Multi-Layer PZT Microactuator with Active PZT Constraining Layers for a DSA Suspension
1. A multi-layer piezoelectric microactuator assembly for effecting fine positional movements, the microactuator assembly comprising:
- a first piezoelectric layer and a second piezoelectric layer, the first piezoelectric layer being closest to a surface to which the microactuator assembly is bonded;
a first electrode on a bottom side of the first piezoelectric layer;
a second electrode on a top side of the first piezoelectric layer and disposed underneath the second piezoelectric layer, there being no electrode between the first and second electrodes such that a distance between the first and second electrodes defines a thickness of the first piezoelectric layer, and such that a voltage applied across the first and second electrodes induces an electric field across the first piezoelectric layer thereby causing the first piezoelectric layer to expand or contract; and
a third electrode on a top side of the second piezoelectric layer, there being no electrode between the second and third electrodes such that a distance between the second and third electrodes defines a thickness of the second piezoelectric layer, and such that a voltage applied across the second and third electrodes induces an electric field across the second piezoelectric layer thereby causing the second piezoelectric layer to expand or contract;
wherein the second piezoelectric layer comprises the same material as the first piezoelectric layer and is thinner than the first piezoelectric layer; and
wherein the first and second piezoelectric layers are poled such that when a microactuator activation voltage is applied to the microactuator assembly, the first and second piezoelectric layers tend to act in opposite directions.
A PZT microactuator such as for a hard disk drive has a restraining layer bonded on its side that is opposite the side on which the PZT is mounted. The restraining layer comprises a stiff and resilient material such as stainless steel. The restraining layer can cover most or all of the top of the PZT, with an electrical connection being made to the PZT where it is not covered by the restraining layer. The restraining layer reduces bending of the PZT as mounted and hence increases effective stroke length, or reverses the sign of the bending which increases the effective stroke length of the PZT even further. The restraining layer can be one or more active layers of PZT material that act in the opposite direction as the main PZT layer. The restraining layer(s) may be thinner than the main PZT layer.
- 1. A multi-layer piezoelectric microactuator assembly for effecting fine positional movements, the microactuator assembly comprising:
a first piezoelectric layer and a second piezoelectric layer, the first piezoelectric layer being closest to a surface to which the microactuator assembly is bonded; a first electrode on a bottom side of the first piezoelectric layer; a second electrode on a top side of the first piezoelectric layer and disposed underneath the second piezoelectric layer, there being no electrode between the first and second electrodes such that a distance between the first and second electrodes defines a thickness of the first piezoelectric layer, and such that a voltage applied across the first and second electrodes induces an electric field across the first piezoelectric layer thereby causing the first piezoelectric layer to expand or contract; and a third electrode on a top side of the second piezoelectric layer, there being no electrode between the second and third electrodes such that a distance between the second and third electrodes defines a thickness of the second piezoelectric layer, and such that a voltage applied across the second and third electrodes induces an electric field across the second piezoelectric layer thereby causing the second piezoelectric layer to expand or contract; wherein the second piezoelectric layer comprises the same material as the first piezoelectric layer and is thinner than the first piezoelectric layer; and wherein the first and second piezoelectric layers are poled such that when a microactuator activation voltage is applied to the microactuator assembly, the first and second piezoelectric layers tend to act in opposite directions.
- View Dependent Claims (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)
- 11. A multi-layer piezoelectric microactuator assembly for effecting fine positional movements, the microactuator assembly comprising:
a first piezoelectric layer adjacent a surface to which the microactuator assembly is bonded; and a plurality of restraining piezoelectric layers bonded to the first piezoelectric layer, each of the restraining piezoelectric layers being farther away from said surface, each of the piezoelectric restraining layers having an associated pair of electrodes with one electrode disposed between adjacent restraining piezoelectric layers, the restraining piezoelectric layers tending to act in an opposite direction as the first piezoelectric layer when a microactuator activation voltage is applied to the microactuator assembly.
