IBM J. Res. Dev

Recent developments in high-moment electroplated materials for recording heads

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The continuous and rapid increase of areal density in magnetic data storage systems required a continuous increase of the coercivity of the storage media. In order to be able to record on these ever-higher-coercivity media, new soft magnetic materials for pole tips with increased magnetic moment had to be developed. Significant progress has been made during the last few years in electroplating alloys with high saturation magnetic flux density for use in writing heads. We review recent progress made in this area, with particular emphasis on the work done at IBM since the review paper on the subject was published in this journal in 1998 by Andricacos and Robertson. Reviewed here are the high-moment alloys of NiFe, particularly in the very high iron range [an extension of permalloy (Ni80Fe20) and Ni 45Fe55]; very-high-cobalt CofeCu alloys; ternary CoNiFe; and binary iron-rich CoFe alloys. With the latter binary alloy films, we have demonstrated that it is possible to reach by electroplating the saturation flux density limit of 2.4-2.5 T reported for cast alloys. Since the electroplating of good-magnetic-quality iron-rich CoFe alloys posed a considerable challenge, the behavior of the CoFe plating system was studied in detail, using in situ surface Ph measurements and a rotating-cylinder Hull cell. © 2005 IBM.