Patents Examined by Alan A. Mathews
  • Patent number: 8111373
    Abstract: An exposure apparatus is provided which can supply and collect a liquid in a prescribed state, and that can suppress degradation of a pattern image projected onto a substrate. The exposure apparatus is provided with a nozzle member (70) having a supply outlet (12) that supplies a liquid (LQ) and a collection inlet (22) that collects a liquid (LQ), and a vibration isolating mechanism (60) that supports the nozzle member (70) and vibrationally isolates the nozzle member (70) from a lower side step part (7) of a main column (1).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 23, 2005
    Date of Patent: February 7, 2012
    Assignee: Nikon Corporation
    Inventor: Hideaki Hara
  • Patent number: 7938587
    Abstract: In the present invention, when dense and sparse resist patterns are formed above a substrate, respective resist pattern dimensions are measured, and a correction value for a first processing unit is calculated based on the dimension measurement result of the dense resist pattern and a correction value for a second processing unit is calculated based on the dimension measurement result of the sparse resist pattern. Based on these calculation results, processing conditions in the first processing unit and the second processing unit are changed, and thereafter processing in these processing units are implemented under these changed conditions.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 26, 2009
    Date of Patent: May 10, 2011
    Assignee: Tokyo Electron Limited
    Inventor: Takahisa Otsuka
  • Patent number: 7934880
    Abstract: Disclosed herein is a coating and developing apparatus 1 whose decreases in substrate-conveying accuracy can be suppressed. A processing block S2 of the coating and developing apparatus 1 includes multiple resist-film forming blocks G2, G3, and a developing block G1. A conveyance element 12 for substrate loading into the processing block S2 is provided to convey substrates W from a carrier C to the resist-film forming blocks G2, G3. Also, a conveyance element I for substrate loading into an exposure apparatus S4 is provided in an interface block S3 to load the substrates W into the exposure apparatus S4 and after unloading the substrates W from the exposure apparatus S4, convey the substrates W to the developing block G1.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 17, 2009
    Date of Patent: May 3, 2011
    Assignee: Tokyo Electron Limited
    Inventors: Yoshitaka Hara, Shingo Katsuki
  • Patent number: 7932989
    Abstract: A liquid jet and recovery system for an immersion lithography apparatus has arrays of nozzles arranged to have their openings located proximal to an exposure region through which an image pattern is projected onto a workpiece such as a wafer. These nozzles are each adapted to serve selectively either as a source nozzle for supplying a fluid into the exposure region or as a recovery nozzle for recovering the fluid from the exposure region. A fluid controlling device functions to cause nozzles on selected one or more sides of the exposure region to serve as source nozzles and to cause nozzles on selected one or more of the remaining sides to serve as recovery nozzles such that a desired flow pattern can be established for the convenience of immersion lithography.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 13, 2007
    Date of Patent: April 26, 2011
    Assignee: Nikon Corporation
    Inventors: W. Thomas Novak, Andrew J. Hazelton, Douglas C. Watson
  • Patent number: 7929112
    Abstract: A lithographic projection apparatus is disclosed in which measures are taken to prevent or reduce the presence of bubbles in liquid through which the projection beam radiates. This may be done, for example, by ensuring that a gap between a substrate and a substrate table is filled with immersion liquid or by causing a localized flow radially outwardly from the optical axis in the vicinity of the edge of the substrate.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 17, 2008
    Date of Patent: April 19, 2011
    Assignee: ASML Netherlands B.V.
