3D Imaging and Metrology for Data Storage Applications

Advanced data storage design demands extreme requirements on hard disks and other components. The Zeta-20 3D Imaging and Metrology Microscope measures the parameters that ensure high performance of disk drives that include edge chamfer angle, roughness and width, disk rolloff, sidewall defects, lube pickup and step heights on the read/write head, defects and roughness on almost any surface. Measurements are both rapid and convenient ensuring high precision for production or failure analysis.

Measurements Using Zeta-20 Metrology Microscope

The Zeta Tencor-20 3D Imaging and Metrology Microscope can make various measurements which may be classified into two categories

  • Disk Edge Characterization
  • Read/Write Head Characterization

Disk Edge Characterization

Chamfer Width and Angle

A motorized tilt stage aligns the disk edge accurately to measure the chamfer width and angle with respect to the data zone, as well as the roughness of each surface. Sequences offer automated measurements at multiple locations.

Disk Roll-off

Disk roll-off is highly important since present fly heights approach 2 nm and data is written as near to the disk edge as possible. This 6.5-nm "ski jump" is potentially catastrophic.

Failure analysis

Failure analysis of defects on the upper surface or the sidewall takes only a minute. It is possible to obtain true color images and height analysis on both glass (left) and metal (right) substrates using the Zeta-20.

Magnetic Marking

It is possible to image magnetic marking to find the defect to be scanned.

Read/Write Head Characterization

Zeta 3D software has the capability to sense lube pickup and calculates areas based on height or color, converting a commonly manual inspection into a consistent and quantitative analysis.

The Zeta-20 scans large areas with high Z resolution. This read/write head has steps of 0.26 µm and 1.72 µm and a scan area of 1896 x 1422 µm.

The Zeta-20 Data Storage Package

The Zeta-20 3D Metrology Microscope offers a large number of benefits that include the following:

  • Customized applications for data storage measurements
    • Chamfer Width, Angle, Roughness
    • Full read-write head 3D profile
    • Lube pickup
  • Motorized chucks for standard disk sizes
  • Submicron resolution over a scan range greater than 1 mm
  • Ability to measure very high reflectivity and very low reflectivity surfaces
  • Ability to determine very high roughness and very low roughness surfaces (with Nomarski DIC option)
  • True color imaging

Zeta 3D Software analyzes 2D or 3D images for general surface characterization:

  • Step height
  • Surface roughness
  • Feature size, diameter, area, and volume
  • 3D surface visualization



This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by KLA Corporation.

For more information on this source, please visit KLA Corporation.


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