Characterization of TMR Head Durability against Lapping Based on Magnetic Performance
Magnetic recording technologies are continuing to advance toward higher areal densities, driven by the availability of tunneling magnetoresistive (TMR) heads. However, high areal density heads require smaller physical dimensions, and this can render TMR heads more vulnerable to mechanical stresses generated during the lapping process. Although is important to verify the durability of TMR heads against lapping, it is very difficult to perform a crystallographic analysis of the affected layer because of the small dimensions involved. In this study, we attempted to establish an advanced TMR head verification method based on a magnetic performance analysis involving micro-Kerr hysteresis loops and the magnetic noise spectrum. We found that the magnetic performance changed when nanoscale scratches were removed from the lapped surface using ion beam etching. This indicates that the lapping process produces an affected layer which deteriorates the magnetic characteristics of the TMR head. A correlation was also found between the change in magnetic performance and the morphology of lapped surface.
Tojiro Aoyama, Hideki Aoyama, Atsushi Matsubara, Hayato Yoshioka and Libo Zhou
H. Tanaka and Y. Maeda, "Characterization of TMR Head Durability against Lapping Based on Magnetic Performance", Key Engineering Materials, Vols. 523-524, pp. 961-966, 2012