Sputter-deposited amorphous carbon was applied as an underlayer for a Co73Cr18Pt6Ta3 single layer perpendicular magnetic recording medium. It is shown that the amorphous carbon underlayer can control the Co  preferred orientation of the Co73Cr18Pt6Ta3 magnetic recording layer and that the microcrystalline structure, magnetic properties, and read-write characteristics of Co73Cr18Pt6Ta3 media are greatly dependent on the carbon underlayer thickness. By x-ray diffraction experiments and transmission electron microscopy observations, it was confirmed that the distribution of the c-axis orientation of Co grains becomes broader in the direction perpendicular to the film surface with increasing carbon underlayer thickness. Furthermore, the Co73Cr18Pt6Ta3 medium with a thick carbon underlayer indicated a relatively high perpendicular coercivity of 2800 Oe and an excellent signal to noise ratio in read-write characteristics.
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