This patent application is assigned to
The following quote was obtained by the news editors from the background information supplied by the inventors: "In general, in order to manufacture a semiconductor device such as a semiconductor integrated circuit, various processings such as, for example, a film forming processing, an etching processing, an oxidation processing, and a diffusion processing are repeatedly performed in relation to a semiconductor wafer such as, for example, a silicon substrate. For example, a batch-type film forming process is adapted to form a thin film by accommodating a plurality of semiconductor wafers supported by a wafer boat in an oblong quartz processing container, and introducing a film forming gas into the processing container while heating the plurality of semiconductor wafers to a predetermined temperature under a vacuum atmosphere. See, e.g., Japanese Patent Laid Open Publication Hei 06-275608.
"When the film forming processings are repeatedly performed as described above, an unnecessary film may also be gradually adhered and deposited to, for example, an inner surface of the processing container. When the unnecessary film is peeled off and drops, particles occur which become the cause of reducing product yield. For this reason, in the past, for example, the unnecessary film was removed prior to the occurrence of peeling-off of the unnecessary film by managing an accumulation value of thicknesses of films formed on wafers and performing a maintenance processing such as, for example, a cleaning processing, regularly or irregularly prior to the occurrence of peeling-off."
In addition to the background information obtained for this patent application, VerticalNews journalists also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "According to a first viewpoint of the present disclosure, there is provided a film crack detecting apparatus provided in a film forming apparatus, which includes a processing container configured to accommodate an object to be processed and forms a thin film on a surface of the object, so as to perform a film crack detection operation. The film crack detecting apparatus includes a probe unit provided within the processing container, an elastic wave detecting unit attached to an end of the probe unit and configured to detect an elastic wave, and a determination unit configured to determine whether a maintenance of the processing container is necessary based on a detection result of the elastic wave detecting unit.
"The foregoing summary is illustrative only and is not intended to be in any way limiting. In addition to the illustrative aspects, embodiments, and features described above, further aspects, embodiments, and features will become apparent by reference to the drawings and the following detailed description.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
"FIG. 1 is a longitudinal cross-sectional view illustrating a configuration of a film forming apparatus to which a film crack detecting apparatus according to the present disclosure is attached.
"FIG. 2 is a partially enlarged cross-sectional view illustrating an attached state of the film crack detecting apparatus.
"FIG. 3 is a block diagram illustrating a configuration of a determination unit of the film crack detecting apparatus.
"FIG. 4 is a view illustrating a portion of a first modified embodiment of the film crack detecting apparatus of the present disclosure.
"FIGS. 5A and 5B are graphs illustrating the relationship between the loads and occurring film cracks.
"FIGS. 6A and 6B are views illustrating waveforms at a point where the intensity of elastic waves was the largest.
"FIG. 7 is a block diagram illustrating a portion of a second modified embodiment of the film crack detecting apparatus of the present disclosure.
"FIGS. 8A to 8C are graphs for analyzing the occurrence of micro-cracks obtained based on the data obtained in FIGS. 5A and 5B.
"FIGS. 9A to 9D are graphs illustrating the relationships of the AE original form waves and frequency distributions of the groups, respectively.
"FIG. 10 is a block diagram illustrating a portion of a third modified embodiment of the film crack detecting apparatus of the present disclosure.
"FIG. 11 is a schematic view illustrating a principal portion of a fourth modified embodiment of the film crack detecting apparatus of the present disclosure.
"FIG. 12 is a block diagram illustrating the configuration of a fourth modified embodiment.
"FIG. 13 is a diagram for describing the principle of specifying a film crack occurrence position.
"FIG. 14 is a schematic view illustrating a principal portion of a fifth modified embodiment of the film crack detecting apparatus of the present disclosure."
URL and more information on this patent application, see:
Keywords for this news article include: Electronics, Semiconductor,
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