News Column

"Joining Method and Joining System" in Patent Application Approval Process

September 3, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Electronics Newsweekly -- A patent application by the inventors Okada, Shinji (Kikuchi-gun, JP); Shiraishi, Masatoshi (Kikuchi-gun, JP); Deguchi, Masatoshi (Kikuchi-gun, JP), filed on August 3, 2012, was made available online on August 21, 2014, according to news reporting originating from Washington, D.C., by VerticalNews correspondents.

This patent application is assigned to Tokyo Electron Limited.

The following quote was obtained by the news editors from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Recently, semiconductor wafers (hereinafter, referred to as 'wafers') having large diameters are currently being developed, for example, in a process of manufacturing a semiconductor device. Also, thinner wafers are in demand for process such as mounting or the like. For example, if a thin wafer with a large diameter is transferred or polished as it is, there is a possibility that the wafer is warped or cracked. Therefore, in order to reinforce the wafer, the wafer is joined to, for example, a wafer or a glass substrate, which is a support substrate.

"Joining of such wafer and the support substrate is performed by interposing an adhesive between the wafer and the support substrate, for example, using a joining apparatus. The joining apparatus has, for example, a first holding member configured to hold the wafer, a second holding member configured to hold the support substrate, a heating mechanism configured to heat the adhesive arranged between the wafer and the support substrate, and a moving mechanism configured to move at least the first holding member or the second holding member in a vertical direction. Also, in the joining apparatus, after supplying the adhesive between the wafer and the support substrate and heating the adhesive, the wafer and the support substrate are pressed and thus joined together."

In addition to the background information obtained for this patent application, VerticalNews journalists also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "When the joining apparatus is used, if the wafer and the support substrate are pressed, the adhesive protrudes from a gap between the wafer and the support substrate. The protruding adhesive may adversely affect a transfer process or a processing process of the wafer and the support substrate. For example, in the transfer process, if the adhesive is stuck to a transfer device for transferring the wafer and support substrate, the adhesive may be stuck to another wafer or support substrate. In addition, when a processing process is performed, there may be case that the adhesive may be stuck to a processing device for performing predetermined processing on a wafer and a support substrate. In such cases, the wafer and the support substrate cannot be suitably joined.

"The present disclosure addresses the above points. In some embodiments of the disclosure an adhesive is prevented from protruding from a gap between a target substrate and a support substrate to appropriately join the target substrate and the support substrate.

"According to one embodiment of the present disclosure, there is provided a method of joining a target substrate and a support substrate, the method including: an adhesive coating operation that includes coating the target substrate or the support substrate with an adhesive; an adhesive removing operation that includes supplying a solvent of the adhesive onto an outer peripheral portion of the target substrate or the support substrate, which is coated with the adhesive in the adhesive coating operation, to thereby remove the adhesive on the outer peripheral portion; and a joining operation to press and join the target substrate, in which the adhesive on the outer peripheral portion is removed in the adhesive removing operation, and the support substrate coated with no adhesive, or pressing and joining the support substrate, in which the adhesive on the outer peripheral portion is removed in the adhesive removing operation, and the target substrate coated with no adhesive.

"According to the present disclosure, after the target substrate, for example, is coated with the adhesive in the adhesive coating operation, the adhesive on the outer peripheral portion of the target substrate is removed in the adhesive removing operation. In such a case, when the target substrate coated with the adhesive and the support substrate coated with no adhesive are pressed and joined to each other in the subsequent joining operation, the adhesive can be prevented from protruding from a gap between the target substrate and the support substrate. Accordingly, the adhesive is not stuck to a transfer device configured to transfer the target substrate, the support substrate and the stacked substrate or processing devices configured to perform predetermined processing on these substrates. Therefore, it is possible to appropriately join the target substrate and the support substrate. In addition, although it has been described above that the target substrate is coated with the adhesive and the adhesive on the outer peripheral portion of the target substrate is removed, the support substrate may be coated with the adhesive and the adhesive on the outer peripheral portion of the support substrate may be removed.

"According to another aspect of the present disclosure, there is provided a computer readable storage medium having a program stored thereon, the program operating on a computer of a control unit configured to control a joining system to perform a method of joining a target substrate and a support substrate to be processed using the joining system, wherein the joining method includes: an adhesive coating operation to coat the target substrate or the support substrate with an adhesive; an adhesive removing operation to supply a solvent of the adhesive on an outer peripheral portion of the target substrate or the support substrate, which is coated with the adhesive in the adhesive coating operation, thereby removing adhesive on the outer peripheral portion; and a joining operation to press and join the target substrate, in which the adhesive on the outer peripheral portion is removed in the adhesive removing operation, and the support substrate coated with no adhesive, or press and join the support substrate, in which the adhesive on the outer peripheral portion is removed in the adhesive removing operation, and the target substrate coated with no adhesive.

