Feb 17, 1998
Quinta just last summer announced its development efforts in a next generation storage solution called Optically Assisted Winchester (OAW) technology. Today the company disclosed key elements of that technology. These include an advanced light delivery system, unique head design, a micromachined (MEMS) fine servo system, and a new generation of storage media.
The technology was announced at a press conference held at Quinta's advanced Optical Technology Development Center in San Jose, Calif. The event was hosted by Seagate Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Alan Shugart and Quinta President and Chief Executive Officer Steve Kitrosser.
"Optically Assisted Winchester technology offers an exciting new growth path for the information storage industry," Shugart said. "In a short period of time, Quinta has made substantial technological and organizational progress toward bringing this technology to market. With its world-class engineering and scientific team and new advanced Optical Technology Development Center, Quinta is helping to usher in a new era for information technology."
"Quinta's technology is designed to ensure that the Winchester format will continue to meet the needs of customers well into the 21st Century and beyond the superparamagnetic limit," Kitrosser added.
The superparamagnetic limit, believed to be between 20 and 40 G/bits per square inch, is the point at which traditional hard disc media can no longer hold a stable domain. Quinta expects its technology to exceed those areal densities sometime early in the next decade.
Not only may Quinta's technology potentially achieve areal densities much higher than today's hard disc drives, but OAW technology may also be utilized in multi-platter fixed drives or removable drives.
Quinta's OAW technology integrates optical, magnetic and telecommunications technologies for the first time in the disc drive industry to build a new class of high capacity, cost effective disc drive storage devices. Quinta revealed four key subsystems which are integrated into the OAW system including the following:
Advanced Light Delivery System
Quinta's Advanced Light Delivery System delivers a laser-based light network that is ultimately used to highlight data on the media surface. The Optical Switch Module is responsible for generating light pulses and switching their destination between the actuator arms within as little as 1 msec. A network of fiber optics spans the drives' actuator arms. Not much thicker than a human hair, these fiber optics carry the light pulses from the optical switching module out to the read/write head.
Unique Head Design
A unique Head Design integrates advanced magnetic head technology with micro-optic lenses that focus the fibre optics' light pulses onto the media surface. Less than 350 microns in diameter, these lenses are several times smaller than anything ever before created, and are able to focus laser light sharply on the media surface while also providing a large margin of error to account for potential fly height variances.
Micro-machined (MEMS) mirrors, each smaller than the head of the pin, reside at the end of the actuator arm and reflect light through the objective lens from the fibre optics running along the actuator arm. By sending an electrical current through it, the mirror rotates, and thus shifts the destination of the light projection on the media surface. This allows very minute adjustments between tracks on the media surface without any movement of the actuator arm. With this servo system, track densities exceeding 100,000 tracks per inch are believed to be reasonably attainable.
The media construction for the OAW system is very similar to traditional Winchester media. However, the substrate may be made of plastic, which is lighter and less expensive than aluminum substrates used traditionally in Winchester drives. Also by using a plastic substrate, the OAW media may be pre-formatted to include a servo pattern. The magnetic layer structure used for OAW consists of amorphous rare earth transition metals, which support theoretical areal densities much higher than that of conventional Winchester magnetic recording media. This type of media is not subject to the superparamagnetic limit of conventional Winchester magnetic recording media because of the amorphous nature of the magnetic layers rather then the crystalline structure of conventional media, and the use of vertical recording rather than longitudinal recording.
Overall, OAW technology is a robust, reliable and practical technology that promises a new areal density growth path for the next century.
Quinta Corporation is the leading developer of advanced data storage technologies. Based out of San Jose, California, Quinta has established its Optical Technology Development Center, a state-of-the-art research and development facility equipped with a pilot production manufacturing line. With over 150 employees that have over 2,000 years of data storage experience combined in magnetic recording, photonics, microelectromechanical systems, and other key technologies, Quinta is the premiere technology company in the data storage industry.
Seagate Technology, Inc. is a leading data technology company providing products for storing, managing and accessing digital information. Seagate develops and manufactures some of the industry's most advanced information technology, including disc and tape storage devices, magnetic recording heads and media, precision motors, microelectronics, and data access and management software. With over $8 billion in revenue, operations in 22 countries and approximately 90,000 employees worldwide, the Scotts Valley, CA-based company is the world's largest manufacture of disc drives and related components and one of the globe's largest industrial corporations. Seagate's home page address on the World Wide Web is http://www.seagate.com.
Certain statements in this communication are forward looking statements that involve a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from the future results expressed or implied by such forward looking statements. Such risk factors include, among others, the following: the uncertainties related to the development and introduction of products based upon new technologies, including the technological and economic viability of the OAW technology and related subsystems, manufacturing ramp and customer acceptance; the highly competitive nature of Seagate's industry and the rapid technological change within Seagate's industry; the uncertainty of patent and proprietary technology protection and the risks associated with litigation regarding the patents and other intellectual property rights; the importance of retention and attraction of key technical and other employees; general economic and business conditions; and other factors listed from time to time in Seagate's SEC reports.
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