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Performance advances in recording through Micro Actuation


With increasing recording density of Hard Disk Drives (HDD), the distances between flux reversals as well as the width of the magnetic data track decrease. To increase the first one, a dynamic reduction of the head to disk spacing during writing and/or reading is desirable and has been implemented into newest generation heads. Track following is accomplished by rotary voice coil actuators positioning the recording heads on the required data track. The head itself consists of a suspension mounted to the actuator on one side and carrying a slider which flies over the disk and contains the read/write element on the other.

These actuator systems run into limitations in regard of track following, posing a handicap for further increasing the radial (track) density. To resolve this issue, a second stage actuator may be integrated in the read/write head to accomplish more accurate and higher frequency track following than possible with existing actuators. Concepts for the design of such actuators are known. However, since the HDD industry is extremely price sensitive, it could not convince itself to accept additional cost even for the sake of a performance increase.

PARMA aims at a cost competitive solution for this problem. A slider with an integrated micro-actuator (SLIM) allows both vertical (for head-to-disc spacing adjustment) and lateral (for fine tracking) motion of the read/write element. The read/write element is part of a chip which required only a fraction of the wafer real estate required for fabricating a present slider containing the read/write element. Therefore, SLIM is a solution that not only provides the required actuation capabilities, it also can be fabricated at lower costs than a present slider.

Seagate Technology Springtown in Londonderry, UK, committed to accompany the program and to validate the results. Seagate Technology is the worldwide HDD market leader.

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Participants (3)