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IEEE Magnetics Society
Santa Clara Valley Chapter
Meeting Presentation Summary

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

Western Digital, 1710 Automation Parkway, San Jose, CA
Directions and Map
Cookies, Conversation & Pizza too at 7:00 P.M.
Presentation at 7:30 P.M.

Thermally-Assisted Magnetic Recording at up to 1 Tb/in2 using an Integrated Plasmonic Antenna

Barry Stipe
Hitachi Global Storage Technologies


Thermally-Assisted Magnetic Recording (TAR) and Bit Patterned Recording (BPR) are two of the most promising technologies for surpassing the fundamental limitations of conventional magnetic recording. In a typical TAR head design, a waveguide delivers light to a plasmonic aperture or antenna located at the air-bearing surface. The plasmonic device creates an intense optical pattern in the near-field, heating the disk at the nanometer scale. This writing technique allows one to use extremely high anisotropy media (such as L10 FePt) for reduced grain size while maintaining the requirements of thermal stability and writability. We have fully integrated a plasmonic antenna called the “E-antenna” into a magnetic head and then used it for recording on granular media with a static tester and spin stand.

So far, TAR at over 400 Gb/in2 has been limited by the availability of a suitable small grain media. BPR avoids the need for small grain media but it can be difficult to address the patterned bits at very small track pitch using a conventional write head. We have recently found that combining TAR and bit patterned media (BP-TAR) can solve both problems and allows for dramatic reductions in track pitch (down to 24 nm) and optical power requirements (factor of five) as compared to TAR recording on granular media. We show recording at up to 1 Tb/in2 [1]. BP-TAR may turn out to be the ultimate HDD technology and is, in principle, scalable to 100 Tb/in2.

   [1] B. C. Stipe et al., "Magnetic recording at 1.5 Pb m-2 using an integrated plasmonic antenna," Nature Photonics 4, 484 - 488 (2010).


Barry Stipe

Photo of Barry Stipe Barry Stipe received a B.S. in physics from Caltech in 1991 and a Ph.D. in physics from Cornell University in 1998. His thesis research at Cornell included the first demonstrations of single molecule vibrational spectroscopy and manipulation using a scanning tunneling microscope, for which he won the Morton M. Traum Award and Nottingham Prize. For his postdoc at the IBM Almaden Research Center, Barry worked toward the imaging of single spins using magnetic resonance force microscopy which was later achieved by the IBM team. Since 2000, Barry has worked on data storage technology for IBM and now Hitachi-GST as a research staff member. Barry's work at HGST has included concepts for ultra-low head-disk spacing, improved drive mechanics for reducing track pitch, new materials for perpendicular media, solid-state memory, plasmonics, head integration, and read-write testing.

Barry is leading HGST’s efforts to circumvent the scaling limits of conventional hard drive technology through the development of thermally assisted magnetic recording.

Barry has written a number of highly cited works including five papers with more than 100 citations each. He has filed more than 30 US patents.



  • Barry Stipe
  • Hitachi Global Storage Technologies
    San Jose Research Center
    3403 Yerba Buena Road, San Jose, CA 95135
  • +1 408.717.7796

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