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Patent Issued for Reduction of a Process Volume of a Processing Chamber Using a Nested Dynamic Inert Volume

August 27, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Journal of Engineering -- From Alexandria, Virginia, VerticalNews journalists report that a patent by the inventor Lee, James F. (Damascus, OR), filed on February 23, 2012, was published online on August 12, 2014.

The patent's assignee for patent number 8801950 is Novellus Systems, Inc. (San Jose, CA).

News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "The background description provided herein is for the purpose of generally presenting the context of the disclosure. Work of the presently named inventors, to the extent the work is described in this background section, as well as aspects of the description that may not otherwise qualify as prior art at the time of filing, are neither expressly nor impliedly admitted as prior art against the present disclosure.

"Some semiconductor processing systems employ chemical vapor deposition (CVD), plasma-enhanced CVD (PECVD), atomic layer deposition (ALD), plasma-enhanced ALD (PEALD) and/or conformal film deposition (CFD) to deposit thin films on a substrate in a processing chamber. To create the film, one or more precursors need to be supplied to the processing chamber. A delivery system may be used to controllably deliver vaporized precursor to the processing chamber. When the film has been deposited, the precursor gas is evacuated from the processing chamber. Generally, the precursor gas is delivered at a predetermined concentration. Therefore, the volume in the processing chamber has an impact on the amount of precursor gas that is needed. As can be appreciated, the precursor gas may be relatively expensive."

As a supplement to the background information on this patent, VerticalNews correspondents also obtained the inventor's summary information for this patent: "This section provides a general summary of the disclosure, and is not a comprehensive disclosure of its full scope or all of its features.

"A substrate processing chamber includes a lift actuator that moves a pedestal between a substrate loading position and a substrate processing position. An adjustable seal defines an expandable sealed volume between a bottom surface of the pedestal and a bottom surface of the substrate processing chamber and is moveable between the substrate loading position and the substrate processing position. When the pedestal is in the substrate processing position, the pedestal and the adjustable seal define a first inert volume and a first process volume. When the pedestal is in the substrate loading position, the pedestal and the adjustable seal define a second inert volume and a second process volume. The second inert volume is less than the first inert volume and the second process volume is greater than the first process volume.

"In other features, the lift actuator comprises a first bellows and the adjustable seal comprises a second bellows. The substrate loading position of the first bellows corresponds to an expanded position and the substrate processing position of the first bellows corresponds to a contracted position. The substrate loading position of the second bellows corresponds to a contracted position and the substrate processing position of the second bellows corresponds to an expanded position.

"In other features, a controller maintains a predetermined pressure difference between the process volume and the inert volume. The controller adjusts positions of the lift actuator and the adjustable seal. The first inert volume is greater than the first process volume.

"A method includes using an adjustable seal to define an expandable sealed volume between a bottom surface of a pedestal and a bottom surface of a substrate processing chamber; and moving a pedestal of a substrate processing chamber between a substrate loading position and a substrate processing position. The method includes defining a first inert volume and a first process volume when the pedestal is in the substrate processing position. The method includes defining a second inert volume and a second process volume when the pedestal is in the substrate loading position. The second inert volume is less than the first inert volume and the second process volume is greater than the first process volume.

"In other features, the method includes moving the pedestal using a first bellows and forming the adjustable seal using a second bellows. When moving to the substrate loading position, the method includes expanding the first bellows and contracting the second bellows. When moving to the substrate processing position, the method includes expanding the second bellows and contracting the first bellows.

"In other features, the method includes maintaining a predetermined pressure difference between the process volume and the inert volume. The first inert volume is greater than the first process volume.

"Further areas of applicability will become apparent from the description provided herein. The description and specific examples in this summary are intended for purposes of illustration only and are not intended to limit the scope of the present disclosure."

For additional information on this patent, see: Lee, James F.. Reduction of a Process Volume of a Processing Chamber Using a Nested Dynamic Inert Volume. U.S. Patent Number 8801950, filed February 23, 2012, and published online on August 12, 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=8801950.PN.&OS=PN/8801950RS=PN/8801950

Keywords for this news article include: Novellus Systems Inc.

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Source: Journal of Engineering


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