Veeco Introduces New NEXUS Ion Source

Veeco Instruments has announced the introduction of the NEXUS 420 Ion Source. Specifically designed to maximize the performance of Veeco's NEXUS Ion Beam Etch systems for next-generation thin film magnetic head (TFMH) production, this new ion source provides unsurpassed uniformity and repeatability in all TFMH etch processes, including perpendicular and longitudinal pole etch, air bearing surface contouring, and TMR and CPP sensor definition.

"As areal densities continue to increase, our data storage customers must continually improve their processes to keep up with shrinking critical dimensions and tighter process controls. The new NEXUS 420 Ion Source extends Veeco's leadership position in ion beam technology and represents a breakthrough in source design," said Robert P. Oates, Vice President, General Manager of Veeco's Ion Beam Equipment group. "This robust ion source provides a wider dynamic energy range and a two to three-fold improvement in 3D uniformity, resulting in improved control of the etch process. Veeco has completed extensive beta testing of the new NEXUS source with key TFMH manufacturers, showing excellent process matching as evidenced by repeatable etch characteristics throughout the grid lifetime."

The NEXUS 420 Ion Source has been designed to reduce the effect of grid variations for maximum process performance and allows for throughput improvement at low energies. In addition to exceptional uniformity and unmatched run-to-run repeatability, it features a wide energy range (100eV to 1500eV) that enables maximum control across varied wafer and slider etch processes.

The Veeco NEXUS product lines utilize a common platform architecture that enables different Veeco process technologies (Ion Beam Etch, Ion Beam Deposition, ALD and PVD) to work seamlessly on a common cluster tool configuration and common software. The NEXUS platform flexibility maximizes the use of capital assets and enables development of next-generation TFMH designs.

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