News Column

Researchers Submit Patent Application, "Common Deposition Platform, Processing Station, and Method of Operation Thereof", for Approval

August 19, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Life Science Weekly -- From Washington, D.C., NewsRx journalists report that a patent application by the inventors NEIL, Morrison (Buedingen, DE); DIEGUEZ-CAMPO, Jose Manuel (Hanau, DE); LANDGRAF, Heike (Bruchkobel, DE); STOLLEY, Tobias (Oberursel, DE); HEIN, Stefan (Blankenbach, DE); RIES, Florian (Westerngrund, DE); BUSCHBECK, Wolfgang (Hanau, DE), filed on April 26, 2013, was made available online on August 7, 2014 (see also Applied Materials, Inc.).

The patent's assignee is Applied Materials, Inc.

News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Processing of flexible substrates, such as plastic films or foils, is in high demand in the packaging industry, semiconductor industries and other industries. Processing may consist of coating of a flexible substrate with a desired material, such as a metal, in particular aluminum. Systems performing this task generally include a processing drum, e.g., a cylindrical roller, coupled to a processing system for transporting the substrate, and on which at least a portion of the substrate is processed. Roll-to-roll coating systems can, thereby, provide a high throughput system.

"Typically, an evaporation process, such as a thermal evaporation process, can be utilized for depositing thin layers of metals which can be metallized onto flexible substrates. However, Roll-to-Roll deposition systems are also experiencing a strong increase in demand in the display industry and the photovoltaic (PV) industry. For example, touch panel elements, flexible displays, and flexible PV modules result in an increasing demand of depositing suitable layers in Roll-to-Roll coaters, particularly with low manufacturing costs. However, such devices typically have several layers, which are typically manufactured with CVD processes and particularly also PECVD processes.

"The combination of several CVD, PECVD and/or PVD sources working with different gas mixtures and/or different working pressures faces the need of an excellent process gas separation to avoid cross contamination effects in the subsequent process steps and to ensure the long term process stability. Thereby, as compared to the state of the art, a gas separation level should beneficially be improved by at least a few orders of magnitude. Typically the deposition of complex thin film layer structures are performed subsequent in different R2R coaters, each one designed to the needs of the special deposition technique. However, this concept results in high costs of ownership (CoO) for the manufacturing equipment.

"In some Roll-to-Roll coating machines, the compartments, e.g. sputter compartments, can be separated by a slit which follows the curvature of the coating drum. The gas separation is strongly dependent on the slit width between the coating drum and the gas separation unit and on the length of the slit. The optimal gas separation factor is achieved when the slit width is as small as possible. The slit width depends on the adjustment of the gas separation unit, the thickness of the plastic film and the temperature of the coating drum. Since the diameter of the coating drum increases with temperature, the gas separation slit is adjusted for the maximum specified coating drum temperature (e.g. 80.degree. C.) and the maximum plastic film thickness (e.g. up to 500 micron). If thinner films and lower drum temperatures are to be processed with such a set-up, the only way to improve this situation is a new geometrical adjustment of the gas separation walls for the given process conditions. If this is done, the operator of the machine must be aware of the fact that under different process conditions, such as, with higher coating drum temperature, the diameter of the coating drum will expand and there is a chance that the separation walls will come into contact mechanically with the rotating coating drum. This results in a dramatic failure for the operator because the coating drum is scratched and a long and expensive re-work of the coating drum is unavoidable. Therefore, a gas separation adjustment for low coating temperatures is almost never done in real life.

"OLED displays have gained significant interest recently in display applications in view of their faster response times, larger viewing angles, higher contrast, lighter weight, lower power, and amenability to flexible substrates, as compared to liquid crystal displays (LCD). In addition to organic materials used in OLEDs, many polymer materials are also developed for small molecule, flexible organic light emitting diode (FOLED) and polymer light emitting diode (PLED) displays. Many of these organic and polymer materials are flexible for the fabrication of complex, multi-layer devices on a range of substrates, making them ideal for various transparent multi-color display applications, such as thin flat panel displays (FPD), electrically pumped organic lasers, and organic optical amplifiers.

"Over the years, layers in display devices have evolved into multiple layers with each layer serving a different function. Depositing multiple layers onto multiple substrates may require multiple processing chambers. Transferring multiple substrates through multiple processing chambers may decrease substrate throughput. Therefore, there is a need in the art for an efficient method and apparatus for processing such OLED structures and other modern more sophisticated devices to ensure substrate throughput is maximized and substrate transferring is decreased."

As a supplement to the background information on this patent application, NewsRx correspondents also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "In light of the above, an apparatus for coating a thin film on a substrate according to an independent claim and a method of providing a gas separation between two deposition sources of a deposition apparatus according to an independent claim are provided. Further aspects, advantages, and features of the present invention are apparent from the dependent claims, the description, and the accompanying drawings.