- View Dependent Claims (12, 13, 14)
- 15. A multi-layer piezoelectric microactuator assembly for effecting fine positional movements, the microactuator assembly comprising:
a first piezoelectric layer, the first piezoelectric layer tending to act in a first linear direction when a voltage is applied across a pair of electrodes of the microactuator assembly; a plurality of opposing piezoelectric layers bonded to the first piezoelectric layer, the first piezoelectric layer and the plurality of opposing piezoelectric layers being disposed in stacked planar relationships to one other, the first piezoelectric layer being disposed closer to a surface to which the microactuator assembly is bonded; and conductive electrode layers disposed between respective pairs of said piezoelectric layers including between pairs of adjacent opposing piezoelectric layers; wherein the opposing piezoelectric layers are poled so that they act in a linear direction generally opposite the first linear direction when said voltage is applied across said pair of electrodes.
- View Dependent Claims (16, 17)
- 18-20. -20. (canceled)
This application is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/672,122 filed Mar. 28, 2015, which is a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/214,525 filed Mar. 14, 2014, which claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 61/802,972 filed Mar. 18, 2013 and of U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 61/877,957 filed Sep. 14, 2013. Application Ser. No. 14/672,122 is also a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/566,666 filed Dec. 10, 2014, which claims benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 62/061,074 filed Oct. 17, 2014 application Ser. No. 14/672,122 also claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 62/085,471 filed Nov. 28, 2014. All of those applications are incorporated by reference as if set forth fully herein.
This invention relates to the field of suspensions for hard disk drives. More particularly, this invention relates to the field of multi-layer piezoelectric microactuator having one or more active piezoelectric constraining layers for use in a dual stage actuated suspension.
Magnetic hard disk drives and other types of spinning media drives such as optical disk drives are well known.
Suspension 105 is coupled to an actuator arm 103, which in turn is coupled to a voice coil motor 112 that moves the suspension 105 arcuately in order to position the head slider over the correct data track on data disk 101. The head slider is carried on a gimbal which allows the slider to pitch and roll so that it follows the proper data track on the spinning disk, allowing for such variations as vibrations of the disk, inertial events such as bumping, and irregularities in the disk'"'"'s surface.
Both single stage actuated disk drive suspensions and dual stage actuated (DSA) suspension are known. In a single stage actuated suspension, only the voice coil motor 112 moves suspension 105.
In a DSA suspension, as for example in U.S. Pat. No. 7,459,835 issued to Mei et al. as well as many others, in addition to a voice coil motor 112 which moves the entire suspension, at least one additional microactuator is located on the suspension in order to effect fine movements of the magnetic head slider and to keep it properly aligned over the data track on the spinning disk. The microactuator(s) provide finer control and much higher bandwidth of the servo control loop than does the voice coil motor alone, which only effects relatively coarse movements of the suspension and hence the magnetic head slider. A piezoelectric element, sometimes referred to simply as a PZT, is often used as the microactuator motor, although other types of microactuator motors are possible.
In DSA suspensions it is generally desirable to achieve a high stroke distance from the PZT per unit of input voltage, or simply “stroke length” for short.
Many DSA suspension designs in the past have mounted the PZTs at the mount plate. In such a design, the linear movement of the PZTs is magnified by the length of the arm between the rotation center of the PZTs and the read/write transducer head. A small linear movement of the PZTs therefore results in a relatively large radial movement of the read/write head.
Other suspension designs mount the PZT at or near the gimbal. An example of a gimbal-mounted PZT is the DSA suspension shown in co-pending U.S. application Ser. No. 13/684,016 which is assigned to the assignee of the present invention. In a gimbal-mounted DSA suspension (a “GSA” suspension) it is particularly important to achieve high stroke length, because those designs do not have nearly as long an arm length between the PZTs and the read/write transducer head. With a shorter arm length, the resulting movement of the read/write head is correspondingly less. Thus, achieving a large stroke length is particularly important in GSA design.
The inventors of the application have identified a source of lost PZT stroke length in a suspension having a PZT microactuator mounted thereto according to the prior art, and have developed a PZT microactuator structure and method of producing it that eliminates the source of that lost stroke length.
Thus, although purely linear expansion and contraction of the PZT upon actuation is desired, in the conventional mounting the PZT experiences bending either up or down which results in lost stroke length.
The present invention is of a PZT element that has one or more stiff restraining layers or restraining elements bonded onto at least one side or face opposite the side or face on which the PZT is mounted to the suspension, in order to reduce, eliminate, change the direction of, or otherwise control bending of the PZT when it is actuated. The counterintuitive result is that even though the PZT has an stiff layer added to it that, at least nominally, restrains the expansion and contraction of the PZT, the effective linear stroke distance achieved actually increases. A PZT having a restraining layer according to the invention can be used as a microactuator in a hard disk drive suspension, although it could be used in other applications as well.
