News Column

Patent Issued for Apparatus for Forming a Magnetic Field and Methods of Use

July 23, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Electronics Newsweekly -- Applied Materials, Inc. (Santa Clara, CA) has been issued patent number 8773020, according to news reporting originating out of Alexandria, Virginia, by VerticalNews editors.

The patent's inventors are Leray, Gary (Mountain view, CA); Rauf, Shahid (Pleasanton, CA); Todorow, Valentin N. (Palo Alto, CA).

This patent was filed on April 29, 2011 and was published online on July 8, 2014.

From the background information supplied by the inventors, news correspondents obtained the following quote: "Plasma enhanced substrate processing is commonly used, for example, in the manufacture of semiconductor devices and integrated circuits. Such processing generally includes introducing a process gas into a process chamber having a substrate, such as a semiconductor wafer, disposed therein and applying sufficient energy to the process gas to form a plasma over the substrate. The plasma contains dissociated and ionized components as well as neutral components that operate to assist the process being performed on the substrate (such as deposition, etching, and the like). Although the constituents of the plasma are beneficial for assisting or carrying out the process on the substrate, unconstrained plasma components may impinge on the substrate and/or chamber components causing damage. In addition, plasma non-uniformities may lead to non-uniform processing of substrates.

"To control the plasma, conventional process chambers may include a magnetic field forming device configured to produce a magnetic field within the process chamber to constrain plasma components. However, the magnetic field produced by such conventional configurations typically comprise non-parallel and non-planar magnetic field lines, resulting in non-uniform plasma confinement, and therefore, non-uniform processing of the substrate.

"Therefore, the inventors have provided an improved apparatus for controlling a plasma and methods of use thereof."

Supplementing the background information on this patent, VerticalNews reporters also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent: "Apparatus for forming a magnetic field and methods of use thereof are provided herein. In some embodiments, a plurality of coils having substantially similar dimensions disposed about a process chamber in a symmetric pattern centered about a central axis of the process chamber, wherein the plurality of coils are configured to produce a magnetic field having a plurality of magnetic field lines that are substantially planar and substantially parallel. In some embodiments, the plurality of coils comprises eight coils disposed about the process chamber, wherein each of the eight coils is offset by an angle of about 45 degrees from respective adjacent coils of the eight coils.

"In some embodiments, a method performed in a process chamber comprising a plurality of coils having substantially similar dimensions disposed symmetrically about an exterior of the process chamber with respect to a central axis of the process chamber is provided. In some embodiments, a method may include providing a first current to two opposing coils selected from the plurality of coils; and concurrently providing a second current to coils adjacent to the two opposing coils to create a magnetic field in a first vector direction having magnetic field lines that are substantially planar and substantially parallel throughout a region of the magnetic field disposed above a substrate support of the process chamber, wherein a size of the region corresponds to a size of the substrate support.

"In some embodiments, a process chamber may include: a substrate support disposed within the process chamber; and an apparatus for forming a magnetic field disposed proximate the substrate support to form a magnetic field proximate a top surface of a substrate disposed atop the substrate support, the apparatus for forming the magnetic field comprising: a plurality of coils having substantially similar dimensions disposed about the process chamber in a symmetric pattern centered about a central axis of the process chamber, wherein the plurality of coils are configured to produce a magnetic field having a plurality of magnetic field lines that are substantially planar and substantially parallel; and at least one power source coupled to the plurality of coils and configured to selectively provide current to at least two groups of coils selected from the plurality of coils.

"Other and further embodiments of the present invention are described below."

For the URL and additional information on this patent, see: Leray, Gary; Rauf, Shahid; Todorow, Valentin N.. Apparatus for Forming a Magnetic Field and Methods of Use. U.S. Patent Number 8773020, filed April 29, 2011, and published online on July 8, 2014. Patent URL: http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=8773020.PN.&OS=PN/8773020RS=PN/8773020

Keywords for this news article include: Electronics, Semiconductor, Applied Materials Inc..

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Source: Electronics Newsweekly


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