PDL Abstract

MEMS Memory Elements

Non-Volatile Memory Technology Symposium, November 2001, San Diego, CA.

L. Richard Carley, Rany Tawfik El-Sayed, David F. Guillou, Fernando Alfaro, Gary K. Fedder, Stephen Schlosser, David Nagle, Gregory R. Ganger, James Bain

Electrical and Computer Engineering
Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, PA 15213


This paper presents a design example that illustrates the potential of microelectro mechanical systems (MEMS) to perform the mechanical positioning required for addressing stored data and to enable an entirely new mechanism for reading and writing magnetic data. Specifically, MEMS sensors and actuators can be used to achieve active servo control of the separation between magnetic probe tips and a media surface with sub-nanometer accuracy. This allows mechanical position to be used to selectively write magnetic marks in a continuous thin-film magnetic media. In addition, MEMS sensors can be used to measure the separation between a magnetic probe tip and the media with a noise floor of roughly 22 picometers, allowing them to be used as position sensors in a magnetic force microscope (MFM) style data detection system.