Three-dimensional characterization of near-field transducers by electron tomography

Yuzi Liu*, Daniel K. Schreiber, Amanda K. Petford-Long, Kai Zhong Gao

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) was employed to study the structure of near-field transducers (NFT) for applications in heat-assisted magnetic recording (HAMR) heads. The overall shape of NFTs that had passed or failed an optical test was similar, as determined by scanning transmission electron microscopy tomography. However, the absence of a well-defined peg and the presence of a flat top on the 'FAIL' NFT disk induced poor thermal heat transfer from the NFT to the phase change medium and resulted in the optical test failure. The thermal heating around the NFT led to Ta diffusion from the adjacent tantala core and to the presence of Ta-rich particles in the alumina matrix in the plane of the NFT.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)104-110
Number of pages7
JournalMaterials Characterization
StatePublished - Oct 2012


  • HAMR
  • Microstructure
  • TEM
  • Tomography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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