SAN JOSE, Calif., Sept. 13 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- KLA-Tencor (Nasdaq: KLAC) today unveiled its Candela Optical Surface Analyzer 6300 series tool-a system that delivers best-in-class metrology and inspection capabilities for data storage substrates and finished media. As data storage manufacturers strive to enhance device storage capacities by reducing head fly-heights even further, controlling disk surface roughness is becoming increasingly important. The 6300 series leverages the industry's widest spatial bandwidth coverage (from 0.22 microns to 2,000 microns) and a noise floor below 0.5 angstroms to satisfy emerging requirements for comprehensive roughness and micro-waviness measurements. The 6300 series also harnesses patented multi-channel optics, combined with unique laser stability management technology, to deliver powerful measurement capabilities for edge roll-off and texture/polish uniformity, as well as scratch and particle inspection. As a result of its comprehensive capabilities, manufacturers can now employ a single tool to measure the quality of their substrates. This makes the 6300 series the ideal solution for next-generation process control of disk topography on conventional metal or glass substrates and finished media. "The key trends in the data storage industry -- the moves toward smaller form factors, glass substrates, higher areal densities and improved reliability -- are all driving the need for better control of the head-disk interface, requiring improvements in inspection and metrology of disks," said Mark Geenen, president of market research firm TrendFOCUS. "It is becoming especially critical to acquire repeatable measurements of extremely low roughness levels, to quantify edge roll-off and also detect sub-micron particles and very shallow surface scratches. Concurrently, testing time and total product cost are under sustained pressure. An approach like this may not only reduce equipment expenditures, but also may provide a new path to optimizing quality and throughput times." "The 6300 series is a breakthrough tool that enables our data storage customers to reduce their dependence on multiple toolsets by providing a single system for topography metrology and defect inspection," stated Jeff Donnelly, vice president and general manager of KLA-Tencor's Growth and Emerging Markets (GEM) Division. "The 6300 is built on a production-proven platform and directly contributes to enhancing our customers' time to market and ultimate profitability. The newest offering in our comprehensive product lineup, the 6300 offers significant advantages over alternative point solutions -- especially when it comes to its unrivalled spatial wavelength capability combined with fast, full-surface coverage," he added. The 6300's leading-edge optical scanning technology enables full surface disk topography metrology in both radial and circumferential directions, and allows manufacturers to use a single tool to measure the entire spatial spectrum. Increased laser power, a lower noise floor and new optics design eliminate the need for sputtering glass substrates in order to detect defects and also allows for identification of roughness variations of less than 0.1 angstroms. Compared with other scatterometers or laser doppler vibrometry systems, the 6300 delivers radial and circumferential data and full surface topography information on ultra-smooth substrate and media. The 6300 also provides full-disk, non-contact coverage at a much lower cost of measurement and faster speed than stylus profilers or atomic force microscopy (AFM) technologies. Furthermore, the 6300 series offers excellent correlation to AFM -- simultaneously reducing AFM dependence and making it a more efficient reference source. The 6300 series has undergone extensive beta evaluations and KLA-Tencor is currently accepting product orders. Shipping will begin in October 2006. KLA-Tencor will showcase the 6300 and other yield management solutions for the data storage industry at the DISKCON USA 2006 Trade Show and Conference, September 13-14, at booth #115 at the Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, Calif. About KLA-Tencor: KLA-Tencor is the world leader in yield management and process control solutions for semiconductor manufacturing and related industries. Headquartered in San Jose, Calif., the company has sales and service offices around the world. An S&P 500 company, KLA-Tencor is traded on the Nasdaq National Market under the symbol KLAC. Additional information about the company is available on the Internet at http://www.kla-tencor.com .