"According to still another aspect of the present disclosure, there is provided a joining system for joining a target substrate to be processed and a support substrate, including: an adhesive supply unit configured to supply and coat the target substrate or the support substrate with an adhesive; a solvent supply unit configured to supply a solvent of the adhesive onto an outer peripheral portion of the target substrate or the support substrate, which is coated with the adhesive by the adhesive supply unit, thereby removing the adhesive on the outer peripheral portion; and a joining device configured to press and join the target substrate, in which the adhesive on the outer peripheral portion is removed by the solvent supply unit, and the support substrate coated with no adhesive, or to press and join the support substrate, in which the adhesive on the outer peripheral portion is removed by the solvent supply unit, and the target substrate coated with no adhesive.

"According to some embodiments of the present disclosure, an adhesive is prevented from protruding from a gap between a target substrate, and a support substrate to thereby appropriately join the target substrate and the support substrate.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

"FIG. 1 is a plan view schematically showing a configuration of a joining system according to an embodiment.

"FIG. 2 is a side view schematically showing an internal configuration of the joining system according to an embodiment.

"FIG. 3 is a side view of a target wafer and a support wafer.

"FIG. 4 is a transverse sectional view schematically showing a configuration of a joining device.

"FIG. 5 is a plan view schematically showing a configuration of a delivery unit.

"FIG. 6 is a plan view schematically showing a configuration of a delivery arm.

"FIG. 7 is a side view schematically showing a configuration of a delivery arm.

"FIG. 8 is a plan view schematically showing a configuration of a reversing unit.

"FIG. 9 is a side view schematically showing the configuration of a reversing unit.

"FIG. 10 is a side view schematically showing the configuration of a reversing unit.

"FIG. 11 is a side view schematically showing a configuration of a holding arm and holding members.

"FIG. 12 is an explanatory view illustrating a positional relationship between a delivery unit and a reversing unit.

"FIG. 13 is a side view schematically showing a configuration of a transfer unit.

"FIG. 14 is an explanatory view illustrating a transfer unit arranged in a joining device.

"FIG. 15 is a plan view schematically showing a configuration of a first transfer arm.

"FIG. 16 is a side view schematically showing a configuration of a first transfer arm.

"FIG. 17 is a plan view schematically showing a configuration of a second transfer arm.

"FIG. 18 is a side view schematically showing a configuration of a second transfer arm.

"FIG. 19 is an explanatory view showing cutouts formed in a second holding unit.

"FIG. 20 is a longitudinal sectional view schematically showing a configuration of a joining unit.

"FIG. 21 is a longitudinal sectional view schematically showing a configuration of a joining unit.

"FIG. 22 is a longitudinal sectional view schematically showing a configuration of a coating device.

"FIG. 23 is a transverse sectional view schematically showing a configuration of a coating device.

"FIG. 24 is a longitudinal sectional view schematically showing a configuration of a heat processing device.

"FIG. 25 is a transverse sectional view schematically showing a configuration of a heat processing device.

"FIG. 26 is a flowchart showing main operations of the joining process.

"FIG. 27 is an explanatory view illustrating a state where an adhesive on an outer peripheral portion of a target wafer has been removed.

"FIG. 28 is an explanatory view illustrating a state where an adhesive on an outer peripheral portion of a target wafer has been removed.

"FIG. 29 is an explanatory view illustrating a state where a first holding unit is lifted.

"FIG. 30 is an explanatory view illustrating a state where a central portion of a second holding unit is bent.

"FIG. 31 is an explanatory view illustrating a state where an entire joint surface of a support wafer makes contact with an entire joint surface of a target wafer.

"FIG. 32 is an explanatory view illustrating a state where a target wafer and the support wafer are joined.

"FIG. 33 is an explanatory view illustrating a state where an outside adhesive protrudes from an outer lateral side of a stacked wafer.

"FIG. 34 is a side view schematically showing an internal configuration of a joining system according to another embodiment.

"FIG. 35 is a longitudinal sectional view schematically showing a configuration of a coating device according to another embodiment.

"FIG. 36 is a longitudinal sectional view schematically showing a configuration of another adhesive removal device.

"FIG. 37 is a transverse sectional view schematically showing a configuration of the other adhesive removal device.

"FIG. 38 is a longitudinal sectional view schematically showing a configuration of another solvent supply unit."

URL and more information on this patent application, see: Okada, Shinji; Shiraishi, Masatoshi; Deguchi, Masatoshi. Joining Method and Joining System. Filed August 3, 2012 and posted August 21, 2014. Patent URL: http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.html&r=5351&p=108&f=G&l=50&d=PG01&S1=20140814.PD.&OS=PD/20140814&RS=PD/20140814

Keywords for this news article include: Electronics, Semiconductor, Tokyo Electron Limited.

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Source: Electronics Newsweekly


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