In a preferred embodiment the effect of the restraining layer is to actually change the direction of bending. Thus, for a PZT that is bonded on its bottom surface to the suspension, the presence of the restraining layer has the effect that when the piezoelectric element is actuated by a voltage that causes the piezoelectric element to expand, the piezoelectric element bends in a direction that causes the top face to become net concave in shape; and when the piezoelectric element is actuated by a voltage that causes the piezoelectric element to contract, the piezoelectric element bends in a direction that causes the top face to become net convex in shape. The effect is therefore to actually increase the effective linear expansion in expansion mode, and to increase the effective linear contraction in contraction mode. The presence of the restraining layer therefore actually increases the effective stroke length.
The PZT with its constraining layer can be manufactured by various techniques including laminating the constraining layer to an existing PZT element, or one of the PZT element and the constraining layer can be formed on top of the other by an additive process. Such an additive process can include depositing a thin film PZT onto a substrate such as stainless steel (SST). The constraining layer can be stainless steel, silicon, ceramic such as substantially unpoled (unactivated) ceramic material of otherwise the same ceramic material as constitutes the PZT element, or another relatively stiff material. If the restraining layer is non-conductive, one or more electrical vias comprising columns of conductive material can be formed through the restraining layer in order to carry the activating voltage or ground potential from the surface of the microactuator to the PZT element inside.
The constraining layer may be larger (of greater surface area) than the PZT element, the same size as the PZT element, or may be smaller (of lesser surface area) than the PZT element. In a preferred embodiment, the constraining layer is smaller than the PZT element, giving the microactuator a step-like structure with the shelf of the step uncovered by the restraining layer, and with the shelf being where the electrical connection is made to the PZT element. One benefit of such a construction including a shelf where the electrical connection is made is that the completed assembly including the electrical connection has a lower profile than if the restraining layer covers the entire PZT. A lower profile is advantageous because it means that more hard drive platters and their suspensions can be stacked together within a given platter stack height, thus increasing the data storage capacity within a given volume of disk drive assembly.
Simulations have shown that microactuators constructed according to the invention exhibit enhanced stroke sensitivity, and also exhibited reduced sway mode gain and torsion mode gain. These are advantageous in increasing head positioning control loop bandwidth, which translates into both lower data seek times and lower susceptibility to vibrations.
An additional advantage of adding a constraining layer(s) or element(s) to the PZT according to the invention is that in hard disk drives today, the suspension and its components including the PZT are usually very thin. Microactuators used in today'"'"'s DSA suspension designs in which the PZTs are mounted at the mount plate, are on the order of 150 μm thick. In gimbal-mounted DSA suspension designs the PZTs are even thinner, often being less than 100 μm thick. The PZT material is therefore very thin and brittle, and can crack easily during both manufacturing/assembly, including both the process of manufacturing the PZT microactuator motor itself as well as the automated pick-and-place operation in the suspension assembly process. It is expected that PZTs in future generation hard drives will be 75 μm thick or thinner, which will exacerbate the problem. It is anticipated that PZTs this thin will not only be susceptible to damage during manufacturing/assembly, but could also be vulnerable to cracking or breaking when the disk drive experiences shock, i.e., g-forces. The additional stiff, resilient constraining layer according to the present invention provides additional strength and resiliency to the PZT thus helping to prevent the PZT from cracking or otherwise mechanically failing during manufacturing/assembly and during shock events.
In another aspect of the invention, a microactuator assembly is a multi-layer PZT device, with multiple active PZT layers including one or more active PZT layers acting as restraining layers that tend to counteract the action of the main active PZT layer.
The idea that by adding one or more layers that resist the main PZT layer'"'"'s movement, overall net stroke length can be increased, is counterintuitive. It is even more counterintuitive to think that by adding one or more active layers that actively act in the opposite direction as the main PZT layer, overall net stroke length can be increased even further. Nevertheless, that is the result which the present inventors have demonstrated.
Exemplary embodiments of the invention will be further described below with reference to the drawings, in which like numbers refer to like parts. The drawing figures might not be to scale, and certain components may be shown in generalized or schematic form and identified by commercial designations in the interest of clarity and conciseness.
