The patent's assignee is
News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Embodiments of the present invention generally relate to an apparatus and method for controlling radiation from an aperture.
"To match the constant demand for smaller and more powerful devices, the size of integrated components on semiconductors has decreased. As features on semiconductor devices become smaller, higher resolution is needed for light used in processes such as photolithography and thermal processing. Radiation uniformity and control are critical capabilities of any photolithography or radiation thermal processing system used for semiconductor applications.
"Advanced anneal devices use apertures to process one field at a time. The aperture is imaged on the wafer and only the transmissive area of the aperture is processed. Instead of processing the full field, one can mask or block some areas where process is not needed or desired.
"As light comes in contact with an obstacle, such as the edge of an aperture or the edge of a lithographic mask, the light can be diffracted by the obstacle. The diffraction of the light can create edges, round corners or other effects in the exposed photoresist or annealed section which did not exist in the design of the aperture or mask.
"Optical Proximity Correction (OPC) has been used to accommodate for the expected distortions of the light created by known obstacles in photolithography. This may be driven by pre-computed look-up tables based on width and spacing between features (rule based OPC) or by using compact models to dynamically simulate the final pattern and thereby drive the movement of edges, typically broken into sections, to find the best solution (model based OPC).
"As features become more compact, radiation uniformity and control in optical thermal processing must be increased to accommodate. Current systems are able to achieve non-uniformity of approximately 3%. However, further improvement is needed as demands on manufacturing capabilities continue to increase.
"Thus, there is a need in the art for methods and apparatus which allow for increased non-uniformity and thereby increased throughput in optics based semiconductor processing."
As a supplement to the background information on this patent application, VerticalNews correspondents also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "In one embodiment, a device for processing a substrate can include a thermal annealing radiation source, and an aperture positioned to receive radiant energy from the thermal annealing radiation source. The aperture can include at least one transmissive member, and an energy blocking member. The energy blocking member can include an interfering area, wherein the interfering area defines a transmissive area through the transmissive members. Further, the device can include at least one structure affecting transmission of radiant energy through a portion of the transmissive area of the aperture.
"In another embodiment, a device for processing a substrate can include a thermal annealing radiation source which provides radiant energy, and an aperture positioned to receive radiant energy from the thermal annealing radiation source. The aperture can include at least one transmissive member, one or more first structures comprising an interfering area formed on or in the transmissive member, and a transmissive area. The transmissive area, in this embodiment, is defined by the first structures. The device can also include one or more second structures which are disposed in at least a portion of the transmissive area of the aperture.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
"So that the manner in which the above recited features of the present invention can be understood in detail, a more particular description of the invention, briefly summarized above, may be had by reference to embodiments, some of which are illustrated in the appended drawings. It is to be noted, however, that the appended drawings illustrate only typical embodiments of this invention and are therefore not to be considered limiting of its scope, for the invention may admit to other equally effective embodiments.
"FIGS. 1A and 1B illustrate a side view of an aperture according to one or more embodiments.
"FIG. 2 illustrates an aperture controlling transmission of radiant energy to a substrate.
"FIGS. 3A-3D illustrate alternative embodiments of an aperture with optical proximity correction.
"FIGS. 4A-4D illustrate alternative embodiments of an aperture with intensity correction.
"To facilitate understanding, identical reference numerals have been used, where possible, to designate identical elements that are common to the figures. It is contemplated that elements disclosed in one embodiment may be beneficially utilized on other embodiments without specific recitation."
For additional information on this patent application, see: Sade, Amikam; Moffatt, Stephen;
Keywords for this news article include: Electronics, Semiconductor, Photolithography,
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