Realizing the Possibilities of Light, Becoming a Truly Global Company
Nikon has walked alongside everyday life and human challenges while innovating a wide spectrum of optical equipment throughout the years.
With effective solutions generated from technologies and ideas, we will continue to advance over the next 100 years.
Total Station GF-212 and 215C surveying instruments featuring non-prism measuring method are marketed
Features a non-prism measuring function that enables measurement without a reflective prism by using a laser beam.
D1 digital SLR camera is marketed
Based on the concepts of "superb image quality" "ultra-high speed" and "ease of use," the Nikon D1 was a lens-interchangeable AF digital SLR camera that was revolutionary in various aspects such as image quality, speed, dimensions, weight and price.
This project was launched in 1996 directly under the president, and was intended to develop a new and genuine digital camera product within two years. The challenge was taken up by about 10 people from design and other divisions. Initially, team leaders asked for three years on the grounds that two years was insufficient since the company did not possess much accumulated digital technology at that time. However, the response was "Nikon does not have that much time right now" and the company endeavored to make it happen in just two short years. In 1998 Nikon released the COOLPIX 900 compact digital camera and the professional D1 digital SLR camera in September the following year. This was a ground-breaking device that offered the comprehensive strengths of excellent image quality, operability and functionality while being only about a third of the price of competitor's products, at JPY 650,000, thereby spurring on the popularization of digital SLR cameras. Since then, Nikon has continued to produce advanced flagship models exceeding professional expectations, right up to the new D5 Nikon digital SLR camera.
SLR-type digital camera with interchangeable lens that combines high-speed performance and overall picture quality. Priced with general users in mind, it contributed to the popularity of digital SLR cameras.
FX-21S LCD scanner is marketed
The FX-21S is an LCD lithography system that exposes circuit patterns on the mask using multiple projection lenses on the glass plate by scanning and step-and-repeated exposure.
At the time, desktop PC monitors were beginning to adopt the Thin Film Transistor (TFT) active matrix color LCDs created for laptop displays. However, there was an opportunity for an even bigger market. While development progressed with an eye on LCD panels for large-size TVs, these technologies could be adopted for 15-inch glass panels for TV monitors.
FX-21S did not employ the common stepper method at that time (step and repeat exposure) for exposure and image transfer, but instead used a 5-projection lens optical system capable of exposing a 30-inch wide display in a single scan, with dramatically increased throughput.
Nikon's original multi-lens system was adopted to correspond to an increase in the size of liquid crystal displays.
Optical-infrared Subaru Telescope employs Nikon's High Dispersion Spectrograph (HDS) and Faint Object Camera And Spectrograph (FOCAS)
Mauna Kea, Hawaii rises at 4,205 meters above sea level. As one of the peaks of the world suitable for astronomical observation, numerous countries have brought many telescopes to this location. One of these is the Subaru Telescope, which features the High Dispersion Spectrograph (HDS) and Faint Object Camera And Spectrograph (FOCAS) devices, developments in which Nikon was involved. Research with optical telescopes usually involves three technologies – observation equipment to take photographs, high-dispersion spectrometer equipment, and high-sensitivity low-dispersion spectrometers. With the Subaru Telescope, these consist of the primary focus camera, high-dispersion spectrometer (HDS), and low-dispersion spectrometer (FOCAS).
HDS is a spectroscope that sorts the spectrum of light arriving from distant celestial objects. High-dispersion spectrography of celestial objects plays a role in clarifying the historical origins of various elements by investigating the elemental composition of ancient stars formed around the time of the beginning of the universe. Nikon was responsible for production of the FOCAS body and its main lenses, a device with the power to discover distant galaxies seemingly at the end of the universe.
FOCAS made its first observations in February of 2000. Not only has this device been employed to discover galaxies 12.8 billion light years distant, but also staked its claim with nine of the ten furthest deep space objects announced in 2006 having been found by the Subaru Telescope's prime focus camera.