Alternatively, instead of the constraining layer 130 being stainless steel, it could be ceramic such as an unactivated (unpoled, or unpolarized) layer of the same ceramic material as forms the piezoelectric layer 120, and could be integrated into the assembly by either bonding or by deposition. The ceramic material is unpolarized meaning that it exhibits substantially less piezoelectric behavior, such as less than 10% as much piezoelectric behavior, as the poled ceramic that defines piezoelectric layer 120. Such an assembly, defining a stack consisting from the bottom up of electrode/poled PZT/electrode/unpoled PZT, may be easier to manufacture than a stack of electrode/PZT/electrode/SST.
In the discussion that follows, for simplicity of discussion top and bottom electrodes 126, 128 are sometimes omitted from the figures and from the discussion, it being understood that PZT microactuators will almost always have at least some type of top and bottom electrode.
A layer of copper or nickel may be deposited onto the SST layer 130 before gold layer 131 is applied in order to increase the adhesion of the gold to the SST, as discussed in U.S. Pat. No. 8,395,866 issued to Schreiber et al. which is owned by the assignee of the present application, and which is hereby incorporated by reference for its teaching of electrodepositing other metals onto stainless steel. Similarly, the electrodes 126,128 may comprise a combination of nickel and/or chromium, and gold (NiCr/Au).
The thin film PZT had a length of 1.20 mm, the PZT bonding had a width of 0.15 mm at both ends, and the piezoelectric coefficient d31 was 250 pm/V. In some embodiments, the SST layer may be at least 12 micrometers thick in order to provide adequate support.
In the above example the DSA suspension exhibited a stroke sensitivity of 26.1 nm/V according to a simulation. In contrast, a 45 μm thick bulk PZT (d31=320 pm/V) with the same geometry would typically exhibit a stroke sensitivity of only 7.2 nm/V.
The ratio of thicknesses of the SST layer to the PZT layer may be as high as 1:1, or even 1.25:1 or even higher. As the thickness ratio of the constraint layer to the PZT reaches approximately 1:25, the stroke sensitivity improvement due to the constraint layer may start to be negative, indicating the thickness limitation of the PZT constraint layer.
Adding the constraining layer 130 to a PZT microactuator 114 has no appreciate affect on the stroke length for the otherwise unrestrained and unbonded PZT 114. When that PZT 114 is bonded to a suspension 18 at its bottom ends such as shown in
One could also hold constant the total combined thickness of the PZT and the constraining layer, and determine an optimal thickness for the constraining layer.
Although other methods could be used to produce the product such as by bonding the restraining layer directly to the PZT surface by adhesive such as epoxy, the method shown in
The SST restraining layer 130 acts as a substrate for the PZT layer 120 both during the additive manufacturing process as well as in the finished product. The restraining layer 130 is therefore sometimes referred to as a substrate.
The SST substrate thickness may be varied to some degree without compromising the benefits of the disclosed thin film PZT structure.
As mentioned above, different types of constraint layers may be used in different implementations. Other rigid materials, either conductive or non-conductive, can also be used as the constraint layer or substrate. Silicon, for example, could be used as the constraint layer material.
In an alternative embodiment, the middle via on the silicon substrate can be replaced by one or more vias at the end the silicon. Therefore, after the final dicing, a half-circle will be formed at each end of the silicon.
The constraining layer may be larger (of greater surface area) than the PZT element, the same size as the PZT element, or may be smaller (of lesser surface area) than the PZT element.
Simulations have shown that microactuators constructed according to the invention exhibit enhanced stroke sensitivity, and also exhibited reduced sway mode gain and torsion mode gain. These are advantageous in increasing head positioning control loop bandwidth, which translates into both lower data seek times and lower susceptibility to vibrations.
The figure also explicitly shows gold layer 469 over the stainless steel portion 154 of the trace gimbal to which microactuator 414 is mounted. Gold layer 469 provides corrosion resistance and enhanced conductivity to the SST.
In this embodiment as with all of the other embodiments, the restraining layer and more generally the top surface of the PZT microactuator assembly, will normally have nothing bonded to it other than an electrical connection.
