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Researchers Submit Patent Application, "Optical Pickup Assembly Having Optical Pickup Units Laterally Arranged across a Tape Path", for Approval

August 19, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Information Technology Newsweekly -- From Washington, D.C., VerticalNews journalists report that a patent application by the inventors Wilson, Scott (Thornton, CO); Underkofler, Daniel (Lafayette, CO); Suttle, Steven (Broomfield, CO), filed on January 31, 2013, was made available online on August 7, 2014.

The patent's assignee is Oracle International Corporation.

News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Optical tape for data storage has the potential for relatively large areal densities. However, data transfer rate is also desirable. Magnetic linear tape addresses transfer rate by simultaneously reading/writing with multiple heads (e.g., such as thirty-two heads). The heads are constructed on micron scales using semiconductor technology such that the heads may be laterally arrayed at low spacing (e.g., such as 90 .mu.m).

"Optical pickup units are used in optical data tape storage machines to read and write data on an optical tape. An optical pickup unit (OPU) typically includes a laser, a lens, lateral and focusing actuators for the lens, optical paths, and mounting structures. An OPU is considerably more bulky than a magnetic head.

"A single OPU may be used in disk products having adequate room laterally (i.e., radially) for the OPU components. The use of multiple OPUs is required to meet optical tape data transfer requirements. In prototype drives, multiple OPUs have been arrayed longitudinally along the tape path. The multiple OPU longitudinal arrangement is limited by or limits the following. The available drive space for the tape path and OPU footprints is limited. The tape path layout/design options are limited. The lateral tape motion (LTM) is well controlled only in relatively small portion(s) along the length of the tape path. The OPUs that might be designed for the longitudinal arrays would have a narrow footprint, which limits space for mounting and alignment features. Lasers in each of the OPUs generate heat during operation and cause their temperature to rise. Operating at high temperatures contributes to premature degradation of the lasers and impact the reliability of the drive. Having many lasers mounted closely together creates a challenge to keep the lasers from getting excessively warm and degrading their lifetime. Hence, there is limited space for multiple OPUs and limited means for keeping them cool."

As a supplement to the background information on this patent application, VerticalNews correspondents also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "Embodiments of the present invention provide an optical pickup assembly having a first optical pickup unit (OPU) and a second OPU. In one variation, the optical pickup assembly has a stacked individual OPU pair design in which the OPUs are stacked on each other such that the OPUs are arranged laterally across a tape path and are positioned roughly at the same longitudinal position along the tape path. In another variation, the optical pickup assembly has an integrated OPU pair design in which the OPUs are integrated together in a common housing such that the OPUs are arranged laterally across a tape path and are positioned roughly at the same longitudinal position along the tape path.

"Each OPU may include an objective lens for transmitting light to an optical tape configured to move along the tape path and for receiving light from the optical tape. One of the objective lenses of the OPUs is laterally higher than the other one of the objective lenses of the OPUs. The objective lenses of the OPUs may be longitudinally offset from one another along the tape path.

"In the stacked individual OPU pair design, each OPU has its own separate housing. The OPUs are stacked on each other by the housings being arranged laterally on each other. Each OPU may further include an objective lens connected to the housing of that OPU. In this case, the housing of the first OPU is arranged laterally above on the housing of the second OPU with the objective lens of the first OPU being laterally higher than the objective lens of the second OPU. Again, the objective lenses may be longitudinally offset from one another along the tape path.

"In an embodiment, the first and second OPUs include the same type of components.

"In an embodiment, each OPU includes transmission and reception light paths, a laser source, a photo detector, and an objective lens. The laser source, the transmission light path, and the objective lens of each OPU are laterally misaligned with one another. The photo detector, the reception light path, and the objective lens of each OPU are laterally aligned with one another. In the stacked individual OPU pair design, the transmission and reception light paths, the laser source, and the photo detector of each OPU are individually housed in the housings of the OPUs. In the integrated OPU pair design, the transmission and reception light paths, the laser source, and the photo detector of each OPU are in respective portions contained in the common housing.

"An embodiment of the present invention provides an optical tape data storage machine for reading and writing to an optical tape configured to move along a tape path. The machine includes a plurality of optical pickup assemblies. Each optical pickup assembly includes first and second OPUs. The OPUs of each optical pickup assembly are either stacked on each other in separate housings or integrated together in a common housing such that the OPUs of each optical pickup assembly are arranged laterally across the tape path. The optical pickup assemblies are positioned at respective longitudinal positions along the tape path such that the OPUs of each optical pickup assembly are arranged laterally across the tape path at the respective longitudinal position of the tape path.

"An embodiment of the present invention provides an optical tape data storage system. The system includes an optical tape configured to move along a tape path, the optical tape having a tape width. The system further includes an optical pickup assembly including a first OPU and a second OPU. The OPUs are either stacked on each other in separate housings or integrated together in a common housing such that the OPUs are arranged laterally across the tape width and are positioned at a longitudinal position along the tape path.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

"FIG. 1A illustrates a frontal perspective view of an optical pickup assembly having a pair of optical pickup units stacked together in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;

"FIG. 1B illustrates a rearward perspective view of the optical pickup assembly as shown in FIG. 1A;

"FIG. 2 illustrates a side perspective view of one of the optical pickup units of the optical pickup assembly;

"FIG. 3A illustrates a frontal perspective view of the optical pickup assembly with just the objective lens, the focus and tracking actuator assembly housing, and the OPU housing of each of the optical pickup units of the optical pickup assembly being illustrated;

"FIG. 3B illustrates a rearward perspective view of the optical pickup assembly as shown in FIG. 3A;

"FIG. 4 illustrates a perspective view of one set of a plurality of optical pickup assemblies dispensed on one side of an optical data storage tape longitudinally along the tape path;

"FIG. 5 illustrates a plan view of two sets of pluralities of optical pickup assemblies dispensed on one side of two respective segments of an optical data storage tape longitudinally along the tape path;

"FIG. 6 illustrates a perspective view of an optical data storage tape machine having two sets of pluralities of optical pickup assemblies dispensed on the opposite side of respective segments of an optical data storage tape from respective tape stabilizers longitudinally along the tape path;

"FIG. 7A illustrates a frontal perspective view of an optical pickup assembly having a pair of optical pickup units integrated together in a common housing as part of the same package in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention with just the objective lens and the focus and tracking actuator assembly housing of each of the optical pickup units being illustrated;

"FIG. 7B illustrates a rearward perspective view as shown in FIG. 7B; and

"FIG. 8 illustrates a side perspective view of the optical pickup assembly shown in FIGS. 7A and 7B."

For additional information on this patent application, see: Wilson, Scott; Underkofler, Daniel; Suttle, Steven. Optical Pickup Assembly Having Optical Pickup Units Laterally Arranged across a Tape Path. Filed January 31, 2013 and posted August 7, 2014. Patent URL: http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.html&r=4069&p=82&f=G&l=50&d=PG01&S1=20140731.PD.&OS=PD/20140731&RS=PD/20140731

Keywords for this news article include: Information Technology, Information and Data Storage, Oracle International Corporation.

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Source: Information Technology Newsweekly


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