The viability of the concept of “self-adjusting flying height” for giant magneto-resistive (GMR) recording heads designed for operation in the near-contact recording regime (flying heights below 10 nm) is demonstrated experimentally. In the present context, the realization of the latter concept relies upon the micro-texturing — production of deterministic, spatially coherent surface topography patterns — of potential contact regions on the recording heads. Through the manipulation of micro-texture pattern feature geometry and spatial distribution, the apparent area of contact, or bearing area ratio, in such regions can be varied in a controllable manner. The latter affords a means to enable the transition of head-disc interfaces (HDI) initially operating under interference contact conditions, into the fly regime without impairing the mechanical and electrical integrity of the HDI. Experimental results attesting to the feasibility of the concept self-adjusting flying height for GMR heads are presented and discussed. Practical aspects associated with the implementation of the latter concept are also discussed.

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