Hard Disk Drive Inspection

Contaminated hard disk drive head

Microspectrophotometers are used to detect contaminants on hard disk drives


UV microscope image of contaminated HDD

UV microscope image of a contaminated HDD



Microspectrophotometers are used to locate and identify contaminants as well as measure film thickness on hard disk drives and sliders.

Hard Disk Drive, or HDD, is a device that stores data in a non-volatile manner.  Data is stored on the magnetic surfaces of rapidly spinning platters.  Data is written and read from the platters by a read/write head in modern drives.  Due to the nature of the device, todays HDD units are built under clean conditions and are then sealed.  However, during the manufacture of these devices, contamination of their components can occur and this can cause issues with their performance.  Contamination can be due to many different issues and can also cause many different performance problems with the hard disk drive.  Many of the contaminants are also invisible to a normal microscope: they only are active in the ultraviolet region.

Due to the fact that many of the contaminants of hard disk drives are UV active and that the components themselves are microscopic, ultraviolet microscopes and microspectrophotometers such as those made by CRAIC are irreplaceable.  These units are not only used to locate contaminants but are also used to determine their source by both microscopy and microspectroscopy.  Microspectrophotometers also have additional capabilities to measure thin film thickness and even absolute reflectivity.

To learn more about microspectroscopy and HDD metrology, select one of the following links: 

What is a Microspectrophotometer?

Science of Microspectrophotometers

Microspectrophotometer Design

Uses of Microspectrophotometers

20/30 PV™ Microspectrophotometers