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Patent Analysis of

Piezoelectric motors including a stiffener layer

Updated Time 12 June 2019

Patent Registration Data

Publication Number

US10002628

Application Number

US15/657724

Application Date

24 July 2017

Publication Date

19 June 2018

Current Assignee

HUTCHINSON TECHNOLOGY INCORPORATED

Original Assignee (Applicant)

HUTCHINSON TECHNOLOGY INCORPORATED

International Classification

G11B5/48

Cooperative Classification

G11B5/483,G11B5/4833,G11B5/4853,G11B5/4826,G11B5/4873

Inventor

BJORSTROM, JACOB D.

Patent Images

This patent contains figures and images illustrating the invention and its embodiment.

US10002628 Piezoelectric motors stiffener 1 US10002628 Piezoelectric motors stiffener 2 US10002628 Piezoelectric motors stiffener 3
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Abstract

Various embodiments concern a gimbaled flexure having a dual stage actuation structure. The flexure comprises a gimbal on which a motor is mounted. The motor comprises a first terminal, one or more layers of piezoelectric material, and a metal stiffener disposed directly on the first terminal. The stiffener comprises a layer of metal defining a majority of a top side of the motor. The first terminal can be gold sputtered on the piezoelectric material while the stiffener can be nickel plated on the gold. The stiffener can cause the motor, and the flexure on which it is mounted, to curl upon electrical activation of the motor.

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Claims

1. A motor, comprising: one or more piezoelectric material actuator layers defining first and second major broad sides; a first conductive layer on the first major broad side, the first conductive layer has a thickness and an elastic modulus and is configured to connect with a first terminal pad; a second conductive layer on the second major broad side, the second conductive layer has a thickness and an elastic modulus and is configured to connect with a second terminal pad; and a stiffener layer on and in contact with one of the first and second conductive layers, the stiffener layer formed on one of the first and second major broad sides, the stiffener having one or more sides recessed from a corresponding side of the one or more piezoelectric material actuator layers.

2. The motor of claim 1, wherein the first conductive layer and the second conductive layer is a first metal and the stiffener layer is a second metal.

3. The motor of claim 2 wherein: the first metal includes copper; and the second metal includes nickel.

4. The motor of claim 1, wherein the stiffener layer has a thickness that is at least five times thicker than at least one of the thickness of the first conductive layer and the thickness of the second conductive layer.

5. The motor of claim 1, wherein the thickness of the first conductive layer and the thickness of the second conductive layer are equal.

6. The motor of claim 1, wherein the stiffener layer is a plated metal layer.

7. The motor of claim 1, has an elastic modulus that is higher than the elastic modulus of the first metal, and has a thickness that is greater than the thicknesses of the first and second conductive layers.

8. The motor of claim 1, wherein the first conductive layer is configured to connect with the first terminal pad through a first connector.

9. The motor of claim 8, wherein the second conductive layer is configured to connect with the second terminal pad through a second connector.

10. The motor of claim 1, wherein the first conductor layer includes a first terminal on a first end side of the one or more piezoelectric material actuator layers and the second conductor layer includes a second terminal on a second end side of the one or more piezoelectric material actuator layers, the first end side and the second end side are on opposite ends of the piezoelectric material.

11. The motor of claim 1, wherein the first terminal pad and the second terminal pad are formed on a flexure.

12. The motor of claim 1, wherein the first conductor layer includes a first terminal on a first end side of the one or more piezoelectric material and the second conductor layer includes a second terminal on a second end side of the one or more piezoelectric material, the first end side and the second end side are on opposite ends of the piezoelectric material.

13. A suspension structure comprising:a flexure including: a first spring arm and a second spring arm, a tongue having a slider mounting region supported by and located between the first spring arm and the second spring arm, and a plurality of electrical traces including a first trace and a second trace; anda motor including: one or more piezoelectric material actuator layers define a first major broad side and a second major broad side, a first conductive layer on the first major broad side, the first conductive layer has a thickness and an elastic modulus and is configured to connect with a first terminal pad, a second conductive layer on the second major broad side, the second conductive layer has a thickness and an elastic modulus and is configured to connect with a second terminal pad, and a stiffener layer on and in contact with one of the first and second conductive layers, the stiffener layer formed on one of the first and second major broad sides, the stiffener having one or more sides recessed from a corresponding side of the one or more piezoelectric material actuator layers.

14. The suspension structure of claim 13, wherein: the one or more piezoelectric material actuator layers define a first end and a second end; the first end is coupled to the first spring arm; and the second end is coupled to the second spring arm.

15. The suspension structure of claim 13 and further including: a first connector mounting the first end of the one or more piezoelectric material actuator layers to the first spring arm and electrically connecting the first conductive layer to the first electrical trace; and a second connector mounting the second end of the one or more piezoelectric material actuator layers to the second spring arm and electrically connecting the second conductive layer to the second electrical trace.

16. The suspension structure of claim 13 wherein the stiffener layer is a plated metal layer.

17. The suspension structure of claim 16 wherein the stiffener layer has a thickness that is at least five times thicker than the thicknesses of the first and second conductive layers.

18. The suspension structure of claim 13 wherein the stiffener layer has a thickness that is at least five times thicker than the thicknesses of the first and second conductive layers.

