Hard drives are a supremely important 20th century invention. They wen’t from gigantic boxes the size of a car and only able to store a small modern image, to now being the size of a small book and capable of storing the entire library of congress multiple times over. As ubiquitous as they are, few people have any real idea how they work or what they look like. Sounds like a perfect sample to MagnifEye!
Hard Drive Magnetic Storage Platter
I was really disappointed when I looked at the surface of the platter. Perhaps I misunderstood how these things were built, perhaps my microscope wasn’t calibrated well enough, or maybe the magnetic properties of the platter were interfering with the electron beam, but the only thing visible on the surface of the drive was a profound flatness. I searched all over, but the only features I could actually find were nothing more than contamination. That is, until I reached the edge of the sample.
This isn’t what I was hoping to see, but what I found was truly remarkable. The way I’d cut the sample had frayed the layers of the platter in a beautiful diamond pattern, and the structures took on an appearance much like a cliff falling off near an otherworldly beach. You can tell from the way the surface cracked that they platter is made of interwoven layers, which severed along the edges. Unfortunately it was very difficult to capture shots without some area being out of focus (the SEM doesn’t handle dynamic topology very well), and in the interest of time I had to do a stair-step pattern when capturing the tiles, but I’m still quite happy with how the images came out.
You might notice a few spots with dark rectangles in the image. This is an unfortunate side-effect of the SEM, where the areas being viewed effectively get burned by the high voltage of the electron beam. Since the best way to ensure a good focus is to focus on a small area, there are a few spots where this happened. Fortunately I got some pointers on how to prevent this in future sessions, but thanks for learning with me!
I still wish I’d been able to see the magnetic structures, and maybe we’ll manage it during another session. Thanks for viewing, and keep an eye on the main page for upcoming sessions!