A hard disk medium is typically composed of several layers including the magnetic recording layer, a buffer layer, as well as a wear protective layer. In the work presented here, the hard disks analysed have a total of five layers with the uppermost layer being the lubricant. The second layer is diamond like coating and this is followed by the magnetic layer consisting of an alloy of cobalt and other elements. The fourth layer is a buffer composed of an alloy of chromium, vanadium and molybdenum with the final layer being a nickel transition layer doped with phosphorus. These multilayers were subjected to numerous etchings by argon ions. The chemical structures of these layers were analysed with an X-ray photoelectron spectroscope (XPS) after each etching. Combining the XPS spectra with XPS imaging it is possible to determine the depth distribution of elements in the hard disk coating. In addition, it is also shown that XPS imaging can be employed to monitor the thickness of all multilayers.
- hard disk
- X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy