Craic Technologies, a provider of application-focused micro-analysis solutions, has developed instruments and software that enable hard-disk manufacturers to rapidly detect contamination.
Trace amounts of organic and inorganic contaminants of hard-disk components are generally difficult to detect.
Common techniques, such as inspection with optical microscopes will not show any of the contamination that is affecting the products.
Craic Technologies' QDI 2010 microspectrophotometer, however, is configured so that it can be used to both locate and identify the sources of contaminants.
This is done by combining both ultraviolet (UV) microscopy spectral imaging with the analytical capabilities of UV-visible NIR microspectroscopy.
Many organic and inorganic contaminants found in hard-disk drives absorb light in the UV region but are invisible to the naked eye.
This means that standard optical microscopy will not be able to detect these contaminants, nor will it be capable of analysing them.
While other techniques are available, they require extensive sample preparation and can even damage the sample.
By utilising UV micro-imaging of the QDI 2010, the user is intended to be able to non-destructively locate many contaminants.
UV microspectroscopy can then be performed with the QDI 2010 to measure the electronic spectral characteristics of the contaminant in order to identify it.
The spectra can also be used to further improve the clarity of the image of the contaminants by determining the wavelength of maximum absorbance.
By combining both techniques in the QDI 2010 microspectrophotometer, the user is intended to be able to locate and identify contaminant materials in hard-disk drive components such as read-write heads.
It can also be upgraded to enable UV-visible and near-infrared reflectance, transmittance and fluorescence microscopy and microspectroscopy.