Combined normal and tangential loading of a magnetic recording head on a rigid hydrogenated diamond counterface is simulated using molecular dynamics. Deformation of the substrate, silicon interlayer and tetrahedral amorphous carbon overcoat that comprise the head is quantified as a function of operating and design parameters. We find that decreasing the silicon layer thickness decreases residual strain in the recording head. Deformation occurs primarily at the Ni-Si interface and within the Si layer.

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