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Seeding Conductivity

Inside Western Digital: How Tomorrow's Storage Gets Made
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Seeding Conductivity

This Physical Vapor Deposition tool is used to deposit very thin layers called seedlayers. Seedlayers are metallic and magnetic “starting” layers deposited on top of non-conductive substrate layers. A seedlayer can provide electrical conductivity to enable the subsequent electroplating process.

My guide informed me that “metrology is widely used and required throughout the head process flow.” This is engineering-speak for “we measure everything to make sure it’s right.” Upon leaving the PVD area, this gizmo caught my eye because it looked like a microscope—something vaguely familiar! It’s not a microscope, of course. It’s a tool for measuring a wafer’s thickness conformance, which is obviously a key concern as you pile layer after layer onto it.

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