A magnetic head including a magnetoresistive junction and an oxide layer. The magnetoresistive junction includes a pinned layer, a free layer, and a barrier layer residing between the pinned and free layer. The magnetoresistive junction includes at least one side having a smooth profile. The oxide layer is on the at least one side. The oxide layer is less than one nanometer thick at the free layer.
Daniel P. Nicolella; Nitin Nitin; Heather S. Hanson; Kwai S. Chan