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Thermal proximity imaging of hard-disk substrates

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4 Author(s)
Abraham, D.W. ; IBM Thomas J. Watson Res. Center, Yorktown Heights, NY, USA ; Chainer, T.J. ; Etzold, K.F. ; Wickramasinghe, H.K.

We discuss a new measurement technique called thermal proximity sensing (TPS) and its application to the inspection of magnetic hard-disk surfaces. This method uses the magneto-resistive (MR) readback element of a hard-disk file in a novel thermally sensitive mode to actively sense the air-bearing gap spacing while the disk spins under the slider. We present model calculations that describe the origin of the thermal sensitivity and its range of applicability. By collecting height information as a function of position, we have obtained high-resolution images of disk topography with sensitivity in the subnanometer range. Initial results of the technique, obtained on a test stand, showed an exceptional imaging ability for surface features. We have also obtained useful surface structure data from in situ measurements of disk surface defects in an operating hard-disk file

Published in:

Magnetics, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:36 ,  Issue: 6 )

Date of Publication:

Nov 2000

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