News Column

Patent Issued for Techniques for Handling Media Arrays

September 10, 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 inventors Forderhase, Paul (Austin, TX); Blake, Julian (Gloucester, MA); Weaver, William (Austin, TX), filed on February 15, 2012, was published online on August 26, 2014.

The assignee for this patent, patent number 8814239, is Varian Semiconductor Equipment Associates, Inc. (Gloucester, MA).

Reporters obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Ion implantation is a process of depositing chemical species into a substrate by direct bombardment of the substrate with energized ions. In semiconductor manufacturing, ion implanters are used primarily for doping processes that alter a type and level of conductivity of target materials. Precise and efficient handling of integrated circuit (IC) substrates and their thin-film structures is often crucial for proper doping and performance.

"FIG. 1 depicts a conventional ion implanter system 100. The ion implanter 100 includes a source power 101, an ion source 102, extraction electrodes 104, a 90.degree. magnet analyzer 106, a first deceleration (D1) stage 108, a 70.degree. magnet analyzer 110, and a second deceleration (D2) stage 112. The D1 and D2 deceleration stages (also known as 'deceleration lenses') each comprise multiple electrodes with a defined aperture to allow an ion beam 10 to pass therethrough. By applying different combinations of voltage potentials to the multiple electrodes, the D1 and D2 deceleration lenses can manipulate ion energies and cause the ion beam 10 to hit a target workpiece 114 at a desired energy. A number of measurement devices 116 (e.g., a dose control Faraday cup, a traveling Faraday cup, or a setup Faraday cup) may be used to monitor and control the ion beam conditions.

"As described above, handling the target workpiece 114 is critical to successful ion implantation. Mishandling of the target workpiece 114 may result in damaged or improperly implanted workpiece that may be unusable, which may lead to a decrease in production and an increase in cost. As a result, traditional techniques may not provide both efficiency and precision in handling media arrays.

"In view of the foregoing, it may be understood that there may be significant problems and shortcomings associated with current handling of media arrays."

In addition to obtaining background information on this patent, VerticalNews editors also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent: "Techniques for handling media arrays are disclosed. In one particular exemplary embodiment, the techniques may be realized as a system for handling a plurality of substrates. The system may comprise a plurality of row elements for supporting the plurality of substrates, wherein the plurality of row elements may be operable to change configuration of the substrates from open configuration to a high-density configuration, where a distance between adjacent substrates in the open configuration may be greater than a distance between the adjacent substrates in the high-density configuration.

"In accordance with other aspects of this particular exemplary embodiment, the plurality of row elements may comprise loop portions that glide along at least one gliding arm to form the high-density configuration.

"In accordance with further aspects of this particular exemplary embodiment, the plurality of row elements may comprise loop portions that glide along at least one lateral gliding arm and at least one diagonal gliding arm to form the high-density configuration.

"In accordance with additional aspects of this particular exemplary embodiment, each substrate may be a target substrate for at least one of ion implantation, deposition, etching, and annealing.

"In accordance with other aspects of this particular exemplary embodiment, the high-density configuration may comprise at least one of a closed lateral configuration and a closed alternating configuration to optimize ion beam utilization and efficient handling of the plurality of the substrates.

"In accordance with further aspects of this particular exemplary embodiment, the plurality of row elements may comprise a plurality of posts, wherein each of the plurality of posts comprises a ledge configured to hold the substrate and a relief portion configured to receive a transport arm of an end effector, and wherein the end effector is configured to move the plurality of transport arms into the relief portions of the posts to lift or place the plurality of the substrates.

"In another particular exemplary embodiment, the techniques may be realized as an apparatus for processing a plurality of substrates. The apparatus may comprise a housing in which the plurality of substrates is processed. The apparatus may also comprise a substrate handling system configured to support the plurality of substrates and to change a configuration of the plurality of substrates from a high-density configuration to an open configuration, where a distance between adjacent substrates in the open configuration may be greater than a distance between the adjacent substrate in the high-density configuration.

"In accordance with other aspects of this particular exemplary embodiment, the substrate handling system may comprise a plurality of row elements. In some embodiments, the plurality of row elements may comprise a plurality of posts. In some embodiments, each of the plurality of posts may comprise a post ledge configured to hold one of the plurality of substrates.

