News Column

Patent Issued for Multi-Generational Carrier Platform

September 3, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Electronics Newsweekly -- According to news reporting originating from Alexandria, Virginia, by VerticalNews journalists, a patent by the inventor Lofaro, Michael F. (Hopewell Junction, NY), filed on September 20, 2011, was published online on August 19, 2014.

The assignee for this patent, patent number 8807318, is International Business Machines Corporation (Armonk, NY).

Reporters obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "The present disclosure generally relates to a multi-generational carrier platform and methods for operating the same.

"Semiconductor manufacturing employs various generations of substrates having different diameters. Specifically, the diameter of semiconductor substrates has increased at each generation of semiconductor substrate. Historically, 100 mm semiconductor substrates (i.e., semiconductor substrates having a diameter of 100 mm, 125 mm semiconductor substrates, 150 mm semiconductor substrate, 200 mm semiconductor substrates, and 300 mm semiconductor substrates have been sequentially introduced in the past. The semiconductor industry is currently making progress for introducing 450 mm semiconductor substrates.

"A change in the diameter of semiconductor substrate typically requires a different tooling. However, some tools are compatible with multiple generations of semiconductor substrates. One such example is an apparatus for chemical mechanical planarization that provides a planarization area compatible with polishing substrates having different diameters. Other processing apparatuses may also be compatible with loading substrates having different diameters."

In addition to obtaining background information on this patent, VerticalNews editors also obtained the inventor's summary information for this patent: "A multi-generational carrier platform is configured to carry substrate carriers of different sizes depending on processing needs. Multiple carrier adaptors are provided on one side of a support plate, and substrate carriers can be distributed among the carrier adaptors to mount a maximum number of substrates under the constraint of non-overlap of the substrates and the substrate carriers. The multi-generational carrier platform can be configured to provide rotation to each substrate carrier mounted thereupon, and is compatible with chemical mechanical planarization processes that require rotation of substrates against an abrasive surface. The multi-generational carrier platform facilitates maximum utilization of a processing area provided by a tool configured to process substrates of different sizes.

"According to an aspect of the present disclosure, an apparatus including a carrier platform is provided. The carrier platform includes: a support plate including N holes therein, wherein N is an integer greater than 2; N shafts; and N carrier adaptors. Each of the N shafts straddles through one of the N holes, has an end portion that protrudes out of a surface of the support plate at one side of the support plate, and is attached to a motion-transferring assembly that is configured to rotate the N shafts around their respective axes at an opposite side of the support plate. Each of the N carrier adaptors is attached to each of the N end portions and configured to hold a substrate carrier.

"According to another aspect of the present disclosure, a method of operating an apparatus is provided, which includes: providing apparatus including a carrier platform. The carrier platform includes: a support plate including N holes therein, wherein N is an integer greater than 2; N shafts; and N carrier adaptors. The method further includes mounting a set of at least one substrate carrier on a subset of the N carrier adaptors. Each of the N shafts straddles through one of the N holes, has an end portion that protrudes out of a surface of the support plate at one side of the support plate, and is attached to a motion-transferring assembly that is configured to rotate the N shafts around their respective axes at an opposite side of the support plate. Each of the N carrier adaptors is attached to each of the N end portions;

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS

"In the various drawings, x, y, and z directions refer to three orthogonal directions in a Cartesian coordinate system that has been selected for the purpose of illustration of the various structures of the present disclosure.

"FIG. 1A is a top view of a substrate carrier according to an embodiment of the present disclosure.

"FIG. 1B is a cross-sectional view of the substrate carrier in FIG. 1A along a vertical plane B-B' according to an embodiment of the present disclosure.

"FIG. 2A is a side view of a first exemplary system including a multi-generational carrier platform, at least one substrate carrier, a platform transport system, and a processing apparatus for processing at least one substrate in a face-up position according to a first embodiment of the present disclosure.

"FIG. 2B is a front view of the first exemplary system of FIG. 2A according to the first embodiment of the present disclosure.