The scope of the invention is not limited to the exact embodiments shown. Variations will be obvious to those skilled in the art after receiving the teachings herein. For example, the restraining layer need not be stainless steel, but can be some other relatively stiff and resilient material. The restraining layer need not be a single layer of one material, but could be composed of different layers of different materials. Although the restraining layer can cover the entire surface or substantially the entire top surface, the restraining could cover less than the entire surface, e.g., more than 90% of the top surface area, more than 75% of the top surface area, more than 50% of the top surface area, or even more than 25% of the top surface area. In embodiments having the step feature, the restraint layer is anticipated to cover less than 95% of the top surface of the microactuator. The constraining layer need not be a single integral layer, but could comprise multiple pieces such as a plurality of constraining strips arranged side by side on the top surface of the PZT, with the strips extending either in the direction of expansion/contraction or perpendicular to it. In one embodiment, the constraining layer could comprise two constraining pieces of stainless steel or other material bonded onto the top surface of the PZT, with the size and location of the two constraining pieces and their bonding generally mirroring the mounting area of two mounting shelves to which the PZT is bonded on its bottom surface. When the overall stiffness added by the restraining layer on the top of the device generally matches the overall stiffness added to the bottom of the device by being bonded to the suspension, and the bonded areas generally mirror each other, the net bending produced should be zero or close to zero. The result will be a PZT microactuator that, as mounted and deployed in a suspension, exhibits virtually no bending upon actuation.
In any and all of the embodiments discussed herein or suggested thereby, the constraining layer could be chosen so as to reduce the PZT bending that would otherwise occur during actuation, or it could be chosen so as to eliminate as much as possible any PZT bending, or it could be chosen so as to reverse the sign of the PZT bending. In applications in which the PZT(s) will be used as hard disk drive microactuator(s), it is envisioned that using a constraining layer to reverse the sign of the bending as shown and described in the illustrative examples above will be desirable in most cases because that increases the effective stroke length. In other applications for PZTs, however, it might not be desirable to reverse the sign. Thus, the invention can be used in general to control both the direction and the amount of the bending of a PZT, regardless of how the PZT is mounted or otherwise affixed to other components within any particular application. Depending on the application and the parameters chosen, the constraining layer can be used to decrease the PZT bending to less than 50% of what it otherwise would be, or to less than 25% of what it otherwise would be, or to reverse the sign of the bending. When the sign is reversed, a PZT that is bonded at or near its ends on its bottom surface and which has a restraining layer on top will bend such that its top surface assumes a concave shape when the PZT is in expansion or extension mode, rather than assuming a convex shape as would a similar PZT that does not have a restraining layer. Similarly, the PZT will assume a convex shape when the PZT is in contraction mode, rather than assuming a concave shape as would a similar PZT that does not have a restraining layer.
For various reasons, PZT elements are sometimes pre-stressed in an application such that when the PZT is not actuated by any voltage it is already bent in one direction or another, i.e., it is already either concave or convex. Of course, such pre-stressed PZTs could be used as microactuators in the present invention. In such a case, the PZT might not bend into a net or absolute concave shape or a net or absolute convex shape. For example, if the PZT is pre-stressed so that it already has a concave shape, upon activation with a positive activation voltage the device might bend into a more concave shape, and upon activation with a negative activation voltage the device might bend into a less concave shape which might be a nominally flat shape or it might be a convex shape. Unless specifically delineated therefore, the terms “concave” and “convex” should be understood in relative terms rather than in absolute terms.
The PZT layers 3120, 3130, and 3140 are arranged in stacked planar relationships to one another. The main PZT layer 3120 comprises active PZT area 3121 which was subject to an electric field during poling and hence was poled, and which is subject to an electric field during device activation and hence will expand or contract, and also includes inactive PZT areas 3122 and 3123 which are not subjected to significant electric fields during either poling or activation and hence are not significantly piezoelectrically active. The device includes: a first or bottom electrode 3124; a second and top electrode 3126 for the active PZT area; a third electrode 3132 including end 3128 such that electrode 3132 both extends between the first active constraining layer 3130 and the second active constraining layer 3140 and wraps around the end of the PZT; and fourth electrode 3142 on top of the second active constraining layer 3140 including wrap-around portion 3143 which wraps around both the side and the bottom of the device. The device may be bonded to the suspension using conductive adhesive such as conductive epoxy 3160 mechanically and electrically bonding electrode 3142 to drive voltage electrical contact pad 158 which provides the microactuator driving voltage, and using conductive epoxy 3162 which mechanically and electrically bonds electrodes 3124 and 3128 of the device to grounded part 154 of the suspension.