Announced in April of 2005, HDS has discovered stars with the lowest iron composition in the history of observation, and has been successful in measuring elemental compositions. These bodies have only 1/250,000th of the iron composition of the sun. This has led to high anticipation of shedding more light on the initial elemental composition of the early universe.
FOCAS is installed on the Subaru Telescope.
© National Astronomical Observatory of Japan
HDS is permanently installed on the Subaru Telescope.
© National Astronomical Observatory of Japan
FOCAS is installed on the Subaru Telescope.
© National Astronomical Observatory of Japan
NSR-S306C lens-scanning ArF excimer stepper is announced
Lens scanning type ArF excimer stepper (ArF scanner) supports mass production of 100-nanometer devices.
Brand Symbol for Nikon Group is introduced
This brand symbol was established under the concept of "fusing the future possibilities with reliability." The symbol of "sequential rays" represents the future possibilities, while preserving the black Nikon logo-type that has gained worldwide recognition and yellow brand color. Nikon intends to accurately recognize the needs of the times and fully meet the expectations of its customers. The Nikon brand symbol expresses the aspiration of the company to be unrelenting in facing the challenges of technical innovation and keeping the passion alive to turn today's dreams into tomorrow's new realities.
The brand symbol displaying the light motif.
Nikon F6 SLR camera is marketed
Introduced as the preeminent film SLR camera, it combined Nikon F series tradition with advanced features.
NSR-S609B ArF immersion scanner is marketed
The NSR-S609B ArF immersion scanner is a system that exposes silicon wafers with circuit patterns used in LSI manufacturing, and is a revolutionary product proposed to the industry by Nikon ahead of other companies. It radically changed the direction of immersion lithography technology. By filling the gap between the projection lens and the wafer with purified water, the device broke through the N.A.* 1.0 barrier, previously insurmountable with conventional dry exposure, achieving the world's highest N.A. of 1.07.
The ever-increasing integration of VLSI, a core technology of the IT revolution, means the width of IC circuit lines is required to be narrower. However, IC manufacturing methods that use light to print circuits are limited by a theoretical boundary due to the refractive index of air, beyond which further narrowing is not possible. Thus, liquid immersion exposure technologies with purified water (refractive index 1.44), which has a higher refractive index than air (refractive index of 1) between the semiconductor lithograph lens and the wafer, achieve higher precision by utilizing the liquid itself like a lens. This technology has enabled the manufacture of ICs at the 55-nanometer level or smaller, a major breakthrough beyond the conventional limitation (a nanometer is a millionth of a millimeter). Moreover, liquid immersion exposure technology can be implemented without major changes to the principles or structure of conventional semiconductor lithography equipment, hence enabling swift response to demand along with IC advances.
*N.A. is a performance index for numerical aperture.
The first IC Stepper and Scanner model incorporating Immersion Lithography Technology and the first to break the barrier of N.A. 1.0 in air to achieve N.A. 1.07.
BioStation CT cell culture observation system is marketed
In the field of biosciences, particularly in regenerative medicine and drug manufacture, the use of live cells in research and industry is expected to become more active. Live cells are usually carefully raised in an incubator with a temperature maintained at 37°C, the same as the human body, with humidity at 95% and CO2 concentration of 5%. "BioStation CT" (cell tracking) is a cell culture observation system that makes it easy to grow cells safely and stably, and control the quality of cells. In the past, cells had to be taken out of the incubator to observe them with a microscope, which although requiring only a short amount of time could result in problems such as reduced cell activity or mold infestation.
BioStation CT is a groundbreaking device that turns convention on its head by including a microscope inside the incubator so that the growth of live cells can be observed without removing them. Since this means growing large amounts of cells with quality control, BioStation CT can also be considered a device enabling laboratory automation for the first time. Although adopted experimentally, it has already been employed in iPS and cancer cell research, producing promising results.
Equipped with a microscope in the incubator, it has expanded the possibilities of live cell observation.