    Inventors: Roelof Frederik De Graaf, Sjoerd Nicolaas Lambertus Donders, Christiaan Alexander Hoogendam, Hans Jansen, Martinus Hendrikus Antonius Leenders, Jeroen Johannes Sophia Maria Mertens, Bob Streefkerk, Jan-Gerard Cornelis Van Der Toorn, Michel Riepen
  • Patent number: 7929114
    Abstract: A projection optics for microlithography, which images an object field in an object plane into an image field in an image plane, where the projection optics include at least one curved mirror and including at least one refractive subunit, as well as related systems, components, methods and products prepared by such methods, are disclosed.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 4, 2008
    Date of Patent: April 19, 2011
    Assignee: Carl Zeiss SMT GmbH
    Inventor: Hans-Juergen Mann
  • Patent number: 7924396
    Abstract: A coating/developing apparatus includes a process section including processing units to perform a series of processes for resist coating and development; an interface section disposed between the process section and immersion light exposure apparatus; and a drying section disposed in the interface section to dry the substrate immediately after the immersion light exposure process. The drying section includes a process container configured to accommodate the substrate, a substrate support member configured to place the substrate thereon, a temperature-adjusted gas supply mechanism configured to supply a temperature-adjusted gas into the process container, and an exhaust mechanism configured to exhaust the process container. The drying section is arranged to dry the substrate by supplying the temperature-adjusted gas into the process container with the substrate placed on the substrate support member, while exhausting the process container.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 18, 2007
    Date of Patent: April 12, 2011
    Assignee: Tokyo Electron Limited
    Inventors: Hisashi Kawano, Junichi Kitano, Hitoshi Kosugi, Koichi Hontake, Masashi Enomoto
  • Patent number: 7924407
    Abstract: The present invention relates to an exposure device for forming circuit patterns onto a surface of an object. The exposure device includes at least one spatial light modulator which includes a plurality of reflection elements being arranged in a matrix fashion, at least one optical source which supplies exposure light to the reflection elements, and a bias voltage controller which applies a first voltage to the reflection elements, thereby setting the reflection elements to a first state and which does not apply a voltage to the reflection elements, thereby setting the reflection elements to a second state. In addition, the exposure light is delivered to the surface of the object in the first state, and the exposure light is not delivered to the surface of the object in the second state.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 9, 2008
    Date of Patent: April 12, 2011
    Assignee: ORC Manufacturing Co., Ltd.
    Inventor: Takashi Okuyama
  • Patent number: 7924403
    Abstract: A immersion lithographic apparatus is disclosed in which one or more liquid diverters are positioned in a space surrounded by a liquid confinement structure. A function of the liquid diverter(s) is to hinder the formation of one or more recirculation zones of immersion liquid which may lead to variations in refractive index of the immersion liquid in the space and thereby imaging errors.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 12, 2006
    Date of Patent: April 12, 2011
    Assignee: ASML Netherlands B.V.
    Inventors: Paulus Martinus Maria Liebregts, Johannes Henricus Wilhelmus Jacobs, Tammo Uitterdijk
  • Patent number: 7916275
    Abstract: A method of characterizing the similarity between entities in a set of entities, wherein an entity is selected from substrate layers, substrate fields and substrates. Including determining positions at a plurality of measurement points per entity for providing position data; computing a correlation coefficient for each of a plurality of combinations of entities from the entity set, the correlation coefficients being based on the position data and being representative of the correlation between the associated combination of entities; comparing the correlation coefficients to a threshold amount to determine the extent of similarity between the entities. The invention also relates to a similar method incorporating determining an average value of the computed correlation coefficients, the average value providing a measure of the consistency.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 19, 2007
    Date of Patent: March 29, 2011
    Assignee: ASML Netherlands B.V.
    Inventors: Christianus Gerardus Maria De Mol, Maria Elisabeth Reuhman-Huisken
  • Patent number: 7916269
    Abstract: An immersion lithographic apparatus is cleaned by use of a cleaning liquid consisting essentially of ultra-pure water and (a) a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and ozone, or (b) hydrogen peroxide at a concentration of up to 5%, or (c) ozone at a concentration of up to 50 ppm, or (d) oxygen at concentration of up to 10 ppm, or (e) any combination selected from (a)-(d).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 27, 2007
    Date of Patent: March 29, 2011
    Assignee: ASML Netherlands B.V.
