Exchange coupling and its applications in magnetic data storage

Kebin Li*, Yihong Wu, Zaibing Guo, Yuankai Zheng, Guchang Han, Jinjun Qiu, Ping Luo, Lihua An, Tiejun Zhou

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


The continuing scaling of magnetic recording is facing more and more scientific and technological challenges because both the read sensor and recording bit are approaching sub-50 nm regime with the ever increasing areal density in hard disk drives. One of the key and indispensable elements for both high-sensitivity sensors and high-density media is the exchange bias between a ferromagnetic and an antiferromagnetic layer or the exchange coupling between two ferromagnets via a non-magnetic spacer. In the nanometer regime, the exchange coupling between ferromagnet and antiferromagnet or two ferromagnets through a conductive spacer is governed by the intergrain exchange interaction which has its origin in electron spins. Interlayer exchange coupling in multilayer or trilayer essentially originates from the quantum confinement effect. In this paper, we first review the physical origin and various theoretical models of the two types of exchange couplings, followed by a review of the applications of the exchange bias and interlayer exchange coupling in data storage with emphasis on the advanced read sensor and advanced media including perpendicular media and patterned media.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13-45
Number of pages33
JournalJournal of nanoscience and nanotechnology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Current-Perpendicular-to-the-Plane (CPP)
  • Exchange Bias
  • Giant Magnetoresistive
  • Interlayer Exchange Coupling
  • Magnetic Media
  • Magnetic Read Head
  • Patterned Media
  • Perpendicular Media
  • Spin Valves
  • Tunnel Magnetoresistance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • General Chemistry
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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