New magnetic storage technology enhancements are being introduced into the HDD products to facilitate lower head media spacing and reliability. Recently, advanced components such as thermal protrusion devices, Head Disc Interface (HDI) proximity sensors, complex self-compensating AAB designs have been integrated into the recording heads. Component development and product integration teams evaluate performance of these critical head disc interfaces for tribological robustness. New HDI components could potentially bring new HDI wear mechanisms that occur under specific thermo-mechanical conditions. Characterization of recording head DLC overcoat nanoscale wear performance has always been a challenge. Historically, nano-wear tests evolved in conjunction with advances in Scanning Probe Microscopy (SPM) techniques [1] and wear resistive tools [2] like diamond tip cantilevers. Here, by controlling SPM, contact force specified wear patterns can be obtained in contact mode or dynamic mode. Decisions on DLC wear resistance can be made qualitatively by evaluating wear mark topographies.

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