19. The motor of claim 13, wherein the first conductive layer and the second layer is a first metal and the stiffener layer is a second metal.

20. The suspension structure of claim 19 wherein: the first metal includes copper; and the second metal includes nickel.

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Claim Tree

  • 1
    1. A motor, comprising:
    • one or more piezoelectric material actuator layers defining first and second major broad sides
    • a first conductive layer on the first major broad side, the first conductive layer has a thickness and an elastic modulus and is configured to connect with a first terminal pad
    • a second conductive layer on the second major broad side, the second conductive layer has a thickness and an elastic modulus and is configured to connect with a second terminal pad
    • and a stiffener layer on and in contact with one of the first and second conductive layers, the stiffener layer formed on one of the first and second major broad sides, the stiffener having one or more sides recessed from a corresponding side of the one or more piezoelectric material actuator layers.
    • 2. The motor of claim 1, wherein
      • the first conductive layer and the second conductive layer is a first metal and the stiffener layer is a second metal.
    • 4. The motor of claim 1, wherein
      • the stiffener layer has a thickness that is at least five times thicker than at least one of the thickness of the first conductive layer and the thickness of the second conductive layer.
    • 5. The motor of claim 1, wherein
      • the thickness of the first conductive layer and the thickness of the second conductive layer are equal.
    • 6. The motor of claim 1, wherein
      • the stiffener layer is a plated metal layer.
    • 7. The motor of claim 1, has an elastic modulus that is higher than the elastic modulus of the first metal, and has a thickness that is greater than the thicknesses of the first and second conductive layers.
    • 8. The motor of claim 1, wherein
      • the first conductive layer is configured to connect with the first terminal pad through a first connector.
    • 10. The motor of claim 1, wherein
      • the first conductor layer includes a first terminal on a first end side of the one or more piezoelectric material actuator layers and the second conductor layer includes a second terminal on a second end side of the one or more piezoelectric material actuator layers, the first end side and the second end side are on opposite ends of the piezoelectric material.
    • 11. The motor of claim 1, wherein
      • the first terminal pad and the second terminal pad are formed on a flexure.
    • 12. The motor of claim 1, wherein
      • the first conductor layer includes a first terminal on a first end side of the one or more piezoelectric material and the second conductor layer includes a second terminal on a second end side of the one or more piezoelectric material, the first end side and the second end side are on opposite ends of the piezoelectric material.
  • 13
    13. A suspension structure comprising:
    • a flexure including: a first spring arm and a second spring arm, a tongue having a slider mounting region supported by and located between the first spring arm and the second spring arm, and a plurality of electrical traces including a first trace and a second trace
    • anda motor including: one or more piezoelectric material actuator layers define a first major broad side and a second major broad side, a first conductive layer on the first major broad side, the first conductive layer has a thickness and an elastic modulus and is configured to connect with a first terminal pad, a second conductive layer on the second major broad side, the second conductive layer has a thickness and an elastic modulus and is configured to connect with a second terminal pad, and a stiffener layer on and in contact with one of the first and second conductive layers, the stiffener layer formed on one of the first and second major broad sides, the stiffener having one or more sides recessed from a corresponding side of the one or more piezoelectric material actuator layers.
    • 14. The suspension structure of claim 13, wherein
      • : the one or more piezoelectric material actuator layers define a first end and a second end; the first end is coupled to the first spring arm; and the second end is coupled to the second spring arm.
    • 15. The suspension structure of claim 13 and further including:
      • a first connector mounting the first end of the one or more piezoelectric material actuator layers to the first spring arm and electrically connecting the first conductive layer to the first electrical trace
      • and a second connector mounting the second end of the one or more piezoelectric material actuator layers to the second spring arm and electrically connecting the second conductive layer to the second electrical trace.
    • 16. The suspension structure of claim 13 wherein
      • the stiffener layer is a plated metal layer.
    • 18. The suspension structure of claim 13 wherein
      • the stiffener layer has a thickness that is at least five times thicker than the thicknesses of the first and second conductive layers.
    • 19. The motor of claim 13, wherein
      • the first conductive layer and the second layer is a first metal and the stiffener layer is a second metal.
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Description

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates to disk drives and suspensions for disk drives. In particular, the invention is a dual stage actuation (DSA) suspension having a motor with a plated stiffener.

BACKGROUND

Dual stage actuation (DSA) disk drive head suspensions and disk drives incorporating DSA suspensions are generally known and commercially available. For example, DSA suspensions having an actuation structure on the baseplate or other mounting portion of the suspension, i.e., proximal to the spring or hinge region of the suspension, are described in U.S. Patent Publication No. 2010/0067151 to Okawara, U.S. Patent Publication No. 2012/0002329 to Shum, U.S. Patent Publication No. 2011/0242708 to Fuchino, and U.S. Pat. No. 5,714,444 to Imamura. DSA suspensions having actuation structures located on the loadbeam or gimbal portions of the suspension, i.e., distal to the spring or hinge region, are also known and disclosed, for example, in U.S. Pat. No. 5,657,188 to Jurgenson, U.S. Pat. No. 7,256,968 to Krinke, and U.S. Patent Publication No. 2008/0144225 to Yao. Co-located gimbal-based DSA suspensions are disclosed U.S. Pat. No. 8,681,456 to Miller, U.S. Pat. No. 8,891,206 to Miller, and U.S. Patent Publication No. 2014/0098440 to Miller. Each of the above-identified patents and patent applications is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety for all purposes.

