Hard Disc Drive Maker Orders Nano Imprint System

Molecular Imprints, Inc. (MII), the technology and market leader in nano-imprint lithography, today announced another order for its Imprio® 1100 system from a new customer in the hard disk drive (HDD) industry. Company officials report that the system will be used in the development of discrete track and bit patterned media for next-generation HDDs. With this latest order, MII’s Step and Flash® Imprint Lithography (S-FIL®) technology is being used by three of the top HDD manufacturers in four locations worldwide to address emerging fine-resolution, high-volume, low-cost patterning requirements.

Developing and manufacturing advanced patterned and discrete track media involves imprinting or “patterning” high-density disk substrates that require sub-25-nanometer features with terabits per square inch densities and beyond. Molecular Imprint’s Imprio 1100 Precision Imprint Lithography System delivers a best-in-class solution to these challenges by combining the resolution and critical dimension (CD) control of e-beam lithography with the throughput, overlay and operating simplicity of a mask aligner — all in a fully automated nano-imprint lithography system. The system’s proprietary Drop-on-Demand™ technology provides a superior patterning solution to the HDD industry by allowing imprint resist to be placed only where it is needed. This results in unmatched pattern quality and consistency when compared with spin coating at a fraction of the cost. In addition, the Drop-on-Demand technology enables cost-effective double-sided patterning which is a key HDD production requirement.

“We believe our growing order momentum in this industry signals both the need for a new lithography approach to enable next-generation hard disk drives and the industry’s recognition of the unique benefits our system delivers over competing technologies,” said Mark Melliar-Smith, CEO of Molecular Imprints. “We are working closely with our customers to provide them with the advanced bit patterned and discrete track media lithography technologies they need to meet an aggressive industry roadmap. We anticipate continued adoption by the hard disk drive industry as we partner with manufacturers to meet both their cutting-edge technology and volume production requirements.”

The increasing data storage demands of video applications in computers and consumer electronic devices, such as digital video recorders, are driving continued growth in the HDD industry. This translates into a significant market opportunity for MII, as companies seek new manufacturing technologies to enable the transition to the next generation of hard drives. Currently, the HDD industry is a twenty-billion-dollar market that will ship approximately 500 million units in 2007, utilizing over 1 billion disk media. In addition to the HDD market, the Imprio 1100 system is well suited to enable a broad array of other applications that are experiencing market growth, including Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) and optical components requiring fine-resolution patterning and three-dimensional features.

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