FX-101S LCD scanner is marketed
In recent years, LCDs are increasingly becoming larger with higher definition. The pixel count of HiVision LCD TVs is higher than 2 million, and the number of switches exceeds 6 million with the red, green and blue elements that make up each pixel (2 million x 3 colors). An LCD scanner (FPD lithography system) is used to print the circuits to create these tiny switches on the thin glass plate of the LCD monitor; switches so small they are invisible to the naked eye.
To manufacture LCDs more efficiently, there is demand to print circuits on even larger areas simultaneously, and produce many display panels from a single glass plate. Nikon responded to the demands for large-size glass plates with a multi-lens array. This enables wide area printing by precisely aligning many projection lenses and entails a self-calibration system that seamlessly joins the exposure patterns of each lens so that large areas can be exposed with precision at the same time.
The FX-101S handles the world-first 3m x 3m device Gen 10 plate size and propels the rapid spread of large-size TVs, laptop computers, and LCD monitors. Nikon's FPD lithography system is major technology driving the information society.
Supporting Gen 10 mother glass (about 3 meters square), the FX-101S enables effective mass-production of large panels of over 60 inches.
NSR-S620 ArF immersion scanner is marketed
Corresponds to a production process using double patterning.
Metris NV becomes Nikon Metrology NV, a wholly owned subsidiary of Nikon Corporation in Belgium
D3S and D3X digital SLR cameras, and NIKKOR lenses are used in the International Space Station (ISS)
In 2009, Nikon delivered eleven D3S digital SLR cameras and seven AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f2.8G ED interchangeable lenses to NASA (National Aeronautics Space Administration) for recording images in the International Space Station (ISS). Then in 2010, Nikon delivered one D3S and two D3X cameras along with various interchangeable lenses such as the AF-S NIKKOR 400mm f/2.8G ED VR, accessories and software to the S. P. Korolev Rocket and Space Corporation Energia, a company commissioned by the S.P. Russian Federation Space Agency for recording images in space. All these devices are in use for both internal and extravehicular activities for both the US and Russian sections of the ISS.
N-SIM and N-STORM super resolution microscopes are marketed
For advanced research in the life sciences, optical microscopes are essential, universally sought-after instruments for observing living cells and tissue in detail. However, to view objects 200 nanometers or smaller, such as protein molecules which are too small to be seen with the resolution of conventional optical microscopes, electron microscopes were used. Two ultra-high resolution microscopes achieve resolution that far surpasses that of the conventional optical microscope, realizing observation of the detailed structure of living cells down to the molecular level.
N-SIM employs technology called structured illumination microscopy. This revolutionary technology uses striped illumination and converts the moiré fringes that result into image data of the micro structure to reproduce detailed structural shapes through spatial frequency analysis, and achieves a resolution (115 nanometers) about twice that of conventional optical microscopy. Thus, this enables more detailed observation of living tissue and cells.
N-STORM probabilistic rebuild optical microscopy. This system reconstructs high-resolution fluorescent images by combining position information of individually dyed molecules detected with high precision from multiple fluorescent images. It attains ultra-high resolution roughly 10 times that of optical microscopy, enabling intracellular observation that is a step further toward the molecular level.
Ultra-high resolution microscopy technologies provide even greater support to cutting-edge research in universities as well as biological, medical and healthcare institutions.
Achieved a resolution that is beyond the capabilities of conventional optical microscopes. The photo shows the "N-SIM", which has nearly double the resolution of conventional optical microscopes.
HN-6060 non-contact multi-sensor 3D metrology system is marketed
High-accuracy measurement is indispensable in order for advanced processing technologies to attain the extremely strict levels of precision demanded in the precision machining workplace. Conventionally, contact-type measuring equipment was used to inspect machined parts, however this method does not lend itself to quick turnaround, and shortening the time for measurement and reducing measurement points can lead to incomplete evaluation.
Instead, employing lasers to illuminate workpieces to acquire data from many points enables measurement with non-contact 3D measurement. Previously, non-contact 3D measurement equipment was not commercialized in the high-precision field because its accuracy ranged only from several hundred to several tens of micrometers, while the field required higher levels of precision.
