Lucent’s Billion-Bit-Per Second Preamplifier

Lucent Technologies Microelectronics Group today announced a billion-bit-per-second, or gigabit-per-second, read/write preamplifier integrated circuit - a key electronic component of hard disk drives for computer data storage. By offering these speeds, which surpass those of current industry products by some 33 percent, Lucent will accelerate the development of faster, higher-capacity disk drives to store the vast amounts of text, graphics, audio and images that move across the Internet.

Lucent will offer gigabit-per-second performance with its new VM8200 differential read/write preamplifier, designed by engineers at the company's Twin Cities Business and Technology Center in Bloomington, Minn. Preamplifiers boost the strength of signals read off a disk drive's magnetic platters for processing by read-channel ICs, which convert those signals into digital data. Preamplifiers also generate signals from digital data that get written onto the magnetic platters.

Lucent established its Twin Cities Business and Technology Center earlier this year when it acquired the products and the design, marketing and sales teams of VTC Inc.

The VM8200 preamplifier achieves its breakthrough gigabit-per-second operation with an impedance-matched writing architecture. This matches the preamp's characteristics with the signal path to the read/write head, thus narrowing the write current's pulse width to provide faster magnetic transition and recovery in the read/write head. This design technique allows Lucent to provide gigabit-per-second preamp performance without compromising reliability.

Lucent is offering sample quantities of the VM8200 preamplifier in October, with production ramping in 2001 to meet customer needs. Pricing information is not yet available.

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