In this article electrostatic discharge (ESD) damage to giant magnetoresistive (GMR) recording heads is studied for the first time The ESD failure threshold was measured using an extremely short duration (1 ns) metal contact ESD transient. The failure energy required to melt the GMR recording head was 2.3 nJ, about half of the 5 nJ of energy needed to melt a conventional anisotropic magnetoresistive (AMR) head design. Scanning electron microscope scans of ESD damaged AMR and GMR heads snow localized melting of the sensors. It is concluded that recording heads with GMR sensors, planned for use in the near future, will have significantly lower ESD failure thresholds than AMR recording heads in use today. Finally, scaling arguments show that an AMR bead design with the same reduced cross-sectional area of the GMR head has a comparable ESD failure threshold.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)