There remains a continuing need for improved performance of DSA suspensions.

SUMMARY

Various embodiments concern a gimbaled flexure having a dual stage actuation structure. The flexure comprises a gimbal on which a motor is mounted. The motor comprises a first terminal, a second terminal, a first major broad side, and a second major broad side opposite the first major broad side. The first and second terminals comprise first and second conductive layers, respectively, formed from a first metal. The motor further comprises one or more layers of piezoelectric material located between the first major broad side and the second major broad side. The motor further comprises a metal stiffener disposed directly on the first terminal along the first major broad side, the stiffener comprising a second layer of a second metal. The one or more layers of piezoelectric material are configured to one or both of expand or contract upon application of a differential signal across the first and second terminals. The stiffener causes the motor to curl upon electrical activation of the piezoelectric material, which causes a portion of the flexure to preferentially curl. The motor comprises a first long side, a second long side opposite the first long side, a first end side, a second end side opposite the first end side. The stiffener is only located on the first major broad side of the motor and is not located on any of the second major broad side, the first long side, the second long side, the first end side, or the second end side. The stiffener may have a length and width to extend to one, several, or all of each of the first long side, the second long side, the first end side, and the second end side or the edge of the stiffener may be receded from such side. The first and second conductive layers can be formed from gold sputtered on the piezoelectric material. The stiffener can be plated on the gold of the first conductive layer.

Further features and modifications of the various embodiments are further discussed herein and shown in the drawings. While multiple embodiments are disclosed, still other embodiments of the present disclosure will become apparent to those skilled in the art from the following detailed description, which shows and describes illustrative embodiments of this disclosure. Accordingly, the drawings and detailed description are to be regarded as illustrative in nature and not restrictive.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the loadbeam side of a suspension having a flexure with a dual stage actuation (DSA) structure.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the flexure side (i.e., the side opposite that shown in FIG. 1) of the distal end of the suspension shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the stainless steel side of the distal end of a flexure with parts of the suspension removed from view to highlight the DSA structure having a motor.

FIG. 4 shows the same view of FIG. 3 but with the motor articulating the DSA structure in a first direction.

FIG. 5 shows the same view of FIGS. 3 and 4 but with the motor articulating the DSA structure in a second direction.

FIG. 6 is a detailed view of the motor of FIG. 3.

FIG. 7 is another detailed view of the motor of FIG. 3 but from a different perspective than the view of FIG. 6.

FIG. 8 is a cross sectional view of the motor of FIG. 3.

FIG. 9 shows the same cross sectional view of FIG. 8 but while the motor is activated to generally expand laterally.

FIG. 10 shows the same cross sectional view of FIG. 8 but while the motor is activated to generally contract laterally.

FIG. 11 is a detailed view of a motor having a stiffener.

FIG. 12 is a detailed view of a motor having a stiffener.

While multiple embodiments are disclosed, still other embodiments within the scope of the present disclosure will become apparent to those skilled in the art from the following detailed description, which shows and describes illustrative embodiments. Accordingly, the drawings and detailed description are to be regarded as illustrative in nature and not restrictive.

DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the loadbeam side of a suspension 2 having a flexure 4 with a co-located or gimbal-based dual stage actuation (DSA) structure. As shown in FIG. 1, the suspension 2 includes a baseplate 6 as a proximal mounting structure. The suspension 2 includes a loadbeam 8 having a rigid or beam region 10 coupled to the baseplate 6 along a spring or hinge region 12. The loadbeam 8 can be formed from stainless steel. The flexure 4 includes a gimbal 14 at the distal end of the flexure 4. A DSA structure 16 is located on the gimbal 14, adjacent the distal end of the loadbeam 8. Proximal and distal, as used herein, refers to the relative direction along the longitudinal axis of the suspension 2. For example, the baseplate 6 is proximal of the loadbeam 8. An axes key 13 indicates X, Y, and Z axes in FIG. 1 and in subsequent FIGS. The suspension 2 is generally elongated along the X axis in distal and proximal directions. The Y axis represents lateral left and right directions. The suspension 2, including the flexure 4, are generally co-planar with an X-Y plane defined by the X and Y axes. The Z axis represents height as well as bottom and top orientations.

FIG. 2 is a detailed perspective view of the flexure side of the distal end of the suspension 2. FIG. 2 shows the opposite side of the suspension 2 relative to FIG. 1. A head slider 18 is mounted to a tongue 20 of the gimbal 14, on the side of the suspension 2 that is opposite the loadbeam 8. The slider 18 is mounted to a slider mounting of the tongue 20. The slider mounting is a surface of the tongue 20 to which the slider 18 (or component to which the slider 18 is attached) can be attached, such as with an adhesive such as epoxy. It will be understood that the slider 18 can be attached to a different portion of the gimbal 14. FIG. 2 further shows a motor 22 mounted on the gimbal 14.

The flexure 4 is composed of several layers, as is known in the art. The flexure 4 includes a stainless steel layer 24. The stainless steel layer 24 can serve as a structural backbone to the flexure 4. Metals other than stainless steel can be used. The stainless steel layer 24 can include spring arms 30. The stainless steel layer 24 can further include a tongue 20. The tongue 20 can be supported by the spring arms 30. For example, struts formed from the stainless steel layer 24 can bridge between the pair of spring arms 30 and the tongue 20 located there between.

