High NA Lenses (SIL) for Optical Data Storage Made of Synthetic Single Crystal Diamond

Aug 19, 2005, 01:00 ET from Element Six Ltd

    CUIJK, The Netherlands, August 19 /PRNewswire/ -- At the heart of the
 increase in the density of data storage is the ability to produce small
 lenses that operate at short wavelengths. These Solid-Immersion Lenses (SILs)
 conform to tight tolerances on diameter, thickness, surface form and
 roughness at a diameter of 1.0mm or smaller. Element Six announces the
 development of a process that can obtain the required form accuracy in 1mm
 Synthetic Single Crystal Diamond spheres. This new process has improved the
 accuracy of the lenses by a factor 10 compared to earlier techniques.
     Since the introduction of the compact disk in 1985, it has become the
 standard storage medium for music, digital photography, computer data and
 games. As the demand for disk capacity increases, future generations of
 optical media will need significantly higher storage capacities. This trend
 is seen in DVD and its successor the Blu-Ray disk. Diamond lenses are a
 crucial component of the next generation of storage technology. Diamond
 lenses will enable a storage capacity of up to 1TB (1000 Giga Bytes) per disc.
     The increased disk capacity is achieved technically by reducing the
 wavelengths of the readout laser and by increasing the numerical aperture
 (NA) of the focusing lens. To achieve a high NA value a material with high
 refractive index and transparency at the wavelength used is needed. Diamond
 is the ultimate material for this application, with the largest known
 refractive index of any transparent material in the blue and ultraviolet
 region of the spectrum. Synthetic Diamond producing using Chemical Vapour
 Deposition (CVD) has been optimized by Element Six in order to produce the
 required defect free optical material.
     "This Lens is an exciting breakthrough and Element Six are proud to be
 participating in this new diamond technology that will enable mass storage of
 data for business and consumer applications. This is another example of a
 development of diamond processing technology on the nano-scale and proof of
 the versatility of diamond and Element Six being at the forefront of
 development", stated Christian Hultner the MD of Element Six.
     About Element Six
     Element Six is the world leader in the production of all forms of
 synthetic diamond for industrial use. Element Six has pioneered the
 development of CVD diamond technology since the 1980s, with a world-renowned
 research centre at Ascot dedicated to this activity. CVD diamond opens up
 many new application areas outside the traditional abrasive uses of synthetic
 diamond. Uses of CVD diamond include laser exit windows, cutting tools,
 surgical blades, windows for high-power gyrotrons, heat-spreaders for
 electronic devices as well as active electronic devices.

SOURCE Element Six Ltd