"FIG. 3A is a side view of a second exemplary system including a multi-generational carrier platform, at least one substrate carrier, a platform transport system, and a processing apparatus for processing at least one substrate in a face-down configuration according to a second embodiment of the present disclosure.

"FIG. 3B is a front view of the first exemplary system of FIG. 3A according to the second embodiment of the present disclosure.

"FIG. 4A is a top down view of exemplary components for a multi-generational carrier platform according to an embodiment of the present disclosure.

"FIG. 4B is a cross-sectional view of the exemplary components for a multi-generational carrier platform of FIG. 4A in the vertical plane B-B' in FIG. 4A according to embodiment of the present disclosure.

"FIG. 5A is a top-down view of exemplary components for the multi-generational carrier platform of FIGS. 4A and 4B according to an embodiment of the present disclosure.

"FIG. 5B is a partially exploded view of the exemplary components of a multi-generational carrier platform that are located along a composite plane B-B' in FIG. 5A according to an embodiment of the present disclosure.

"FIG. 6A is a side view of an assembly of a rotational axis structure and a carrier adaptor according to an embodiment of the present disclosure.

"FIG. 6B is a cross-sectional view of the assembly of FIG. 5A along the B-B' plane according to an embodiment of the present disclosure.

"FIG. 7A is a top-down view of an assembly of a multi-generational carrier platform and four 200 mm substrate carriers according to an embodiment of the present disclosure.

"FIG. 7B is a side view, along a y-direction, of the assembly of FIG. 6A according to an embodiment of the present disclosure.

"FIG. 8A is a top-down view of an assembly of a multi-generational carrier platform and two 300 mm substrate carriers according to an embodiment of the present disclosure.

"FIG. 8B is a side view, along a y-direction, of the assembly of FIG. 7A according to an embodiment of the present disclosure.

"FIG. 9A is a top-down view of an assembly of a multi-generational carrier platform and one 450 mm substrate carrier according to an embodiment of the present disclosure.

"FIG. 9B is a side view, along a y-direction, of the assembly of FIG. 8A according to an embodiment of the present disclosure.

"FIG. 10 is a diagram illustrating the overlap of the exemplary gear assembly in a multi-generational carrier platform as illustrated in FIGS. 5A and 5B and various substrate carriers that are compatible with the multi-generational carrier platform according to an embodiment of the present disclosure.

"FIG. 11 is a diagram illustrating the overlap of the exemplary gear assembly in a variation of the multi-generational carrier platform as illustrated in FIGS. 4A and 4B and various substrate carriers that are compatible with this variation of the multi-generational carrier platform according to an embodiment of the present disclosure.

"FIG. 12A is a top-down view of an assembly of a multi-generational carrier platform and a non-rotating 450 mm substrate carrier according to an embodiment of the present disclosure.

"FIG. 12B is a side view, along a y-direction, of the assembly of FIG. 12A according to an embodiment of the present disclosure.

"FIG. 13 is a top-down view of an assembly of a multi-generational carrier platform and a plurality of non-circular shape substrate carriers according to an embodiment of the present disclosure.

"FIG. 14 is a top-down view of a first exemplary module integration system incorporating at least one multi-generational carrier platform and a platform transport system according to an embodiment of the present disclosure.

"FIG. 15 is a top-down view of a second exemplary module integration system incorporating at least one multi-generational carrier platform and a platform transport system according to an embodiment of the present disclosure.

"FIG. 16 is another top-down view of the second exemplary module integration system of FIG. 11 in which movement of a multi-generational carrier platform for loading or maintenance is illustrated according to an embodiment of the present disclosure."

For more information, see this patent: Lofaro, Michael F.. Multi-Generational Carrier Platform. U.S. Patent Number 8807318, filed September 20, 2011, and published online on August 19, 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=8807318.PN.&OS=PN/8807318RS=PN/8807318

Keywords for this news article include: Electronics, Semiconductor, International Business Machines Corporation.

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Source: Electronics Newsweekly


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