Publication
IEEE Transactions on Magnetics
Paper

Magnetic Domains in Thin-Film Recording Heads as Observed in the SEM by a Lock-In Technique

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Abstract

In a thin-film magnetic recording head, a magnetic circuit made from two Permalloy thin films, one above the other, is magnetized by a spirally plated thin-film copper coil which is located (together with insulating layers) between those two films, The magnetic domains in a thin Permalloy film can be studied by type-2 magnetic constrast using backscattered electrons (BSE) in the “scanning electron microscope (SEM) provided that the film has a smooth surface and is deposited on a flat substrate. In practice, the upper Permalloy film follows the contours of the underlying layers. This gives a topographic signal which is large enough to mask the type-2 magnetic contrast signal in its simple form. The domain walls can, however, be seen if the magnetic recording head is excited with a sinusoidal current and if the video waveform is processed with a lock-in amplifier referenced either to the fundamental or to the second harmonic of the excitation frequency. This lock-in image processing technique has now been applied to obtain images of the magnetic domains both from the upper Permalloy film of’ an in completely fabricated head and also from the exposed cross sections of the Permalloy films in an operational thin-film head. © 1981 IEEE

Date

01 Jan 1981

Publication

IEEE Transactions on Magnetics

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