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CD stamper bumps, perspective view


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ASM interviewed at Media-Tech
 Oct. 21, 2003

Q:  Don Chernoff, do you want to tell us a little bit about your company and your products?

A:  We?re working with the Atomic force microscope.  This instrument makes 3-dimensional images of surfaces and it?s used in many industries around the world.  In the optical disc industry, people are using it to look directly at the physical structure of the pits and grooves that make up the disc and the data on the disc. We have worked with many companies around the world and have developed a new measurement software called the DiscTrack Plus Media Measurement System.  This allows measuring very precisely and accurately the size, shape and position of the pits and grooves.  It is a testing technique which complements traditional electrical testing using a disc analyzer.  With an electrical test, you can see the output parameters, signal levels and so on, but you cannot see the actual structure of the pits or grooves.  When you use a disc analyzer to adjust production variables, you are working partly blind.  When you adjust the production variables, things like the laser power in the laser beam recorder or the pressure and temperature in the molding tool... When you adjust those, they directly affect the geometry produced on the disc.  With the atomic force microscope and DiscTrack Plus, you can now see that directly.  This gives you the possibility of having tighter process control.  In over 20 companies around the world, our system is in use helping people save money and improve quality by detecting and correcting problems and by avoiding problems.

People tell us that the strong statistical data presentation gives them the confidence to actually make production changes based on the results.

Q:  Thank you.  You were saying there are certain stages in the manufacturing process where this is particularly useful. You say the laser beam stage...

A:  The AFM analysis of pits and grooves is particularly important in mastering and also in replication.   The Atomic Force Microscope can look directly at the glass master or the stamper and allow you to correct problems or detect problems without having to actually mold the disc and put it into a disc analyzer.  Our customers say that that saves them time and money because they can get the answers sooner in the process.  I  should also mention that the technique is important for DVD and is becoming even more important for higher-density formats such as Blu-Ray because the manufacturing tolerances are becoming tighter with each generation.

Q: So people are in increasing need of more and more sophisticated test equipment, as you say, as the manufacturing tolerances are getting tighter and tighter.

A: Yes, that?s correct.

Q:  Thank you. And one thing, Don, that we forget to let you do is say the name of your company.

A:  Our company is called Advanced Surface Microscopy.

Q:  Thank you very much.


PostScript 2013:

The media measurement technology that helped make DVD possible did the same for Blu-Ray discs.  We're proud to say that DiscTrack Plus supports more than half the world's production of DVD and Blu-Ray.


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