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Proceedings Paper

Magnetic Bearings For A High-Performance Optical Disk Buffer
Author(s): Richard Hockney; James Downer; David Eisenhaure; Timothy Hawkey; Bruce Johnson
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Paper Abstract

The application of magnetic bearing technology to both the read/write head and rotary spindle of an optical disk buffer will allow its use in a spacecraft environment. An optical disk buffer concept can provide gigabit-per-second data rates and terabit capacity through the use of arrays of solid state lasers applied to a stack of erasable/reusable optical disks. The disks are fixed to a common shaft and each disk surface is served by an independent electro-optic module for recording, playback, and erasure of data. A magneto-optic technique is used to implement the record/erase cycle. The RCA optical disk buffer has evoked interest by NASA for space applications. The porous graphite air bearings in the rotary spindle as well as those used in the linear translation of the read/write head would be replaced by magnetic bearings or mechanical (ball or roller) bearings. Based upon past experience, roller or ball bearings for the translation stages are not feasible. Unsatisfactory, although limited, experience exists with ball bearing spindles also. Magnetic bearings, however, appear ideally suited for both applications. The use of magnetic bearings is advantageous in the optical disk buffer because of the absence of physical contact between the rotating and stationary members. This frictionless operation leads to extended life and reduced drag. The manufacturing tolerances that are required to fabricate magnetic bearings would also be relaxed from those required for precision ball and gas bearings. Since magnetic bearings require no lubricant, they are inherently compatible with a space (vacuum) environment. Magnetic bearings also allow the dynamics of the rotor/bearing system to be altered through the use of active control. This provides the potential for reduced vibration, extended regions of stable operation, and more precise control of position.

Paper Details

Date Published: 2 June 1988
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 0899, Optical Storage Technology and Applications, (2 June 1988); doi: 10.1117/12.944603
Show Author Affiliations
Richard Hockney, SatCon Technology Corporation (United States)
James Downer, SatCon Technology Corporation (United States)
David Eisenhaure, SatCon Technology Corporation (United States)
Timothy Hawkey, SatCon Technology Corporation (United States)
Bruce Johnson, SatCon Technology Corporation (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 0899:
Optical Storage Technology and Applications
Donald B. Carlin; Albert A. Jamberdino; Yoshito Tsunoda, Editor(s)

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