An understanding of the temperature of the GMR reader element used in disk drives during operating and non-operating condition is critical to optimize its performance. Self-heating and/or external heat sources will cause an increase in the temperature of the GMR sensor. In this work we concentrate on the self-heating effect due to bias current. Experiments that monitored the resistance change during very short current pulses showed that state-of-the-art GMR sensors have an extremely short time-constant that is less than 2 ns. This work is applicable to the current transients that the GMR head experiences during electrical crosstalk, electrostatic discharge and thermal asperities.

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