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Investigation of Flying-Height Stability of Thermal Fly-Height Control Sliders in Lubricant or Solid Contact with Roughness


When the magnetic spacing in hard disk drives is reduced to sub-3 nm, contact between the slider and disk becomes inevitable. Stability analysis is used in this study to investigate the head–disk interface (HDI) stability of thermal fly-height control (TFC) sliders in light contact with the disk lubricant or solid roughness. We implement an improved DMT model with sub-boundary lubrication into the CML air bearing program and analyze the stability of equilibrium states of a TFC slider under different thermal actuations. It is found that stability is lost when the slider penetrates deeper into the lubricant layer, due to a fast growth in the adhesion force, and it is restored when the solid roughness contact develops. In addition, the critical point for the onset of this instability and the range of this instability region is found to vary with lubricant thickness and protrusion surface steepness, while keeping the air bearing design the same.

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