News Column

Patent Application Titled "Thermal Processing Apparatus for Thermal Processing Substrate and Positioning Method of Positioning Substrate Transfer...

September 11, 2014



Patent Application Titled "Thermal Processing Apparatus for Thermal Processing Substrate and Positioning Method of Positioning Substrate Transfer Position" Published Online

By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Politics & Government Week -- According to news reporting originating from Washington, D.C., by VerticalNews journalists, a patent application by the inventors DOUKI, Yuichi (Koshi-Shi, JP); HAYASHI, Tokutarou (Koshi-Shi, JP); IIDA, Naruaki (Koshi-Shi, JP); ENOKIDA, Suguru (Koshi-Shi, JP), filed on April 9, 2014, was made available online on August 28, 2014.

The assignee for this patent application is Tokyo Electron Limited.

Reporters obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "A substrate processing system is used for fabricating semiconductor devices including flat panel displays (FPDs). The substrate processing system has processing modules and a substrate carrying mechanism for carrying a substrate from and to the processing modules. The substrate carrying mechanism of the substrate processing system delivers substrates sequentially to the processing modules. The processing modules process the substrates by predetermined processes, respectively. It is possible that the entire surface of the substrate cannot be uniformly processed unless the substrate is positioned correctly at a predetermined position in each processing module. Although the substrate carrying mechanism is constructed so as to exhibit high carrying accuracy, a positioning operation is essential to accurately positioning the substrate.

"A substrate holder positioning method disclosed in, for example, Patent document 1 or 2 carries a positioning device provided with a detector, such as a camera or an image sensor, by the substrate holder, determines a distance of the substrate holder from a predetermined reference position on the basis of the position of the substrate holder determined by the detector, and then executes a correcting operation, namely, a teaching operation, for correcting the dislocation of the substrate holder from the reference position.

"Patent document 1: JP-A 2009-54665 Patent document 2: JP-A 2008-109027"

In addition to obtaining background information on this patent application, VerticalNews editors also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "When the positioning device is employed, it is possible that the positioning device causes a positioning error unless the positioning device is inspected and calibrated frequently. If the positioning device is not properly handled, correct positioning cannot be achieved in some cases. The positioning device is comparatively expensive and, in some cases, a plurality of positioning devices suitable to the respective shapes of the processing modules to which substrates are carried are needed. Those positioning devices increase the cost of the substrate holder considerably. Therefore, it is desired to position the substrate holder without using any positioning device.

"The present invention provides a substrate holder positioning device capable of positioning a substrate holder at a desired position without using any positioning device, and a substrate processing system.

"A substrate holder positioning method in a first mode of the present invention includes the steps of: measuring a first position of a substrate held by a substrate holder included in a substrate carrying mechanism; carrying the substrate held by the substrate holder to a substrate rotating unit for holding and rotating the substrate; turning the substrate held by the substrate rotating unit through a predetermined angle by the substrate rotating unit; transferring the substrate turned by the substrate rotating unit from the substrate rotating unit to the substrate holder; measuring a second position of the substrate transferred from the substrate rotating unit to the substrate holder; determining a position of a center of rotation of the substrate rotating unit on the basis of positions determined respectively of the first and the second position measuring; and positioning the substrate holder on the basis of the center of rotation.

"A substrate processing system including: a substrate carrying mechanism including a substrate holder for holding and carrying a substrate; position measuring devices combined with the substrate holder to measure the position of the substrate held by the substrate holder; a substrate rotating unit for holding and rotating the substrate, capable of receiving the substrate from and returning the substrate to the substrate holder; and a control unit for determining the position of the center of rotation of the substrate rotating unit on the basis of a first position of the substrate held by the substrate holder and a second position of the substrate held by the substrate holder after the substrate has been turned through a predetermined angle by the substrate rotating unit and has been received from the substrate rotating unit measured by the position measuring devices, and positioning the substrate holder on the basis of the position of the center of rotation of the substrate rotating unit.

"A substrate processing system in a third mode of the present invention includes: a substrate support unit onto which a substrate holder included in a substrate carrying mechanism delivers a substrate; and three or more substrate support members capable of coming into contact with the edge of the substrate held by the substrate holder to support the substrate and arranged such that the position of the substrate supported on the three or more substrate support members corresponds to a correct position of the substrate on the substrate support unit.

"A substrate holder positioning method of positioning a substrate holder included in a substrate carrying mechanism, to be executed by a substrate processing system including a substrate support unit onto which a substrate holder of the substrate carrying mechanism delivers a substrate, and three or more substrate support members capable of coming into contact with the edge of the substrate supported on the substrate support unit to support the substrate and arranged such that a position of the substrate supported on the three or more substrate support members coincides with a correct position of the substrate on the substrate support unit, including the steps of: carrying a substrate by the substrate holder and supporting the substrate on the three or more substrate support members; transferring the substrate supported on the three or more substrate support members from the three or more substrate support members to the substrate holder; measuring the position of the substrate held by the substrate holder; and positioning the substrate holder on the basis of the measured position of the substrate.