"In accordance with further aspects of this particular exemplary embodiment, the substrate handling system may further comprise an end effector comprising a plurality of transport arms configured to transport the plurality of substrates to and from the plurality of row elements.

"In accordance with additional aspects of this particular exemplary embodiment, each of the plurality of posts may comprise a relief portion configured to receive the transport arm of the end effector.

"In accordance with other aspects of this particular exemplary embodiment, the substrate handling system may be configured to hold the plurality of substrates in the high-density configuration during processing of the substrates and configured to hold the plurality of substrates in the open configuration during a period outside of the processing of the substrates.

"In accordance with further aspects of this particular exemplary embodiment, the plurality of row elements may be configured to change the configuration of the plurality of substrates from a high-density configuration to an open configuration.

"In accordance with additional aspects of the this particular exemplary embodiment, the end effector may be configured to change a configuration of the plurality of substrates from a high-density configuration to an open configuration.

"In accordance with other aspects of this particular exemplary embodiment, each of the plurality of substrates may comprise a process zone and an edge exclusion zone. In some embodiments, each of the transport arm may comprise a transport arm ledge, and the post ledge and the transport arm ledge may be configured to hold adjacent portions of the edge exclusion.

"In accordance with further aspects of this particular exemplary embodiment, each of the plurality of substrates may comprise an inner edge and an outer edge. In some embodiments, the edge exclusion zone may comprise at least one of an inner edge exclusion zone and an outer edge exclusion zone.

"In accordance with additional aspects of the this particular exemplary embodiment, the plurality of row elements may be operable to form the high-density configuration. In some embodiments, the high-density configuration comprises at least one of a closed lateral configuration and a closed alternating configuration to optimize ion beam utilization and efficient handling of the plurality of the substrates.

"In accordance with other aspects of this particular exemplary embodiment, the plurality of row elements may comprise loop portions that glide along at least one gliding arm to form the high-density configuration. The at least one gliding arm may be a lateral gliding arm or a diagonal gliding arm.

"In another particular exemplary embodiment, the techniques may be realized as a method for handling a plurality of substrates. The method may comprise receiving a plurality of substrates on a plurality of row elements in an open configuration. The method may also comprise repositioning the plurality of row elements into a closed configuration using at least one gliding arm coupled to a loop portion of the plurality of row elements.

"In accordance with other aspects of this particular exemplary embodiment, the closed configuration may comprise at least one of a closed lateral configuration and a closed alternating configuration to optimize ion beam utilization and efficient handling of the plurality of substrates.

"In accordance with further aspects of this particular exemplary embodiment, the at least one gliding arm may be a lateral gliding arm or a diagonal gliding arm.

"In accordance with additional aspects of this particular exemplary embodiment, the media may be a magnetic bit-patterned media disk having a diameter of 65 millimeters.

"In accordance with other aspects of this particular exemplary embodiment, receiving the plurality of substrates may further comprise receiving the plurality of substrates from a plurality of transport arms that move into relief portions of posts on the plurality of row elements, wherein the plurality of substrates rest on ledges of the posts of the plurality of row elements.

"The present disclosure will now be described in more detail with reference to exemplary embodiments thereof as shown in the accompanying drawings. While the present disclosure is described below with reference to exemplary embodiments, it should be understood that the present disclosure is not limited thereto. Those of ordinary skill in the art having access to the teachings herein will recognize additional implementations, modifications, and embodiments, as well as other fields of use, which are within the scope of the present disclosure as described herein, and with respect to which the present disclosure may be of significant utility."

For more information, see this patent: Forderhase, Paul; Blake, Julian; Weaver, William. Techniques for Handling Media Arrays. U.S. Patent Number 8814239, filed February 15, 2012, and published online on August 26, 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=8814239.PN.&OS=PN/8814239RS=PN/8814239

Keywords for this news article include: Electronics, Semiconductor, Varian Semiconductor Equipment Associates, Varian Semiconductor Equipment Associates Inc.

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Source: Electronics Newsweekly


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