Patent number 8619231 is assigned to
The following quote was obtained by the news editors from the background information supplied by the inventors: "The present invention relates to a method of cleaning a member, used at the time of exposing a substrate via liquid, which is in contact with the liquid. Further, the invention relates to an exposure method of exposing the substrate via the liquid and a device manufacturing method.
"In a photolithography process at the time of a manufacturing process of micro-devices such as semiconductor devices and liquid crystal display devices, patterns formed on a mask by illuminating the mask with exposure light are projected and exposed on a photosensitive substrate. In response to the increasing high density of micro-devices in recent years, substantial miniaturization of the patterns formed on the substrate in the photolithography process has been demanded. As one means for realizing such miniaturization of the patterns, a liquid immersion method as disclosed in PCT International Publication No. WO 99/49504 has been proposed in which the light path space of exposure light located between a projection optical system and a substrate is filled with liquid, and the substrate is exposed via the liquid."
In addition to the background information obtained for this patent, NewsRx journalists also obtained the inventor's summary information for this patent: "In the case of performing exposure using the liquid immersion method, when a foreign substance adheres to members which are in contact with liquid, such as a nozzle member for supplying the liquid, there is a possibility that these members may be unable to maintain the desired performance. In addition, when the members which are in contact with the liquid are contaminated, there is a possibility that the liquid may be contaminated by contacting the members. When the contaminated liquid is filled in the light path space of the exposure light, the mask pattern image is deteriorated, and thus the desired exposure accuracy is not obtained.
"An object of some aspects of the present invention is to provide a method of cleaning a member which is in contact with a liquid. In addition, another object thereof is to provide an exposure method capable of performing an exposure process with good accuracy via the liquid, and a device manufacturing method.
"According to a first aspect of the present invention, provided is a method of cleaning a member, used at the time of exposing the substrate via liquid, which is in contact with the liquid, the method including cleaning the member with an alkali solution followed by cleaning the member with a solution including hydrogen peroxide.
"According to a second aspect of the present invention, an exposure method is provided, including: exposing a substrate by illuminating the substrate with exposure light via liquid; and cleaning a member which is in contact with the liquid by using the cleaning method according to the first aspect.
"According to a third aspect of the present invention, a device manufacturing method using the exposure method according to the second aspect is provided.
"According to some aspects of the present invention, the members which are in contact with the liquid in the liquid immersion exposure method are configured so that the contaminants adhered to the surfaces of the members are removed, and thus the desired performance of the members can be maintained. In addition, it is possible to prevent the liquid contacting the members from being contaminated. As a result, it is possible to prevent the mask pattern image from being deteriorated, and to maintain the desired exposure accuracy."
URL and more information on this patent, see:
Keywords for this news article include: Electronics, Photolithography,
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