The flexure 4 includes a trace portion 26. The trace portion 26 can be located partially on the stainless steel layer 24 and can extend off of the stainless steel layer 24 at various locations, such as in a flying lead segment. The trace portion 26 can comprise a plurality of traces 28 insulated by one or more dielectric layers 25. The traces 28 can be formed from copper or another conductive material. The dielectric layers 35 can be formed from polyimide or another polymer. The traces 28 can electrically connect proximally with control circuitry of a disk drive as in known in the art. The traces 28 can electrically connect distally to various components, such as the motor 22. The slider 18 can be electrically connected with one or more of the traces 28 for transmitting read and write signals along the suspension 2.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the stainless steel side of the distal end of a flexure 4 with parts of the suspension 2 removed from view to highlight the DSA structure 16. The DSA structure 16 includes the motor 22 mounted to the gimbal 14 of the flexure 4 between the loadbeam 8 (not shown in FIG. 3) and the head slider 18. As described in greater detail below, in response to electrical differential signals applied to the motor 22, the motor 22 drives portions of the gimbal 14, including the tongue 20 and slider 18, about a generally transverse tracking axis.

The connectors 34 attach the motor 22 to the flexure 4. Specifically, the pair of connectors 34 connect the lateral ends of the motor 22 to terminal pads 32 respectively located on the pair of spring arms 30. Lateral, as used herein, refers to the left and/or right directions orthogonal to the longitudinal axis of the suspension 2. The terminal pads 32 can be formed from metal (e.g., copper) and are exposed though the dielectric layer 25 of the flexure 4 to provide access for connectors 34 to make electrical connections with the traces 28. The connectors 34 can connect with respective anode and cathode terminals of the motor 22. Connectors 34 also mechanically support the motor 22 on the flexure 4. The connectors 34 can comprise solder, conductive epoxy (e.g., silver filled), or other material for forming an electrode connection.

The motor 22 includes a first major broad side 36 which, in this embodiment, represents a top side of the motor 22 facing away from the flexure 4. The motor 22 includes a stiffener 40 defining part of the first major broad side 36. The stiffener 40 can alternatively be located on the bottom side of the motor 22, facing toward the flexure 4. The stiffener 40 is a metal element. The stiffener 40 can be deposited on the motor 22 by being plated directly onto another layer of the motor 22. The structure, function, and other aspects of the stiffener 40 are further discussed herein.

In FIG. 3, the motor 22 is in a neutral, undriven state in which no tracking differential signal is applied to the motor 22. It is noted that each of the motor 22 and stiffener 40 in FIG. 3 have respective planar profiles that are parallel with the X-Y plane. While the thickness of the motor 22 is measured along the Z axis, the profile of the motor 22 is essentially entirely along the X-Y plane when in the neutral, undriven state. Rotation of the tongue 20 by actuation of the motor 22 rotates the slider mounting, and thereby the slider 18, about a tracking axis, as demonstrated in FIGS. 4 and 5 and further discussed herein.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the flexure 4 when the motor 22 is electrically activated to expand. In FIG. 4, a first differential signal is applied across the motor 22 via the traces 28 and connectors 34. The first differential signal (e.g., having a first polarity) causes the shape of the motor 22 to change. More specifically, the length of the motor 22 generally expands. The expansion of the motor 22 mechanically causes the tongue 20, and the slider 18 mounted thereon, to deflect in a first direction about an axis of rotation. The axis of rotation is generally parallel with the Z axis. As shown, the motor 22 exhibits some out-of-plane motion along the Z axis upon the application of the first differential signal. More specifically, the motor 22 curls away from the flexure 4 when the motor 22 expands such that the lateral ends of the motor 22 move away from the slider 18 and the stainless steel layer 24 relative to the middle of the motor 22. The curling motion of the motor 22 means that the motor 22 is bending out of an X-Y plane with which the motor 22 is flat when the motor 22 is undriven (e.g., in FIG. 3). The curling profile is achieved, at least in part, by the stiffener 40 as further discussed herein.

FIG. 5 is the same perspective view of the flexure 4 as FIG. 4 except that in FIG. 5 the motor 22 is electrically activated to generally contract. The contraction is caused by application of a second differential signal (e.g., having a second polarity opposite the first polarity) across the motor 22 via the traces 28 and connectors 34. The contraction of the motor 22 mechanically causes the tongue 20, and the slider 18 mounted thereon, to deflect in a second direction about the axis of rotation, the second direction opposite the first direction. As shown, the motor 22 exhibits some out-of-plane motion along the Z axis upon the application of the second differential signal. More specifically, the motor 22 curls toward the flexure 4 during contraction such that the lateral ends of the motor 22 move toward the slider 18 and the stainless steel layer 24 relative to the middle of the motor 22 which moves away from the slider 18 and the stainless steel layer 24. The curling of the motor 22 causes the flexure 4 to curl in the same manner. This curling of the flexure 4 can be advantageous because the curling causes more total motion in the flexure 4. Such motion can be converted into rotation of the slider 18, which provides greater total stroke for articulation of the DSA structure 16. Out-of-plane Z-axis motion (curling) and in plane X or Y motion (stretching/contracting) of the motor 22 can both be used to move the flexure 4 and rotate the slider 18. There are various motor configurations that can support the curling profiles of FIGS. 4 and 5, as further discussed herein.

