Conference paper

A servomechanism for a micro-electromechanical-system-based scanning-probe data storage device

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Micro-electro-mechanical-system (MEMS)-based scanning-probe data storage devices are emerging as potential ultra-high-density, low-access-time, and low-power alternatives to conventional data storage. One implementation of probe-based storage uses thermomechanical means to store and retrieve information in thin polymer films. One of the challenges in building such devices is the extreme accuracy and the short latency required in the navigation of the probes over the polymer medium. This paper focuses on the design and characterization of a servomechanism to achieve such accurate positioning in a probe-based storage prototype. In our device, the polymer medium is positioned on a MEMS scanner with x/y-motion capabilities of about 100 μm. The device also includes thermal position sensors that provide x/y-position information to the servo controller. Based on a discrete state-space model of the scanner dynamics, a controller is designed using the linear quadratic Gaussian approach with state estimation. The random seek performance of this approach is evaluated and compared with that of the conventional proportional, integrator, and derivative (PID) approach. The results demonstrate the superiority of the state-space approach, which achieves seek times of about 4 ms in a ±50 μm range. Finally, the experimental results show that closed-loop track following using the thermal position-sensor signals is feasible and yields a position-error standard deviation of approximately 2 nm.