Latvian NanoOptoMetrics Is Taking On Hard Disk Drive Industry

    Ever thought how many hours your PC manufacturer spent measuring its parts?

    Any technology product or equipment is required to undergo testing and quality assurance before shipping. So, did Apple give each of its 75 million iPhones sold in January to a quality assurance specialist? No. They have equipment called profilometer that scans each product with nanometer precision to ensure that all parts match the requirements. Now what if they could scan 1,500 products at once instead?

    NanoOptoMetrics team from Riga has developed and tested next-generation metrology equipment that can do just that without compromising on quality. Their non-contact optical profilometer measures roughness and optical form of various surfaces with nanometer resolution and represents it as a 2D or 3D image. Profilometers are widely used as testing and quality assurance equipment for high-tech manufacturing processes in data storage, semiconductors, precision mechanics, optics, biotechnology and other industries that require high precision measurements.

    “When a company produces your device, they need to perform over 100 measurements, distributed throughout the manufacturing process. Currently they measure each device separately, and can only scan 10% of products. We let them scan 1,500 units in 1.5 min with a single measurement. This lets manufacturers scan 100% of products with less equipment.”

    This technological advantage has been evaluated with proof-of-concept measurements and confirmed by one of the largest data storage players, which expressed interest for further collaboration with NanoOptoMetrics. According to the team, their conservative assessments estimate a $1.2 million annual reduction in costs of measurement, while providing data on 100% of components produced (in total 2 million per day).

    While NanoOptoMetrics is currently focused on HDD industry, the technology is not peculiar to data storage. In fact, it can benefit any manufacturing process where many small devices are arrayed for mass processing, especially in MEMS and semiconductors. The team continues negotiations with other clients and keeps exploring new applications for their technology.

    “We are looking for industry measurement challenges for our profilometer technology. Currently we are talking to new customers for proof-of-concept measurement demonstration, industry expertise and potential strategic partners for manufacturing and business development in semiconductors, precision mechanics, optics and biotech, and are open to discussions with other industries.”

    The company is developed at Commercialization Reactor, region’s biggest accelerator for science-based startups that has reviewed over 600 international IPs to date and helped over 30 promising scientists find entrepreneurial co-founders.

    NanoOptoMetrics has received €150,000 seed investment from Imprimatur Capital and continues to work with clients, while raising a €500,000 investment for first commercial product prototyping and new application development in other industries. NanoOptoMetrics will be present at Commercialization Reactor Investors’ and Partners’ Day on April 12 in Riga.