News Column

Researchers Submit Patent Application, "Valve", for Approval

May 14, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Electronics Newsweekly -- From Washington, D.C., VerticalNews journalists report that a patent application by the inventors Borichevsky, Steven C. (Gloucester, MA); Bettencourt, Robert H. (Gloucester, MA), filed on October 19, 2012, was made available online on May 1, 2014.

The patent's assignee is Varian Semiconductor Equipment Associates, Inc.

News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Valves are used in various environments such as vacuum and fluid environments to isolate two regions from one another. Valves may also be used to control the flow of fluids and substances, and in some cases, harmful or corrosive substances from one region to another. Valves may be used in various types of processing systems such as in semiconductor fabrication processing where a vacuum condition facilitates treatment of a workpiece. One type of semiconductor fabrication processing occurs in an ion implanter that generates an ion beam to treat a workpiece such as a semiconductor wafer. Such ion implanters have different chambers to generate and control the ion beam and a valve may be used to connect various vacuum chambers within the ion implanter.

"A valve may be positioned between an ion source and a downstream chamber of an ion implanter such as a mass analysis chamber. The valve facilitates maintenance or changing of the ion source, since other portions of the ion implanter may be maintained under high vacuum conditions while the ion source may be vented to atmospheric conditions. Once the ion source has been maintained or changed, the valve may be reopened to allow an ion beam extracted from the ion source to pass there through. However, when the valve is open, deposits and debris originating from the ion source may form on components of the valve such as the gate causing damage to an extent that the valve cannot properly seal the ion source from other portions of the ion implanter.

"One conventional apparatus for protecting the valve requires enough physical space between each region such as the ion source and a downstream mass analysis region for a valve body to be positioned. During a closed position, the gate for the valve is positioned in the valve body. During an open position, the gate is retracted into a housing having a cover that then closes to protect the gate. Although this is effective for protecting the gate from harmful deposition, this type of valve protection is ineffective in protecting the sealing surface of the valve and requires physical space between two regions that may not be available. In addition, it also requires additional components and costs for the protective gate housing and cover.

"Accordingly, there is a need in the art for a valve that overcomes the above-described inadequacies and shortcomings."

As a supplement to the background information on this patent application, VerticalNews correspondents also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "According to a one aspect of the disclosure, a valve is provided. The valve includes a gate and an actuator. The gate has a gate opening with a first seal fixed to the gate and positioned along a periphery of the gate opening. The gate also has a blocking portion with a second seal fixed to the gate and positioned along a periphery of the blocking portion. The actuator is configured to move the gate between an open position and a closed position, wherein the gate opening is aligned to a chamber opening in a chamber wall and the first seal engages a sealing surface of the chamber wall in the open position and wherein the blocking portion is aligned to the chamber opening and the second seal engages the sealing surface of the chamber wall in the closed position.

"According to another aspect of the disclosure, a method of operating a valve is provided. The method includes moving a gate having a gate opening with a first seal fixed to the gate and positioned along a periphery of the gate opening to an open position where the gate opening is aligned to a chamber opening in a chamber wall and the first seal engages a sealing surface of the chamber wall, and moving the gate to a closed position, the gate also having a blocking portion with a second seal fixed to the gate and positioned along a periphery of the blocking portion, where the blocking portion is aligned to the chamber opening and the second seal engages the sealing surface of the chamber wall.

"According to yet another aspect of the disclosure, an ion implanter is provided. The ion implanter includes: a first chamber housing defining a first chamber, the first chamber housing having a chamber wall defining a first aperture; a second chamber housing defining a second chamber, the second chamber coupled to the first chamber; a vacuum pumping system configured to maintain the first chamber and the second chamber at a vacuum condition; a gate positioned in the second chamber, the gate having a gate opening with a first seal fixed to the gate and positioned along a periphery of the gate opening, the gate also having a blocking portion with a second seal fixed to the gate and positioned along a periphery of the blocking portion; and an actuator. The actuator is configured to move the gate between an open position and a closed position, wherein the gate opening is aligned to the aperture and the first seal engages a sealing surface of the chamber wall in the open position and wherein the blocking portion is aligned to the opening in the chamber wall and the second seal engages the sealing surface of the chamber wall in the closed position.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

"For a better understanding of the present disclosure, reference is made to the accompanying drawings, in which like elements are referenced with like numerals, and in which:

"FIG. 1 is a block diagram of an ion implanter having a valve consistent with the present disclosure;

"FIG. 2 is a plan view of a gate of a valve consistent with the present disclosure;

"FIG. 3 is a cross sectional view of the gate of FIG. 2 taken along the line 3-3 of FIG. 2;

"FIG. 4 is a cross sectional view of the gate of FIG. 2 and an associated chamber wall with the gate positioned in an open position;

"FIG. 5 is a cross sectional view of the gate of FIG. 2 and an associated chamber wall with the gate positioned in a closed position; and

"FIG. 6 is a plan view of another embodiment of a gate of a valve consistent with the present disclosure."

For additional information on this patent application, see: Borichevsky, Steven C.; Bettencourt, Robert H. Valve. Filed October 19, 2012 and posted May 1, 2014. Patent URL: http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.html&r=5124&p=103&f=G&l=50&d=PG01&S1=20140424.PD.&OS=PD/20140424&RS=PD/20140424

Keywords for this news article include: Electronics, Varian Semiconductor Equipment Associates Inc.

Our reports deliver fact-based news of research and discoveries from around the world. Copyright 2014, NewsRx LLC


For more stories covering the world of technology, please see HispanicBusiness' Tech Channel



Source: Electronics Newsweekly