique, a fully customised polar MOKE system has been developed and successfully used to observe the hysteretic behaviour of magnetic nano-island arrays with varying dimensions. An expected reduction in the MOKE signal due to pattering has been observed, as well as an additional signal reduction due to the scattering effect arising from the non-vertical sidewalls of the dome-shaped islands. In the case of islands with improved shape profile, the magnetic reversal of BPM arrays with islands sizes down to 35nm has been successfully detected, demonstrating a sensitivity of approximately 6x10-13emu for the MOKE system.In terms of the AHE technique, Au Hall crosses were deposited on top of the BPM arrays that had been previously characterised by MOKE, allowing the direct comparison and cross-verification of the results obtained by the two techniques. A revised Hall cross design, where the Hall crosses were generated by direct patterning of the Pt seed layer, has provided a significant improvement in AHE signal. This has allowed the detection of the magnetic reversal of individual sub-50nm magnetic islands, demonstrating a sensitivity of approximately 6.6x10-15emu for the AHE technique. The spatial sensitivity of these Hall cross structures has been experimentally determined, indicating a decrease in sensitivity with increasing distance from the cross centre and with decreasing island diameter. In conclusion, the sensitivity profile of Hall cross structures must be taken into account for the accurate interpretation of BPM characterisation results obtained by the AHE technique.Finally, some suggestions are outlined with regard to the future improvement of the developed characterisation techniques and the further continuation of the work presented in this thesis.
Date of Award1 Aug 2011
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorPaul Nutter (Supervisor)


  • Bit Patterned Media
  • Magneto-Optic Kerr Effect
  • Anomalous Hall Effect

Cite this