FIG. 6 is a detailed perspective view of the motor 22. A first major broad side 36 of the motor 22 is shown in FIG. 6. FIG. 7 is a detailed perspective view of the motor 22 showing the second major broad side 38 of the motor 22, the second major broad side 38 opposite the first major broad side 36. FIG. 8 is a cross-sectional view of the motor 22 which further shows connectors 34 and terminal pads 32.

Referring to FIGS. 6-8, the motor 22 generally includes a first long side 42, a second long side 44 opposite the first long side 42, a first end side 46, and a second end side 48 opposite the first end side 46. Each of the first and second long sides 42, 44 of the motor 22 can represent the length (measured along the y axis) of the motor 22 which is generally the longest dimension of the motor 22. For example, the first and second long sides 42, 44 are longer than the first and second end sides 46, 48. The motor 22 includes a first terminal 50 and a second terminal 52. The first and second terminals 50, 52 can be formed from gold, copper, and/or other highly conductive material. The first terminal 50 can extend along a majority of the first major broad side 36. The first terminal 50 can extend along some or all of the first end side 46. The first terminal 50 can extend along a majority of the second major broad side 38. The second terminal 52 can extend along at least part of the second major broad side 38. The second terminal 52 can extend along at least part of the second end side 48. The first terminal 50 can be electrically connected to one side of a circuit of the flexure 4 while the second terminal 52 can be connected to the other side of the circuit, such that an electric potential can be applied across the motor 22, causing current to flow through the motor 22. It will be understood that the first terminal 50 and the second terminal 52 can reversibly serve as either anode or cathode.

The motor 22 is comprised of multiple layers. The motor 22 includes piezoelectric material 60. The piezoelectric material 60 can comprise lead titanate or various other materials that exhibit piezoelectric movement when subjected to an electric potential. The piezoelectric material 60 is divided into a plurality of actuator layers. The plurality of actuator layers includes a first actuator layer 71 and a second actuator layer 72. The plurality of piezoelectric layers are in a stacked arrangement. For example, the first actuator layer 71 is adjacent to the second actuator layer 72. In some embodiments, the motor22 can be limited to the first and second actuator layers 71, 72 and may not include any more actuator layers formed from piezoelectric material 60. Various other embodiments can include only one actuator layer or more than two actuator layers, such as three, four, five, or more actuator layers.

The motor 22 further comprises a plurality of conductive layers. The plurality of conductive layers can be formed from conductive metal, such as gold or copper. The plurality of conductive layers includes a first conductive layer 74. The first conductive layer 74 defines part of the first major broad side 36 of the motor 22. The first conductive layer 74 forms part of the first terminal 50 of the motor 22. The plurality of conductive layers further comprises a second conductive layer 75. The second conductive layer 75 is sandwiched between the first and second actuator layers 71, 72. The second conductive layer 75 can form part or all of the second terminal 52. The second conductive layer 75 can define part of the second end side 48. The plurality of conductive layers further comprises a third conductive layer 76. As shown, the first conductive layer 74 can be continuous with the third conductive layer 76. The third conductive layer 76 defines part of the second major broad side 38 of the motor 22. It is noted that the first and third conductive layers 74, 76 can serve as top and bottom conductive layers, respectively. The plurality of conductive layers can be sputtered on the piezoelectric material 60.

The stiffener 40 includes a top side 81 and a bottom side 82 opposite the top side 81. The top side 81 can form a plane that is parallel with the X-Y plane. As such, part of, or the whole of, the top side 81 can be flat, or substantially flat. The top side 81 can extend across and define some, a majority, or all of the first major broad side 36 of the motor 22. The bottom side 82 of the stiffener 40 can be coextensive with the topside 81.

In the embodiment of FIGS. 6-8, the topside 81 of the stiffener 40 is free from contact with any other elements of the suspension 2. The bottom side 82 of the stiffener 40 is in contact with the top side of the first conductive layer 74. The bottom side of the first conductive layer 74 is in contact with the top side of the first actuator layer 71. The bottom side of the first actuator layer 71 is in contact with the top side of the second conductive layer 75. The bottom side of the second conductive layer 75 is in contact with the top side of the second actuator layer 72. The bottom side of the second actuator layer 72 is in contact with the top side of the third conductive layer 76. The bottom side of the third conductive layer 76 is, in part, exposed on the second major broad side 38 of the motor 22. It is noted that the stiffener 40, or other stiffener referenced herein, can be disposed on the bottom side of the third conductive layer 76 (or other bottom conductive layer) instead of, or in addition to, being disposed on the top side of the motor 22. As shown in FIG. 8, the connectors 34 can contact and attach to the second major broad side 38 as well as the first and second end sides 46, 48 of the motor 22.

