Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Mechanical Engineering

Major Professor

Ashok Kumar, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Delcie Durham, Ph.D.

Committee Member

C. Fred Higgs III, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Garrett Matthews, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Geoffrey Okogbaa, Ph.D.


tribology, coefficient of friction, wear, superparamagentic limit, magnetic hard drive fabrication


As the superparamagnetic limit is reached, the magnetic storage industry looks to circumvent the barrier by implementing patterned media (PM) as a viable means to store and access data. Chemical mechanical polishing (CMP) is a semiconductor fabrication technique used to planarize surfaces and is investigated as a method to ensure that the PM is polished to surface roughness parameters that allow the magnetic read/write head to move seamlessly across the PM. Results from this research have implications in feasibility studies of utilizing CMP as the main planarization technique for PM fabrication. Benchmark data on the output parameters of the CMP process, for bit patterned media (BPM), based on the machine process parameters, pad properties, and slurry characteristics are optimized. The research was conducted in a systematic manner in which the optimized parameters for each phase are utilized in future phases. The optimum results from each of the phases provide an overall optimum characterization for BPM CMP. Results on the CMP machine input parameters indicate that for optimal surface roughness and material removal, low polish pressures and high velocities should be used on the BPM. Pad characteristics were monitored by non destructive technique and results indicate much faster deterioration of all pad characteristics versus polish time of BPM when compared to IC CMP. The optimum pad for PM polishing was the IC 1400 dual layer Suba V pad with a shore hardness of 57, and a k-groove pattern. The final phase of polishing evaluated the slurry polishing properties and novel nanodiamond (ND) slurry was created and benchmarked on BPM. The resulting CMP output parameters were monitored and neither the ND slurry nor the thermally responsive polymer slurry performed better than the commercially available Cabot iCue slurry for MRR or surface roughness. Research results indicate CMP is a feasible planarization technique for PM fabrication, but successful implementation of CMP for planarizing PM must address the high initial start up cost, increase in the number of replacement pads, and increase in polishing time to reach the required surface roughness for magnetic storage devices.