To understand the operation of the device, one must understand how the device has been poled.
When a voltage is applied to electrode 3142 that causes main PZT layer 3120 to expand in the x-direction (from left to right) as seen in the figure due to the expansion of active area 3121, the active PZT constraining layers 3130 and 3140 will contract in the x-direction. That is, the two constraining layers 3130, 3140 tend to counteract, or act in the opposite direction, as the main PZT layer 3120.
Explained in greater detail, when the device is poled as shown in
The effect of the constraining layers acting in the opposite direction as the main PZT layer is similar to that described earlier with respect to a passive constraining layer such as constraining layer 130 in
A thinner microactuator assembly is desired for a number of reasons including: (1) less mass on the suspension, particularly at or near the gimbal in a gimbal-based DSA suspension which is sometimes referred to as a GSA suspension, which in turns means a greater lift-off force as measured in g-forces, i.e., a greater resistance to shock; (2) reduced windage; and (3) greater stack density within the head stack assembly which means that more data can be stored in the same volume of disk drive stack assembly space. It would thus be desirable to make the PZT constraining layers to be quite thin. However, the thinner the PZT constraining layers are, the higher the electric field strengths are across those layers during operation, and hence the more prone they are to being depoled during operation due to too high an electric field strength. Nominally, therefore, the main PZT layer and the constraining PZT layers should have the same thickness.
One solution to making the constraining PZT layers thinner without subjecting them to depoling is to reduce the strength of the electric field(s) across the constraining layer(s) using one or more of various possible means without significantly reducing the electric field across the main PZT layer. A first means for accomplishing that objective is to pattern one or more of the electrodes that is operationally associated with one of the active PZT constraining layers but is not operationally associated with the main PZT layer, such as by adding holes 3133 in electrode 3132 or other electrical voids. The patterning could also take the form of a mesh pattern such as a grid of parallel or intersecting conductors with electrical voids between them. By reducing the percentage of area of the electrical conductor within the planar electrode 3132, the electric field strength across constraining layers 3130 and 3140 are effectively reduced without reducing the electric field strength across main PZT layer 3120.
A second solution is to increase the coercive electric field strength of the constraining layer(s) so that the constraining layers are more resistant to depoling. The coercive electric field strength, or simply “coercivity” when referring to a piezoelectric material, is a measure of how great an electric field strength is required in order to depole the piezoelectric material. Making the constraining layer(s) 3130, 3140 have a higher coercivity than the main PZT layer 3120 allows those constraining layers to be made thinner without risk of depoling when subjected to the same activation voltage as the main PZT layer. The constraining layers 3130, 3140 can be made to have higher coercivities, possibly at the price of some loss of d31 stroke length or other desirable characteristics, by using a different or slightly different piezoelectric material, or by other processing.
Another solution is to reduce the effective voltage that is applied to the driven electrode associated with the constraining layer(s) by using some kind of a voltage reducer such as a voltage divider resistor network, a diode, a voltage regulator, or any one of various functionally similar devices which will occur to one of skill in the field. In the figure, generalized voltage reducer 3144 reduces the voltage received by electrode 3142, thus reducing the electric field strength experienced by constraining layer 3140 but not by main PZT layer 3120. The voltage divider can be integrally formed and thus disposed between the adjacent piezoelectric layers, such as by applying the metallization that forms the electrode layer in such as way as to form a voltage divider resistor network on the surface of the PZT material. A simple resistive voltage divider would require a ground which could be made available on the same layer. Many constructions are possible as will be apparent to designers of such devices.
Patterning 3133 and voltage reducer 3144 both decrease the strength of the electric field across constraining layer 3140, thus allowing constraining layer 3140 to be made thinner without unacceptable exposing it to depoling during operation. Either electrode patterning and/or a voltage reducer, and/or some other means for reducing the electric field strength across constraining layers 3130 and/or 3140, could be used. The patterning 3133 is integrally formed with electrode 3132 and thus is integrally formed with, and integrated into the microactuator assembly. A voltage reducer for one of the electrodes could be either integrally formed with and integrated into the assembly, or could possibly be provided external to the assembly provided that the associated electrode has its own electrical lead and is not ganged with the other electrodes.