The HN-6060 is a non-contact multi-sensor 3D metrology system developed by Nikon that utilizes light-cutting sensors to provide non-contact measurement with a level of precision on a par with contact measurement. Also, with high-speed digital measurement data conversion, the system achieves high efficiency with 120,000 data items acquired per second.
Whereas items such as gears once required a lot of time to measure, this high-speed, high-precision system correctly assesses the form, from gear teeth tips through to gear valleys, in just a few minutes.
An object's shape and waviness can be measured in a single operation, a difficult achievement for conventional measuring instruments.
Nikon 1 J1 and V1 advanced cameras with interchangeable lenses are marketed
Nikon's first advanced cameras with interchangeable lenses. Video and still images are of equally high quality. The photo shows the Nikon 1 J1.
D4 digital SLR camera is marketed
The flagship model of Nikon digital SLR cameras, it achieves high sensitivity and high image quality as well as excellent high-speed performance. Reflecting the real needs of photographers in the field, operability and reliability have been pushed to the limits.
SPRINT-A HISAKI—the Spectroscopic Planet Observatory for Recognition of Interaction of Atmosphere is equipped with a primary mirror developed by Nikon
On the 14th of September 2013, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) successfully launched its Epsilon rocket, equipped with the Spectroscopic Planet Observatory for Recognition of Interaction of Atmosphere (SPRINT-A), from the Uchinoura Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture. After that, SPRINT-A was injected safely into the orbit and renamed HISAKI. HISAKI is the world's first space telescope dedicated for remote observation of planets such as Venus, Mars and Jupiter, and orbits the earth at an altitude of about 1,000km. Nikon contributed to this project by producing the primary mirror for the telescope (diameter 20cm). This mirror is made of silicon carbide (SiC), a material that is extremely hard and difficult to work, but was successfully completed making full use of the company's high-precision processing technology.
Nikon has also contributed to the development of many satellites and space probes including the land observing satellite DAICHI launched in January 2006, the infrared astronomical satellite AKARI launched in February 2006, and the Venus climate orbiter AKATSUKI launched in May 2010. Nikon will continue to provide support to projects by taking up the challenge of space observation and measurement with its high-precision optical design and processing technologies.
Compact Digital Camera COOLPIX P900 is marketed
The COOLPIX P900 provides an 83x optical zoom lens offering coverage from 24mm wide-angle to 2000mm telephoto (35mm equivalent). The fast maximum aperture lens, equipped with Super ED (Extra-low Dispersion) lens element offering superior compensation for chromatic aberrations, delivers superior results with vivid images, even when zoomed to extreme levels.
U.K.'s Optos Plc becomes a wholly owned subsidiary of Nikon Corporation
The Nikon Museum is opened
Established for the 100th anniversary of Nikon's foundation in 2017.
NSR-S631E ArF immersion scanner is marketed
ArF immersion scanner developed for mass production of 7-nanometer node process semiconductors (supporting multiple patterning).
FX-68S FPD Lithography System is marketed
Gen 6 Plate FPD Lithography System that has achieved to deliver a high resolution of 1.5 micrometers.
D5 digital SLR camera is marketed
The flagship model with innovative features such as the refined acquisition of subjects in motion and an expanded sensitivity range, that is responsive to a wide variety of scenes and subjects.
Achieved a total production of 100 million NIKKOR lenses for interchangeable lens cameras
Nikon's first action cameras KeyMission 360, KeyMission 170, and KeyMission 80 are announced
Nikon's first action camera KeyMission Series featuring water- and impact-resistance to withstand harsh environments and Nikon's world-class optical and image-processing technologies to satisfy the high expectations of adventurers who challenge the limits.
U.K.'s Mark Roberts Motion Control Limited becomes a wholly owned subsidiary
WX series binoculars are marketed
Feature a super-wide field of view while assuring a sharp and clear image across the entire field of view. These binoculars are a new series of high-performance models and ideal for astronomical observation. The image shows WX 7x50 IF binoculars.
Nikon celebrates its 100th anniversary
As part of Nikon's 100th anniversary projects, we developed a 100th anniversary logo. We also released 100th anniversary products and held events/campaigns all over the world.