Each of the first and second long sides 83, 84 of the stiffener 40 can represent the length (measured along the y axis) of the stiffener 40 which is generally the longest dimension of the stiffener 40 and can extend the full length of the stiffener 40. Each of the first and second long sides 83, 84 can be orientated orthogonal to the topside 81 and the bottom side 82. Each of the first and second long sides 83, 84 can form respective planes that are parallel with each other and the Y-Z plane. The stiffener 40 includes a first end side 85 and a second end side 86 opposite the first end side 85. Each of the first and second end sides 85, 86 can represent the width (measured along the x axis) of the stiffener 40 and can extend the full width of the stiffener 40. The width of the stiffener 40 is generally shorter than the length of the stiffener 40. Each of the first and second end sides 85, 86 can be orientated orthogonal to the topside 81, the bottom side 82, the first long side 83, and the second long side 84. Each of the first and second end sides 85, 86 can form respective planes that are parallel with each other and the X-Z plane. In the embodiment of FIGS. 6-8, one, some, or all of the topside 81, the first long side 83, the second long side 84, the first end side 85, and the second end side 86 of the stiffener 40 is free from contact with any other elements of the suspension 2. As such, each of the topside 81, the first long side 83, the second long side 84, the first end side 85, and the second end side 86 of the stiffener 40 can be fully exposed.

The width (along the X axis) of the stiffener 40 in FIGS. 6-8 is equal to the width of the motor 22 as a whole. Therefore, the first long side 83 can be aligned (e.g., flush) with the first long side 42 of the motor 22 and the second long side 84 can be aligned with the second long side 44 of the motor 22. In some other embodiments, the width and/or length of the stiffener 40 can be less than the width or length of the rest of the motor 22 (e.g., less than the width or length of the conductive layers and activator layers of the piezoelectric material 60).

As shown in FIGS. 6-8, the stiffener 40 can be raised from the rest of the motor 22. For example, the stiffener 40 is raised on the first major broad side 36 relative to the piezoelectric material 60 and the first conductive layer 74. The thickness of the stiffener 40 can be measured (e.g., along the z axis) as the distance from the top side 81 to the bottom side 82 or the first conductive layer 74. The thickness of the stiffener 40 can correspond to the width of any of the first long side 83, the second side 84, the first end side 85, and the second end side 86. The thickness of the stiffener 40 can be 25 micrometers, for example. In some embodiments, the thickness of the stiffener 40 is equal to the thickness (e.g., measured along the z axis) of the first and second actuator layers 71, 72, respectively.

In some embodiments, the motor 22 can be understood to have a stiffener portion composed of the stiffener 40 and not include any piezoelectric material 60. The motor 22 can further be understood to have an actuator portion composed of the piezoelectric material 60 and the plurality of conductive layers (e.g., first, second, and third conductive layers 74-76). The actuator portion may not include any of the stiffener 40 or, alternatively, any of the same metal used to form the stiffener 40. The stiffener portion can be mounted on the actuator portion. The stiffener portion can be wholly above, or alternatively wholly below, the actuator portion. The first long side 83, the second long side 84, the first end side 85, and the second end side 86 can represent the sides of the stiffener portion while the first long side 42, the second long side 44, the first end side 46, and the second end side 48 can represent the sides of the activator portion. As shown, the first long side 83 extends parallel with the first long side 42, the second long side 84 extends parallel with the second long side 44, the first end side 85 extends parallel with the first end side 46, and the second end side 86 extends parallel with the second end side 48.

The stiffener 40 can be formed by being plated directly onto the first conductive layer 74, such as by vapor deposition, sputter deposition, and/or as a liquid plating solution. The first conductive layer 74 and the stiffener 40 can be formed from different types of metals. For example, the first conductive layer 74 can be formed from copper or gold. Copper and gold can be preferred for the first conductive layer 74 and other conductive layers because of the highly conductive properties of these metals. The stiffener 40 is not used as an electrical conductor, and indeed no current may flow through the stiffener 40 in same cases because the stiffener 40 is not connected to any other parts except for the first conductive layer 74 and such that stiffener 40 does not electrically bridge between different conductive elements. As such, less conductive material may be used to form the stiffener 40 relative to the metal used to form the first conductive layer 74. The stiffener 40 may be formed from a metal that is stiffer (having a higher elastic modulus) than the first conductive layer 74. In some embodiments, the stiffener 40 is formed from pure nickel. Being that the stiffener 40 can be plated directly onto the top side of the first conductive layer 74, the stiffener 40 is bonded to the first conductive layer 74 and thereby attached to the rest of the motor 22. Furthermore, being that the stiffener 40 is plated on the top side of the first conductive layer 74, there may not be any other material between the stiffener 40 and the first conductive layer 74 such as an adhesive (e.g., no epoxy or polymer) or other material. While the stiffener 40 is shown as disposed on the top side of the first conductive layer 74, the stiffener 40 may additionally or alternatively be disposed on the first actuator layer 71 or the stiffener 40 may additionally or alternatively be disposed on another metal layer (not illustrated) of the motor 22.

Each of the first and second conductive layers 74, 75 can be thinner than the stiffener 40. For example, each of the first and second conductive layers 74, 75 can be about five, ten, or more times thinner than the stiffener 40. Each of the first and second conductive layers 74, 75 can be equal in thickness to each other. In some configurations, each of the first and second conductive layers 74, 75 does not materially contribute to the stiffness of the motor 22. Therefore, the mechanics of the motor 22, such as the bending profile of the motor 22, can be based on the piezoelectric material 60 and the stiffener 40 but not on the first and second conductive layers 74, 75.