All three of those solutions discussed above may be applied to piezoelectric microactuators having a single active constraining layer, two active constraining layers such as shown in
a) one inactive restraining layer (“passive CLC,” the diamond shaped data points);
b) one active restraining layer (“single layer,” the square data points); and
c) two active restraining layers (“double layer,” the triangular data points).
The data indicates that, at least for the parameters that were studied, a PZT microactuator having one active restraining layer acting in the opposite direction as the main PZT layer always produces higher stroke sensitivity than one in which the restraining layer is inactive material. The highest stroke sensitivity is achieved using multiple active thin layers of PZT acting as restraining layers (i.e., acting in the opposite direction as the main PZT layer). Specifically, the highest stroke sensitivity was achieved using two restraining layers that were each 5 μm thick, or approximately 11% the thickness of the main PZT layer. Thus, the constraining layer is preferably less than 50% as thick as the main PZT layer, or more preferably less than 20% as thick as the main PZT layer, or more preferably still within the range of 5-15% as thick as the main PZT layer.
For two active restraining layers, the stroke sensitivity decreases dramatically with increasing thickness of the restraining layers, with the highest stroke sensitivity for the case of two active constraining layers each of about 5 μm thick. Thus, the microactuator preferably has two or more restraining layers of a combined thickness that is less than the thickness of the main PZT layer, and more preferably their combined thickness is less than 50% the thickness of the main PZT layer, and more preferably still each constraining layer is less than half as thick as the main PZT layer, and more preferably still each constraining layer is less than 20% as thick as the main PZT layer, and more preferably still each constraining layer is within the range of 5-15% as thick as the main PZT layer.
For a microactuator assembly having a single active restraining layer, the loss in stroke sensitivity as the restraining layer thickness increases was not nearly as dramatic as for the case of two active restraining layers. A local maxima occurs at about 10 μm thickness for the single active restraining layer. Thus, for a microactuator assembly having a single active restraining layer, the thickness of that layer is preferably in the range of 10-40% as thick as the main PZT layer, and more preferably in the range of about 10-20% as thick as the main PZT layer.
The construction of the microactuator assembly can be easily extended from a device having one active main PZT layer and two active PZT restraining layers as shown in
The PZT microactuators disclosed herein can be used as actuators in fields other than disk drive suspensions. Such microactuators and their construction details therefore constitute inventive devices regardless of what environment they are used it, be that environment the disk drive suspension environment or any other environment.
It will be understood that the terms “generally,” “approximately,” “about,” “substantially,” and “coplanar” as used within the specification and the claims herein allow for a certain amount of variation from any exact dimensions, measurements, and arrangements, and that those terms should be understood within the context of the description and operation of the invention as disclosed herein.
It will further be understood that terms such as “top,” “bottom,” “above,” and “below” as used within the specification and the claims herein are terms of convenience that denote the spatial relationships of parts relative to each other rather than to any specific spatial or gravitational orientation. Thus, the terms are intended to encompass an assembly of component parts regardless of whether the assembly is oriented in the particular orientation shown in the drawings and described in the specification, upside down from that orientation, or any other rotational variation.
All features disclosed in the specification, including the claims, abstract, and drawings, and all the steps in any method or process disclosed, may be combined in any combination, except combinations where at least some of such features and/or steps are mutually exclusive. Each feature disclosed in the specification, including the claims, abstract, and drawings, can be replaced by alternative features serving the same, equivalent, or similar purpose, unless expressly stated otherwise. Thus, unless expressly stated otherwise, each feature disclosed is one example only of a generic series of equivalent or similar features.
It will be appreciated that the term “present invention” as used herein should not be construed to mean that only a single invention having a single essential element or group of elements is presented. Similarly, it will also be appreciated that the term “present invention” encompasses a number of separate innovations which can each be considered separate inventions. Although the present invention has thus been described in detail with regard to the preferred embodiments and drawings thereof, it should be apparent to those skilled in the art that various adaptations and modifications of the present invention may be accomplished without departing from the spirit and the scope of the invention. Accordingly, it is to be understood that the detailed description and the accompanying drawings as set forth hereinabove are not intended to limit the breadth of the present invention, which should be inferred only from the following claims and their appropriately construed legal equivalents.