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The use of in-stack longitudinal magnetic stabilization for spin-valve and tunnel-valve recording head sensors has been investigated. An in-stack ferromagnetic layer pinned with an IrMn antiferromagnet is used to magnetostatically stabilize the free layer by flux closure. The use of IrMn with lower blocking temperature than PtMn allows the bias layer to be set independently from the PtMn-pinned reference layer in the spin-valve or tunnel-valve. A Ta spacer 10-30 Å in thickness is used to separate the free layer from the bias layer resulting in low coupling fields. IrMn delivers up to 0.34 erg/cm2 of pinning strength, resulting in stable unshielded sensor operation for device sizes below 0.2 μm.