A method of heat-assisted magnetic recording (HAMR) potentially suitable for probe-based storage systems is characterized. In this work, field emission current from a scanning tunneling microscope (STM) tip is used as the heating source. The tip is made of Ir/Pt alloy. Pulse voltages of 3–7 V with a duration of 500 ns were applied to a CoNi/Pt multilayered film. Written by a blunt tip (radius 1000 nm), marks are formed with a nearly uniform mark size of 170 nm when the pulse voltage is above 4 V. While sharp tip (radius 50 nm) writing achieves no mark. The emission area of our tip-sample system derived from an analytic expression for field emission current is approximately equal to the mark size, and is largely independent of pulse voltage. For the blunt tip, the emission region is almost the same as the mark size. While for the sharp tip, the initially formed mark is too small, so that the domain wall surface tension shrinks the mark and it crashes finally.

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