PITA Fiscal Year 2008 Projects - Nanotechnology

Bonding and Flow Properties of Disk-Drive Lubricant Films Assessed by Atomic Force Microscopy

Principal Investigators: James W. Schneider, Lee R. White, Adam Bowles

This project is a collaborative effort between Carnegie Mellon University and Seagate Technology, LLC to develop a quantitative, high-throughput method to assess the usefulness of lubricant/overcoat combinations to be used in next-generation magnetic data storage systems. The method uses the tip of an atomic force microscopy (AFM) probe to serve as a reservoir for capillary-induced flow of the disk-drive lubricant from its deposited film. The kinetics of this flow process are revealed by measuring the pico-Newton forces experienced while advancing and receding the probe from the film surface. The method is a very sensitive measure of the extent of lubricant bonding to the surface, a critical parameter to judge the ability of the lubricant to protect media from wear. This work will establish a theoretical means of obtaining lubricant flow properties directly from AFM measurements, suitable for rapid screening and quality control of lubricant/overcoat interfaces.