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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/C008154/1
Title: Establishing performance limits in ultra-small magnetic elements
Principal Investigator: Chapman, Professor J
Other Investigators:
McVitie, Professor S Weaver, Professor JMR Kirk, Professor K
Wilkinson, Professor C
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Seagate Technology
Department: School of Physics and Astronomy
Organisation: University of Glasgow
Scheme: Standard Research (Pre-FEC)
Starts: 01 December 2005 Ends: 30 November 2008 Value (£): 365,144
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Materials Characterisation
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
The properties of continuous magnetic films change when patterned into small elements. Changes become more pronounced as the element dimensions fall in the range of hundreds down to tens of nanometres. It is scientifically challenging to understand how the changes come about and just how small elements with reproducible properties can be made. Over the past 10 years we have made some of the tiniest magnets in the world and our new and adventurous programme is to make even smaller ones. As magnetic elements are essential components in advanced technological devices such as hard disc drives on computers, research of the kind proposed must be carried out if smaller, higher performance devices are to be made in the future. Central to the project is the ability to fabricate ultra-small elements from thin films and we propose to compare electron and focused ion beam lithography for this purpose. As the elements we make will be very small indeed, we need to use techniques with very high spatial resolution to study how their structural and chemical properties have been affected by the fabrication process and what the magnetic properties of the resulting elements are. Transmission electron microscopy and related analytical techniques offer near atomic resolution for all but the magnetic studies (where a figure of 10 nm is more typical) and will be used extensively. We will use the information collected to relate differences in the magnetic behaviour of the elements, made with different materials, to their structure and chemical properties. With a better understanding of how they relate, and guided by micromagnetic modelling, we intend to produce elements with optimal properties for various applications, such as the sensors and transducers used in recording heads. Unfortunately materials that have desirable properties, such as a very high magnetic moment, can be deficient in other ways, for example, especially susceptible to stress. Hence a further aspect of the work will be to evaluate how overall behaviour is determined by the mix of properties inevitably present in real materials.
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Organisation Website: http://www.gla.ac.uk