Nanometrics Optical Critical Dimension System Selected for Use by Leading Disk Drive Manufacturer

Nanometrics Incorporated (Nasdaq: NANO), a leading supplier of advanced metrology systems, today announced its Atlas XP+ optical critical dimension (OCD) system has been selected by a leading disk drive manufacturer for process control metrology with follow-on orders at multiple fabs.

The system orders follow the successful installation of an initial Atlas XP+ system, which was selected over an incumbent competitive product. In its position as "tool of record," the Atlas system will be used to provide OCD metrology in the production of the customer's next generation thin-film heads.

As drive manufacturers work to increase the performance and density of hard drives by shrinking device geometries, new challenges arise. Among these is the need to achieve uniform device features in thin-film heads. The Atlas XP+ system enables customers to characterize microscopic features and numerous critical parameters of their head designs that can affect performance. The technology provides a fast means of measuring these features and helps manufacturers to achieve higher device yield. To optimize the modeling of structures and accelerate time to data, the Atlas XP+ also leverages Nanometrics' NanoCD Suite, a turnkey OCD analysis solution with advanced modeling and intuitive recipe building capabilities.

"Our OCD metrology solution provides information about the most critical features of customers' devices and offers insight that directly correlates to performance and improved yields," said David Doyle, vice president of Nanometrics' Semiconductor Business Unit. "The high-speed Atlas XP+ enables non-destructive, in-line metrology of complex structures, which leads to a higher process control capability and lower overall cost of manufacturing."

"The further penetration of our Atlas XP+ system into important segments such as disk drive manufacturing demonstrates the expanding role of OCD to characterize complex structures used in the most advanced electronic devices," said Dr. Timothy J. Stultz, president and chief executive officer. "Nanometrics' solutions optimize OCD metrology, making it the most precise, data-rich process control metrology available today."

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