This paper describes the integration of thin film ZnO strain sensors onto hard disk drive suspensions for improved vibration suppression for tracking control. Sensor location was designed using an efficient optimization methodology based on linear quadratic gaussian (LQG) control. Sensors were fabricated directly onto steel wafers that were subsequently made into instrumented suspensions. Prototype instrumented suspensions were installed into commercial hard drives and tested. For the first time, a sensing signal was successfully obtained while the suspension was flying on a disk as in normal drive operation. Preliminary models were identified from experimental transfer functions. Nominal H2 control simulations demonstrated improved vibration suppression as a result of both the better resolution and higher sensing rate provided by the sensors.

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