A Graphic Explanation of the Manufacturing Steps Used to Create Compact Discs
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How the Process Begins
How CD's are Reproduced
1. Glass Master
From the Customer's data, the CD Glass Master is produced.
- An optically ground glass disc is rotated with a 1/10th micron thick layer of Photoresist which is then exposed by a laser. The laser "writes" or exposes a pattern of pits on this thin layer, transferring the information from the master image. The disk is developed (the exposed parts are etched away), it is silvered, resulting in the actual pit structure of the finished disc.
The master is then electroplated with nickel which, when separated from the master, forms a metal negative or "father".
The father could be used to replicate CD's but would wear out too soon. Instead, several "mothers" (or positives) are made by plating onto the father.
In a third plating stage, each mother is used to create a number of stampers, which are actually used to mold the pit structure onto the CD's.
5. Clear Disc
Compact discs are made similarly to conventional records using injection molding techniques and a stamper.
6. CD-ROM Disc
The information surface is coated with a micron thick layer of aluminum to provide a reflective surface.
- This is the surface which is actually read by a CD Player. The reflective surface is then protected with a lacquer coating. The disc label is then printed directly onto the disc.
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