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12/30/91

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IBM makes $100,000 grant to Stanford center

STANFORD -- IBM has granted $100,000 to the Stanford Center for Research on Information Storage Materials to support research and teaching about magnetism in thin metal films. The center was established in March 1991 to promote an extended and coherent program to study information storage materials.

Magnetic thin films are typically as thin as one atom across to as thick as one-thousandth the diameter of a human hair. When coated onto magnetic or optical disks, thin films form the medium that stores the information bits. These films also compose key components within the most advanced disk drive "heads" that actually write and read the data on the disk.

Data storage density -- the amount of information that can be stored on a disk -- has increased dramatically in recent years, in part because of advances in magnetic thin films. The sophisticated process of making these films has in some cases outrun the knowledge base about why they behave as they do and how they could be made better and more reliable.

Research at Stanford is directed at understanding the materials involved and extending their capabilities to permit still higher information storage densities.

On Dec. 9, Juri Matisoo, IBM's research division vice president, storage, and director of the company's Almaden Research Center in San Jose, presented a check for the $100,000 "research initiation grant" to Prof. Robert L. White, director of the Center for Research on Information Storage Materials.

"Materials research is vital to the storage business," Matisoo said. "We at IBM are extremely pleased with the formation of the center and appreciate the value of seeding the establishment of a long-term research and teaching effort in thin- film magnetic materials in one of the best schools in the country."

The center's mission is to support students, to expand the teaching curriculum, to provide on-campus research facilities and to ease technological exchange between Stanford and the $53- billion data-storage industry.

White, a professor of electrical engineering and materials research, said the IBM grant marks a giant step forward for the center, enabling it to get quickly into effective operation on the several facets of its teaching and research programs.

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