A differential signal applied across the first and second terminals 50, 52 causes current to flow through the piezoelectric material 60. The first and second actuator layers 71, 72 are electrically in parallel between the first and second terminals 50, 52 such that, in some configurations, approximately equal electric potentials will be developed across the first and second actuator layers 71, 72 and approximately equal levels of current will flow through the first and second actuator layers 71, 72. The flow of current through the piezoelectric material 60 causes the first and second actuator layers 71, 72 to expand and/or contract. For example, both of the first and second actuator layers 71, 72 can be poled so as to expand or contract together, or alternatively can be poled such that one of the actuator layers expands while the other contacts in response to the differential signal.

FIG. 9 is the same cross-sectional view as shown in FIG. 8, but during electrical activation of the motor 22. As shown in FIG. 9, the motor 22 generally contracts upon activation. During this activation, one or both of the first and second actuator layers, 71, 72 are activated to contract laterally (i.e. along the y-axis). In some embodiments, both of the first and second actuator layers 71, 72 contract while in some other embodiments only one actuator layer contracts. The stiffener 40 does not have piezoelectric properties, and therefore may not expand or contract upon electrical activation of the piezoelectric material 60. The length of the stiffener 40 (e.g., measured along the y-axis) does not change upon activation of the motor 22 and therefore the stiffener 40 resists the shortening of the motor 22. The general lateral contraction of the piezoelectric material 60 and the consistent length of the stiffener 40 causes a disparity of motion within the layers of the motor 22. The layers of the motor 22 are held together such that the motor 22 bends out of the X-Y plane, specifically along the z axis, to accommodate the disparity in motion. Being that the stiffener 40 is on the first major broad side 36 of the motor 22 (e.g., on the topside), this side of the motor 22 is more resistant to contraction relative to the second major broad side 38 of the motor 22 (e.g., the bottom side). Therefore, the contracting motor 22 curls away from the first major broad side 36 and the stiffener 40, and curls toward and around second major broad side 38. The motion shown in FIG. 9 can correspond to the motion shown in FIG. 5

FIG. 10 is the same cross-sectional view as shown in FIG. 9, but during electrical activation of the motor 22 which causes a general lengthening of the motor 22. During this activation, one or both of the first and second actuator layers, 71, 72 are activated to expand laterally (i.e. along the y-axis). In some embodiments, both of the first and second actuator layers 71, 72 expand while in some other embodiments only one actuator layer expands. The stiffener 40 does not have piezoelectric properties, and therefore may not expand or contract upon electrical activation of the piezoelectric material 60. The length of the stiffener 40 (e.g., measured along the y-axis) does not change upon activation of the motor 22 and therefore the stiffener 40 resists the lengthening of the motor 22. The general lateral lengthening of the piezoelectric material 60 and the consistent length of the stiffener 40 causes a disparity of motion within the layers of the motor 22. The layers of the motor 22 are held together such that the motor 22 bends out of the X-Y plane, specifically along the z axis, to accommodate the disparity in motion. Being that the stiffener 40 is on the first major broad side 36 of the motor 22 (e.g., on the topside), this side of the motor 22 is more resistant to expansion relative to the second major broad side 38 of the motor 22 (e.g., the bottom side). Therefore, the lengthening motor 22 curls toward and around the first major broad side 36 and the stiffener 40, and curls away from the second major broad side 38. The motion shown in FIG. 10 can correspond to the motion shown in FIG. 4.

In performance testing conducted by the inventors, a motor having a plated stiffener similar to that shown in FIGS. 3-6 exhibited superior stoke performance relative to a standard five layer motor that did not include a plated stiffener. More specifically, the motor having the plated stiffener was tested to have a 25.1 nanometer/volt stroke while the standard five layer motor was tested to have a 13.6 nanometer/volt stroke.

FIG. 11 is a detailed perspective view of a motor 122 having an alternative configuration to the embodiments previously discussed. The motor 122 can be mounted on various flexures, such as that shown in FIGS. 1-5 or any other flexure referenced herein. The motor 122 can be structurally and functionally identical to any motor referenced herein, including motor 22, except where stated or shown to be different. The motor 122 generally includes first long side 142, a second long side 144 opposite the first long side 142, a first end side 146, and a second end side 148 opposite the first end side 146. The motor 122 includes a first terminal 150 and a second terminal 152. The motor 122 includes a piezoelectric material 160. The piezoelectric material 160 includes first and second actuator layers 171, 172. The motor 122 further comprises a first, second, and third conductive layers 174-176. The first conductive layer 174 defines part of the first major broad side 136 of the motor 122 while the third conductive layer 176 defines part of the second major broad side 138 of the motor 122 opposite the first major broad side 136.

The motor 122 comprises a stiffener 140. The stiffener 140 can be structurally and functionally identical to any stiffener referenced herein, including stiffener 40, except were stated or shown to be different. The stiffener 140 includes a first long side 183, a second long side 184 opposite the first long side 83, a first end side 185, and a second end side 186 opposite the first end side 185.