"A substrate holder positioning method of positioning a substrate holder included in a substrate carrying mechanism in a fifth mode of the present invention includes the steps of: holding a substrate by the substrate holder included in the substrate carrying mechanism; determining whether or not there is a substrate by a substrate detector mounted on the substrate holder by lowering the substrate holder holding a substrate from a position above a substrate support unit on which the substrate is to be placed toward the substrate support unit by a predetermined distance; repeating the step of determining whether or not there is a substrate when it is determined that there is a substrate; and deciding, when it is decided that there is no substrate in the step of determining whether or not there is a substrate, that the position of the substrate holder at a moment when it is decided that there is no substrate is a reference position of the substrate holder with respect to a vertical direction.

"A substrate holder positioning method in a sixth mode of the present invention includes the steps of: supporting a substrate by a central part of the back surface of the substrate by a back support unit; advancing a substrate holder included in a substrate carrying mechanism to a position under the substrate supported by the back support unit; determining whether or not there is a substrate by a substrate detecting unit mounted on the substrate holder by raising the substrate holder by a predetermined distance toward the substrate and; repeating the step of determining whether or not there is a substrate when it is decided that there is no substrate in the step of detecting whether or not there is a substrate; and deciding that the position of the holding unit at a moment when it is decided that there is s substrate in the step of determining whether or not there is a substrate is a reference position with respect to a vertical direction.

"The substrate holder positioning method and the substrate processing system can position the substrate holder without using any positioning device.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

"FIG. 1 is a plan view of a coating and developing system in a preferred embodiment of the present invention for coating a substrate with a photoresist film and developing the exposed photoresist film;

"FIG. 2 is a schematic perspective view of the coating and developing system shown in FIG. 1;

"FIG. 3 is a side elevation of the coating and developing system shown in FIG. 1;

"FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a third block included in the coating and developing system shown in FIG. 1;

"FIG. 5 is a schematic side elevation of a coating module included in the third block shown in FIG. 4;

"FIGS. 6A, 6B and 6C are views of assistance in explaining a heating module included in the third block shown in FIG. 4;

"FIG. 7 is a perspective view of a carrying arm included in the third block shown in FIG. 4;

"FIGS. 8A and 8B are a plan view and a side elevation, respectively, of the carrying arm shown in FIG. 7;

"FIG. 9 is an enlarged plan view of a fork included in the carrying arm shown in FIGS. 7 and 8;

"FIG. 10 is a block diagram of a control unit included in the coating and developing system shown in FIGS. 1 to 3;

"FIG. 11 is a view of assistance in explaining the relation between the control unit shown in FIG. 10 and the heating module and the carrying arm shown in FIGS. 6 and 7;

"FIGS. 12A, 12B, 12C, 12D, 12E and 12F are views of assistance in explaining a substrate holder positioning method in a first embodiment of the present invention;

"FIGS. 13A, 13B, 13C and 13D are views of assistance in explaining a substrate holder positioning method in a second embodiment of the present invention;

"FIG. 14 is a views of assistance in explaining a substrate position measuring method included in the substrate holder positioning method in the second embodiment;

"FIG. 15 is a views of assistance in explaining another substrate position measuring method included in the substrate holder positioning method in the second embodiment;

"FIGS. 16A, 16B and 16C are views of assistance in explaining a substrate position measuring method included in a substrate holder positioning method in a third embodiment of the present invention;

"FIGS. 17D, 17E and 17F are views of assistance in explaining steps subsequent to those shown in FIGS. 16A to 16C of the substrate position measuring method included in the substrate holder positioning method in the third embodiment; and

"FIGS. 18G, 18H and 18I are views of assistance in explaining steps subsequent to those shown in FIGS. 17D to 17F of the substrate position measuring method included in the substrate holder positioning method in the third embodiment of the present invention."

For more information, see this patent application: DOUKI, Yuichi; HAYASHI, Tokutarou; IIDA, Naruaki; ENOKIDA, Suguru. Thermal Processing Apparatus for Thermal Processing Substrate and Positioning Method of Positioning Substrate Transfer Position. Filed April 9, 2014 and posted August 28, 2014. Patent URL: http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.html&r=2704&p=55&f=G&l=50&d=PG01&S1=20140821.PD.&OS=PD/20140821&RS=PD/20140821

Keywords for this news article include: Tokyo Electron Limited.

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: Politics & Government Week


Story Tools






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