"According to one embodiment, an apparatus for depositing a thin film on a substrate is provided. The apparatus includes a substrate support having an outer surface for guiding the substrate along a surface of the substrate support through a first vacuum processing region and at least one second vacuum processing region, a first deposition sources corresponding to the first processing region and at least one second deposition source corresponding to the at least one second vacuum processing region, wherein at least the first deposition source includes: an electrode having a surface, wherein the surface of the electrode opposes the surface of the substrate support, a processing gas inlet and a processing gas outlet, wherein the processing gas inlet and the processing gas outlet are arranged at opposing sides of the surface of the electrode, and at least one separation gas inlet having one or more separation gas inlet openings, wherein the one or more separation gas inlet openings are at least provided at one of opposing sides of the surface of the electrode such that the processing gas inlet and/or the processing gas outlet are provided between the one or more separation gas inlet openings and the surface of the electrode. The apparatus further includes one or more vacuum flanges providing at least a further gas outlet between the first deposition source and the at least one second deposition source.

"According to another embodiment, a method of depositing at least two layers on a substrate with a first deposition source and at least one second deposition source is provided. The method includes guiding the substrate over a substrate support along a surface, providing a separation gas at at least two positions at opposing sides of at least the first deposition source, providing a process gas and exhausting the process gas between the at least two positions, and pumping at at least one vacuum outlet between the first deposition source and the at least one second deposition source.

"According to yet further embodiments, an apparatus for depositing a thin film on a substrate is provided. The method includes a substrate support having an outer surface for guiding the substrate along a surface of the substrate support through a first vacuum processing region and at least one second vacuum processing region, a first deposition station corresponding to the first processing region and at least one second deposition source corresponding to the at least one second vacuum processing region, wherein at least the first deposition station includes: an electrode having a surface, wherein the surface of the electrode opposes the surface of the substrate support, a processing gas inlet and a processing gas outlet, wherein the processing gas inlet and the processing gas outlet are arranged at opposing sides of the surface of the electrode, a first separation wall surround the surface of the electrode and the processing gas inlet and processing gas outlet, at least one separation gas inlet surrounding the first separation wall, and at least a second separation wall surround the at least one separation gas inlet. The apparatus further includes one or more vacuum flanges providing at least a further gas outlet between the first deposition station and the at least one second deposition source.

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. The accompanying drawings relate to embodiments of the invention and are described in the following:

"FIG. 1 shows a schematic view of a roll-to-roll deposition apparatus for depositing or coating the thin-film and having a gas separation unit according to embodiments described herein;

"FIG. 2 shows a schematic view of a further roll-to-roll deposition apparatus for depositing or coating the thin-film and having a gas separation unit according to embodiments described herein;

"FIGS. 3A and 3B show different schematic views of a further roll-to-roll deposition apparatus for depositing or coating the thin-film and having a gas separation unit according to embodiments described herein;

"FIG. 4 shows a schematic view of a further roll-to-roll deposition apparatus for depositing or coating the thin-film and having a gas separation unit according to embodiments described herein;

"FIG. 5 shows a schematic view of a further roll-to-roll deposition apparatus for depositing or coating the thin-film and having a gas separation unit according to embodiments described herein;

"FIG. 6 shows a schematic view of a deposition source as used in roll-to-toll deposition systems and apparatuses according to embodiments described herein;

"FIG. 7 shows a schematic view of a further roll-to-roll deposition apparatus for depositing or coating the thin-film on a flexible substrate according to embodiments described herein;

"FIG. 8 shows a schematic view of a further roll-to-roll deposition apparatus for depositing or coating the thin-film and having a gas separation unit according to embodiments described herein;

"FIG. 9 shows a schematic view of an interior portion of a vacuum chamber of a roll-to-roll deposition apparatus for depositing or coating the thin-film according to embodiments described herein;

"FIG. 10 shows a schematic view of a further roll-to-roll deposition apparatus for depositing or coating the thin-film and having a gas separation unit according to embodiments described herein;

"FIGS. 11A to 11C show schematic views of gas separation concepts of a gas separation unit in a roll-to-roll deposition apparatus according to embodiments described herein;

"FIG. 12 shows a schematic view of a deposition source according to embodiments described herein for a roll-to-roll deposition apparatus for depositing or coating the thin-film and showing a gas separation unit concept in a three dimensional view;

"FIGS. 13A and 13B show different schematic views of a further roll-to-roll deposition apparatus for depositing or coating the thin-film and having a plasma deposition source according to embodiments described herein;

"FIGS. 14A and 14B show different schematic views of a further roll-to-roll deposition apparatus for depositing or coating the thin-film and having a plasma deposition source according to embodiments described herein;

"FIG. 15 shows a flow chart illustrating methods for gas separation and/or substrate processing, wherein the position of a source element is varied to adjust a distance of a source element from the substrate according to embodiments described herein; and

"FIG. 16 shows a flow chart illustrating methods for depositing a thin film on a substrate including separation gas inlet according to embodiments described herein."

For additional information on this patent application, see: NEIL, Morrison; DIEGUEZ-CAMPO, Jose Manuel; LANDGRAF, Heike; STOLLEY, Tobias; HEIN, Stefan; RIES, Florian; BUSCHBECK, Wolfgang. Common Deposition Platform, Processing Station, and Method of Operation Thereof. Filed April 26, 2013 and posted August 7, 2014. Patent URL: http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.html&r=3072&p=62&f=G&l=50&d=PG01&S1=20140731.PD.&OS=PD/20140731&RS=PD/20140731

Keywords for this news article include: Electronics, Light-emitting Diode, Applied Materials 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: Life Science Weekly


Story Tools






HispanicBusiness.com Facebook Linkedin Twitter RSS Feed Email Alerts & Newsletters