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Patent Application Titled "Field Enhanced Inductively Coupled Plasma Processing Apparatus and Plasma Forming Method" Published Online

May 8, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Politics & Government Week -- According to news reporting originating from Washington, D.C., by VerticalNews journalists, a patent application by the inventor Lee, Soo-Hyun (Hwaseong-si, KR), filed on October 11, 2012, was made available online on April 24, 2014.

The assignee for this patent application is Smatek Co., Ltd.

Reporters obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "The present invention relates, in general, to semiconductor processing equipment and, more particularly, to an inductively coupled plasma processing apparatus and a plasma forming method.

"Generally, inductively coupled plasma (ICP) process reactors form plasma by inducing current into process gas disposed within a process chamber via one or more inductive coils disposed outside the process chamber. The inductive coils may be disposed externally and separated electrically from the chamber by, for example, a dielectric lid. For some of the plasma processes, a heater element may be disposed above the dielectric lid to make it easy to maintain a constant temperature in the chamber during a process and between processes.

"The heater may be an open break heater (e.g. a non-closed electrical loop) or a no break heater (e.g. a closed electrical loop). In embodiments where the heater element is an open break heater element, the heater element introduces plasma non-uniformity that can result, for example, in non-uniform etching rates of a substrate which is to be processed or in asymmetry in an etching pattern. This plasma non-uniformity can be eliminated by replacing the open break heater element with the no break heater element."

In addition to obtaining background information on this patent application, VerticalNews editors also obtained the inventor's summary information for this patent application: "However, RF energy delivered to inductive coils is also inductively coupled to the no break heater element, so that energy available for forming plasma in a process chamber is undesirably reduced (e.g. the no break heater element reduces a plasma strike window).

"Accordingly, there is a need for an improved inductively coupled plasma reactor.

"The present invention provides a field enhanced inductively coupled plasma processing apparatus and a plasma forming method.

"In an embodiment, a field enhanced inductively coupled plasma processing apparatus includes a process chamber having a dielectric lid, and a plasma source assembly disposed above the dielectric lid. The plasma source assembly includes at least one horizontal inductive coil configured to inductively couple RF energy into the process chamber to form and maintain plasma in the process chamber, at least one power applying electrode electrically connected to the horizontal inductive coil to capacitively couple the RF energy into the process chamber, a first positioning mechanism coupled to the power applying electrode to change a horizontal position of the power applying electrode, and an RF generator coupled to the at least one power applying electrode.

"In an embodiment, the field enhanced inductively coupled plasma processing apparatus may further include a vertical inductive coil connected to the horizontal inductive coil and disposed on a side of the dielectric lid, and a second positioning mechanism that can change the entire vertical position of the vertical inductive coil or changes the pitch of the vertical inductive coil.

"In an embodiment, a plasma forming method includes providing process gas to an internal volume of a process chamber, the process chamber having a dielectric lid and including at least one horizontal inductive coil disposed above the dielectric lid, at least one vertical inductive coil coupled to the horizontal inductive coil, and at least one power applying electrode electrically connected to the horizontal inductive coil; supplying RF power from an RF power source to the power applying electrode; forming plasma from the process gas using the RF power that is inductively coupled to the process gas by the horizontal and vertical inductive coils; and controlling at least one of plasma uniformity or ion density by changing at least one of a horizontal position of the power applying electrode, a pitch of the horizontal inductive coil, a position of the vertical inductive coil and a pitch of the vertical inductive coil.

"Therefore, the present invention provides a field enhanced inductively coupled plasma reactor and a method of using the reactor. The field enhanced inductively coupled plasma reactor of the present invention may advantageously improve the available RF power for striking plasma in the chamber without changing other plasma characteristics, such as the plasma uniformity or ion density. The field enhanced inductively coupled plasma reactor of the present invention may further advantageously control and/or adjust plasma characteristics such as uniformity and/or density during processing.

"Although the preferred embodiments of the present invention have been disclosed for illustrative purposes, those skilled in the art will appreciate that various modifications, additions and substitutions are possible, without departing from the scope and spirit of the invention as disclosed in the accompanying claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

"The above and other objects, features and advantages of the present invention will be more clearly understood from the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:

"FIG. 1 is a schematic side view showing a field enhanced inductively coupled plasma reactor in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;

"FIG. 2 is a schematic plan view showing a horizontal inductive coil, a vertical inductive coil and a power applying electrode of the field enhanced inductively coupled plasma reactor in accordance with the embodiment of the present invention;

"FIG. 3 is a schematic perspective view showing the horizontal inductive coil and the vertical inductive coil of the field enhanced inductively coupled plasma reactor in accordance with the embodiment of the present invention;

"FIG. 4 is a schematic plan view showing a heater element of the field enhanced inductively coupled plasma reactor in accordance with the embodiment of the present invention; and

"FIG. 5 is a flowchart showing a plasma forming method in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention."

For more information, see this patent application: Lee, Soo-Hyun. Field Enhanced Inductively Coupled Plasma Processing Apparatus and Plasma Forming Method. Filed October 11, 2012 and posted April 24, 2014. Patent URL: http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.html&r=6638&p=133&f=G&l=50&d=PG01&S1=20140417.PD.&OS=PD/20140417&RS=PD/20140417

Keywords for this news article include: Smatek Co. Ltd.

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Source: Politics & Government Week


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