A non-skiving tape head with sub-ambient air pressure cavities
A small head-medium spacing is crucial for achieving high linear densities in magnetic tape recording. Traditional contoured (cylindrical) tape heads have been superseded by flat-profile tape heads with sharp skiving edges to remove the natural air bearing that forms between tape and a contoured head, to reduce the head-tape spacing . This means that tape is in contact with the head surface and that the spacing is determined predominantly by the tape surface roughness. To further reduce the head-medium spacing, the tape surface roughness needs to be reduced, which however results in increased head-medium friction. High friction is problematic for tape durability, for reliable operation of the data channel, and for accurate track-follow control. Although friction is lower for smaller tape wrap angles, reducing the wrap angle in a skiving configuration is not desirable because it results in an unacceptable increase in head-medium spacing. Furthermore, recent research has shown that a substantial amount of the friction originates at the skiving edges of the head. In this work, we present a new tape head design which allows dispensing with the skiving edges to reduce friction, while simultaneously maintaining tape-head contact above the read/write transducers.