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Method to Improve the Reliability and Cooling Capability of Thin-Film Magnetoresistive Sensors

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000015726D
Original Publication Date: 2002-Feb-14
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-21
Document File: 3 page(s) / 366K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

Disclosed is a method to improve the reliability and cooling capability of magnetoresistive (MR) read sensors in magnetic recording heads. To achieve high areal densities, magnetic recording heads require read gap layers with thickness of the order of 100A to separate the thin-film sensors from the magnetic shields. In a conventional recording head, the current-in-plane (CIP) configuration is used where the read sensor is electrically insulated from the shields using dielectric films. Sensor bias current is therefore confined to the sensor and lead, and no appreciable amount of current flows in the shields. During recording head manufacturing processes or during field usage, electric fields in excess of dielectric breakdown point can be developed, damaging the dielectric films and hence rendering the device unusable. Another problem with the conventional CIP configuration arises from the fact that the thickness of electrical leads in contact with the sensor is limited in order to minimize edge-breakdown and adjacent track reading. This will impede cooling of the sensor since heat conduction along the leads is a major mechanism by which heat generated in MR sensors is removed.

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  Method to Improve the Reliability and Cooling Capability of Thin-Film Magnetoresistive Sensors

Disclosed is a method to improve the reliability and cooling capability of magnetoresistive (MR) read sensors in magnetic recording heads. To achieve high areal densities, magnetic recording heads require read gap layers with thickness of the order of 100A to separate the thin-film sensors from the magnetic shields. In a conventional recording head, the current-in-plane (CIP) configuration is used where the read sensor is electrically insulated from the shields using dielectric films. Sensor bias current is therefore confined to the sensor and lead, and no appreciable amount of current flows in the shields. During recording head manufacturing processes or during field usage, electric fields in excess of dielectric breakdown point can be developed, damaging the dielectric films and hence rendering the device unusable. Another problem with the conventional CIP configuration arises from the fact that the thickness of electrical leads in contact with the sensor is limited in order to minimize edge-breakdown and adjacent track reading. This will impede cooling of the sensor since heat conduction along the leads is a major mechanism by which heat generated in MR sensors is removed.

The present invention alleviates the aforementioned problems by implementing a hybrid CIP (current-in-plane) / CPP (current-perpendicular-to-plane) configuration illustrated in Figure 1. The metallic gap is placed in close promixity to the track edges and serves as an electrical conduit that links the shield to the spin valve sensor. The preferred embodiment aligns the sensor track edge with...