Patent Number: 7,710,689

Title: Narrow track read sensor

Abstract: A narrow track width read sensor having a high magnetoresistive sensitivity is made using a self-aligned process which requires the use of only a single resist mask. A plurality of sensor layers which includes a top layer of noble metal is deposited over a substrate. Optionally, a central protective barrier which is conductive or reactive-ion-etchable is formed over these sensor layers. After forming a resist mask in the central region, first lead layers are deposited in the end regions and over the resist mask. Using the resist mask, ion milling is performed such that the first lead layers and sensor layers in the end regions are substantially removed but sensor layers in the central region remain, to thereby form a read sensor having lead overlays on the edges thereof. Hard bias and second lead layers are then deposited in the end regions and over the resist mask. After the resist mask is removed, the top of the read sensor may be oxidized through an exposure to oxygen plasma such that the magnetoresistive sensitivity of the read sensor is increased. Alternatively, the top layers of the read sensor may be removed or transformed by reactive ion etching (RIE).

Inventors: Lille; Jeffrey Scott (Sunnyvale, CA)

Assignee: Hitachi Global Storage Technologies Netherlands B.V.

International Classification: G11B 5/39 (20060101)

Expiration Date: 5/04/12018