In response to this revolutionary shift in magnetic data storage applications, the authors of this Optics Express paper present a numerical study of an integrated thin-film TAMR recording head and medium design, which has the potential of achieving impressively high efficiency of light delivery and density of magnetic recording. In their work, they used a modified nanobeak antenna as a near-field optical transducer to thermally activate the magnetic medium and spatially define a nanoscale spot near the magnetic recording head. A thin-film waveguide was placed at the near field of the optical transducer for light delivery purposes, and a wing structure was added to the antenna to further enhance the near-field optical coupling. Based on their calculations, the authors estimate that about 8% of the total optical power (a few milliwatts) in the waveguide can be absorbed by the medium to generate a required temperature rise of 350 K, and they expect this head design to achieve an areal density of 2.5 Tb/in2 according to their magnetic read/write simulations. Despite of the exciting advantages promised, many mechanical, thermal, and material issues have to be tackled before this approach can succeed in real world, which calls for fundamental research breakthroughs to overcome the remaining hurdles.
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