The stiffener 140 forms the whole top of the motor 122, or more specifically, defines the entirety of the first major broad side 136. For example, a first long side 183 of the stiffener 40 extends at least to the first long side 142 of the motor 122. For example, the first long side 183 of the stiffener 140 can be aligned (e.g., flush) with the first long side 142 of the motor 122. A second long side 184 of the stiffener 140 extends at least to the second long side 144 of the motor 122. For example, the second long side 184 of the stiffener 140 can be aligned (e.g., flush) with the second long side 144 of the motor 122. A first end side 185 of the stiffener 140 extends at least to the first end side 146 of the motor 122. For example, the first end side 185 of the stiffener 140 can be aligned (e.g., flush) with the first end side 146 of the motor 122. A second end side 186 of the stiffener 140 extends at least to the second end side 148 of the motor 122. For example, the second end side 186 of the stiffener 140 can be aligned (e.g., flush) with the second end side 148 of the motor 122. The first conductive layer 174 can be coextensive with the stiffener 140.

FIG. 12 is a detailed perspective view of a motor 222 having an alternative configuration to the embodiments previously discussed. The motor 222 can be mounted on various flexures, such as that shown in FIGS. 1-5 or any other flexure referenced herein. The motor 222 can be structurally and functionally identical to any motor referenced herein, including motor 22, except where stated or shown to be different. The motor 222 generally includes first long side 242, a second long side 244 opposite the first long side 242, a first end side 246, and a second end side 248 opposite the first end side 246.

The motor 222 includes a first terminal 250 and a second terminal 252. The motor 222 further comprises a top conductive layer 274 and a bottom conductive layer 276. The top and bottom conductive layers 274, 276 can form the first and second terminals 250, 252, respectively. The top conductive layer 274 defines part of the first major broad side 236 of the motor 222 while the bottom conductive layer 276 defines part of the second major broad side 238 of the motor 222 opposite the first major broad side 236.

The motor 222 includes a piezoelectric material 260. The piezoelectric material 260 is located between the top and bottom conductive layers 274, 276. The piezoelectric material 260 is formed into a single layer. While motors with multiple layers of piezoelectric material are shown elsewhere herein, FIG. 12 demonstrates that the multiple layers of piezoelectric material in other embodiments can be replaced with a single layer of piezoelectric material, and thus any suspension, flexure, and/or stiffener can be used with a motor having only a single layer of piezoelectric material.

The motor 222 comprises a stiffener 240. The stiffener 240 can be structurally and functionally identical to any stiffener referenced herein, including stiffeners 40 and 140, except were stated or shown to be different. The stiffener 240 includes a first long side 283, a second long side 284 opposite the first long side 283, a first end side 285, and a second end side 286 opposite the first end side 285.

The stiffener 240 forms part of the top of the motor 222. Each of the sides 283-286 of the stiffener 240 are recessed from the sides 242, 244, 246, 248 of the rest of the motor 222, respectively. For example, a first long side 283 of the stiffener 240 is recessed from the first long side 242 of the motor 222 to form a first shelf 290. The second long side 284 of the stiffener 240 is recessed from the second long side 244 of the motor 222 to form a second shelf 291. The first end side 285 of the stiffener 240 is recessed from the first end side 246 of the motor 222 to form third shelf 292. The second end side 286 of the stiffener 240 is recessed from the second end side 248 of the motor 222 to form fourth shelf 293.

It is noted that similar names and/or reference numbers for elements used herein can imply that the elements can be similarly constructed. For the sake of brevity, various aspects of construction, such as material types and construction process steps, are not repeated for each embodiment. It will be understood, however, that the teachings provided herein in connection with any embodiment can be applied to any other embodiment.

Although the present invention has been described with reference to preferred embodiments, those skilled in the art will recognize that changes can be made in form and detail without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. For example, although described in connection with certain co-located DSA structures, motors and associated features described herein can be used in connection with other DSA structures, including other co-located DSA structures and/or non-co-located DSA structures, with as with baseplate 6 or loadbeam 8 mounted motors. While various combinations of stiffeners and types of actuator portions of motors are presented herein, it will be understood that any stiffener referenced herein can be connected to any type of actuator portion of the motors referenced herein. Furthermore, the stiffener aspects disclosed herein can be used with virtually any type of DSA motor. As such, the present disclosure is not limited to the particular embodiments presented herein.

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11.0/100 Score

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It takes the R&D behavior of the company itself into account that results in IP. During the invention phase, larger companies are considered to assign a higher R&D budget on a certain technology field, these companies have a better influence on their market, on what is marketable and what might lead to a standard.

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Citation

Patents Cited in This Cited by
Title Current Assignee Application Date Publication Date
フレクシャ及びその製造方法ならびにそれに用いるフレクシャ用基板 凸版印刷株式会社 25 August 2000 27 July 2001
記録/再生ヘッド支持機構および記録/再生装置 TDK CORP 12 November 1999 30 March 2001
フレキシブルプリント回路のジャンパー部品、ジャンパー構造及び短絡方法 FUJIKURA LTD 01 December 2000 14 June 2002
布线构造及其形成方法和印刷布线板 TDK株式会社 28 February 2008 03 September 2008
ディスク装置用サスペンション 株式会社日立グローバルストレージテクノロジーズ,日本発条株式会社 07 March 2001 15 February 2002
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US10002628 Piezoelectric motors stiffener 1 US10002628 Piezoelectric motors stiffener 2 US10002628 Piezoelectric motors stiffener 3