D850 digital SLR camera is marketed
The D850 has an effective pixel count of 45.7 megapixels, and continuous shooting speeds of up to approximately 9 fps. It supports full-frame 4K UHD (3840x2160) movie recording to expand possibilities for imaging expressions.
FPD Lithography Systems FX-103SH and FX-103S are marketed
Support the Gen 10.5 plate size. The FX-103SH and FX-103S are FPD lithography systems optimized for the mass production of 4K and 8K TVs, LCD panels for high-definition tablets and organic light emitting diode (OLED) panels.
FX-format mirrorless camera Z 7 is marketed
The Z 7 is the first FX-format mirrorless camera employing the newly developed Nikon Z mount system.
The development of the Z mount system started with a simple idea:to capture space as it really is. Based on the diverse array of knowledge accumulated during the 59-year history of the F mount, optical design that can transmit light to an image sensor in its purest form was pursued. This resulted in the creation of a new mount featuring a 55-mm inner diameter and 16-mm flange focal distance. As the core of the Z mount system, it provides tremendous possibilities for raising optical performance to a different dimension. With the greatly enhanced flexibility of lens design, advanced lenses that deliver outstanding performance in brightness, resolution and focus accuracy can be created, while unique lenses such as an extremely fast lens, a lens offering an unprecedented focal length, and a lens with individual rendering characteristics have also been made possible.
Adopting a backside illumination CMOS sensor with focal-plane phase-detection AF pixels, the Z 7 provides 45.7 effective megapixels while supporting a standard sensitivity range of ISO 64 to 25600. The 493 focus points enable broad coverage of approximately 90% of the imaging area both horizontally and vertically. An electronic viewfinder that utilizes superior optical and image-processing technologies achieves a clear and natural view. The compact and light body realized by a mirrorless camera ensures secure shooting with an easy-to-hold grip while also providing superb durability.
The newly developed Z mount system is adopted. With 45.7 effective megapixels, this high-pixel-count model can fully exploit the real value of NIKKOR Z lenses.
Lasermeister 100A optical processing machine is marketed
Based on the concept of becoming a "metal processing machine that can be handled by anybody", the optical processing machine Lasermeister 100A was developed with the goal of creating a brand-new market and industry in the world of monodzukuri (manufacturing).
The advanced optical technology and precision control technology that Nikon has long developed through manufacturing its semiconductor lithography systems known to be the "most precise machinery in history" enabled realization of a high-quality, smaller sized and less expensive processing machine.
This optical processing machine is a Nikon's proprietary metal processing machine that performs various metal processing with ease and high precision using laser. Its capability encompasses additive manufacturing as a 3D printer, laser marking and welding, along with even polishing.
The Nikon BioImaging Lab supporting drug discovery research is established in Boston
C3 eMotion, intelligent actuator unit for robotic joints of collaborative robot is marketed
The C3 eMotion operates under Nikon's proprietary double-encoder arrangement (containing two encoders), which enables detection of external forces and robot operation stoppage in response, direct teaching in which the robot can learn commands via direct manipulation by human users, and a wide range of other useful functions.
In the next generation, expectations for robots are rising, such as their function as future workers in production facilities, operating alongside human workers to cooperatively complete tasks. However, sophisticated skills and know-how are required to build robots, as they comprise a wide array of components.
The C3 eMotion realized more flexible and easier robot design based on the concept of "connect, control, cooperate".
The C3 eMotion is a robotic joint unit in which Nikon combines motors, speed reducers, motor drivers and brakes, as well as the encoders that have been one of Nikon's strength for a long time, in a single package. Utilizing multiple intelligent actuator units together facilitates easier building of robots by manufacturers as well as a wide range of other engineers — even those without know-how in robot design.
Example usage of the C3 eMotion
D6 digital SLR camera is marketed
The FX-format digital SLR flagship model that meets the needs of professional sport photographers and photojournalists with the most powerful AF performance in Nikon's history, high-speed continuous shooting and fast image transfer.