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Seeding Conductivity

Inside Western Digital: How Tomorrow's Storage Gets Made
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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