A new method for the optimization of slider bearings in magnetic recording disk drives is described. The new approach subdivides the chosen design area of the slider to be optimized in a number of small rectangular subregions. Each subregion is allowed to be at one of two height levels, one level corresponding to the air bearing surface and the other to the intermediate level between recess level and air bearing level. The pressure distribution over the slider and the flying height of the slider are calculated for all possible combinations of height levels of the subregions and the solution is determined that minimizes a chosen objective function. After determining an optimum solution with an initial coarse subdivision, a refinement of the solution is obtained by further subdivision of the individual subregions, and repeating the evaluation of the objective function to determine the optimum solution. The subregion approach does not require an a priory knowledge of a good initial design and results in novel air bearing contours.

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