Skip to main content

Faculty Profiles

Frank E. Talke

Professor, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Faculty, Center for Magnetic Recording Research

Mechanics and tribology of magnetic storage, and micro-mechanical design techniques for ultra-high density disk drives

In the last 55 years, areal density of data storage in rigid disks has increased 100 million fold to more than 500 Gbits (500 billion bits) per inch square. The next mile stone, 1 Tbit/square inch, is near and researchers are working on 10 Terabits (ten trillion bits) per square inch areal density. New techniques are required to design devices with moving parts orders of magnitude smaller than those typically encountered by mechanical engineers. As head of the Tribology and Mechanics Lab at UCSD’s Center for Magnetic Recording Research, Professor Talke is at the forefront of research that takes places where borders blur between mechanics, physics, and chemistry. For example, storage density of one Terabit/square inch will require read-write heads in a disk drive to fly within one or two nanometers from the disk media. Active flying height control by thermal activation of the magnetic read/write head is one of the possibilities to achieve this. A flying height of one or two nanometers is so close that adhesion forces between slider and disk must be considered, that lubricant-materials interactions (stiction) come into play, and that the slightest mechanical disturbance can cause the slider to lose the desired track. Areas of expertise for Talke are the mechanics of the head/disk interface in tape and disk drives, the tribology and surface interactions of heads and recording media, strategies to reduce the flying height, the physics and chemistry of lubricants, modeling and analysis of the flying characteristics of sliders, and high precision instrumentation to assess and measure slider motion, slider dynamics and wear at the head disk interface.

Capsule Bio:

Frank Talke came to UCSD in 1986 after seventeen years at the IBM Research and Development Laboratories in San Jose, CA. He was the chairman of the Department of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering from 1993 to 1995. He is a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), the Institution of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), and the Society of Tribology and Lubrication Engineers (STLE). Professor Talke is a member of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) and a member of Acatech, the German equivalent of the NAE. Among his honors, Talke is the recipient of the first ASME Seagate Information Technology Award (2002), the ASME Medal (2008), the Mayo D. Hersey Award (2010), and the Tribology Gold Medal. Talke received a Diplom-Ingenieur degree from the University of Stuttgart, Germany, in 1965, and an M.Sc. and Ph. D. degree from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1966 and 1968, respectively. Prof. Talke also holds an honorary doctorate degree from the Technical University of Muenchen, Germany.

Selected Publications:

Google Scholar Publications

Frank Talke
Office Phone:
Institute Affiliation:

Print Profile

Jacobs School Faculty Update Your Profile