    Inventors: Anthonius Martinus Cornelis Petrus De Jong, Hans Jansen, Martinus Hendrikus Antonius Leenders, Antonius Johannus Van Der Net, Peter Franciscus Wanten, Jacques Cor Johan Van Der Donck, Robert Douglas Watso, Teunis Cornelis Van Den Dool, Nadja Schuh, Jan Willem Cromwijk
  • Patent number: 7911582
    Abstract: An exposure apparatus illuminates a pattern with an energy beam and transfers the pattern onto a substrate via a projection optical system. The exposure apparatus includes a substrate stage on which the substrate is mounted and that moves within a two-dimensional plane holding the substrate. A supply mechanism supplies liquid to a space between the projection optical system and the substrate on the substrate stage. A recovery mechanism recovers the liquid and an auxiliary recovery mechanism recovers the liquid which could not be recovered by the recovery mechanism.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 30, 2008
    Date of Patent: March 22, 2011
    Assignee: Nikon Corporation
    Inventors: Shigeru Hirukawa, Nobutaka Magome, Issey Tanaka
  • Patent number: 7911586
    Abstract: Provided is a method and system for facilitating use of a plurality of individually controllable elements to modulate the intensity of radiation received at each focusing element of an array of focusing elements to control the intensity of the radiation in the areas on the substrate onto which the focusing elements direct the radiation.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 27, 2009
    Date of Patent: March 22, 2011
    Assignee: ASML Netherlands B.V.
    Inventors: Cheng-Qun Gui, Arno Jan Bleeker, Pieter Willem Herman De Jager
  • Patent number: 7898642
    Abstract: A substrate table of an immersion lithographic apparatus is disclosed which comprises a barrier configured to collect liquid. The barrier surrounds the substrate and is spaced apart from the substrate. In this way any liquid which is spilt from the liquid supply system can be collected to reduce the risk of contamination of delicate components of the lithographic projection apparatus.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 14, 2004
    Date of Patent: March 1, 2011
    Assignee: ASML Netherlands B.V.
    Inventors: Aleksey Yurievich Kolesnychenko, Johannes Jacobus Matheus Baselmans, Sjoerd Nicolaas Lambertus Donders, Christiaan Alexander Hoogendam, Hans Jansen, Jeroen Johannes Sophia Maria Mertens, Johannes Catharinus Hubertus Mulkens, Felix Godfried Peter Peeters, Bob Streefkerk, Franciscus Johannes Herman Maria Teunissen, Helmar Van Santen
  • Patent number: 7896563
    Abstract: A photo spinner apparatus, including a spin coater for coating a plurality of wafers with photoresist, a bake device for hardening the photoresist coated by the spin coater, a developer for developing the photoresist hardened in the bake device, a transfer unit for transferring the plurality of wafers between the developer, the bake device, and the spin coater, and an indexer including a wafer carrier loader to vertically stack a plurality of wafer carriers into which the plurality of wafers transferred by the transfer unit are loaded.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 7, 2009
    Date of Patent: March 1, 2011
    Assignee: Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.
    Inventor: Yong-Su Kim
  • Patent number: 7894041
    Abstract: A system and method are used to limit a proportion of a programmable patterning means used to pattern a substrate. This is done such that a size of a repeated pattern to be exposed on the substrate is an integer multiple of a size of a pattern exposed on the substrate by the patterned beam.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 27, 2008
    Date of Patent: February 22, 2011
    Assignee: ASML Netherlands B.V.
    Inventor: Arno Jan Bleeker
  • Patent number: 7889318
    Abstract: A method for characterizing the similarity between measurements on a plurality of entities comprising a first entity and a second entity comprises receiving measurements taken at a plurality of measurement points per entity. A model is defined comprising a stochastic process and a model function having values which depend on a set of parameters and the measurement points. A set (?) of parameters is estimated by fitting the model function to the measurements. Residual data is determined for at least a part of the plurality of measurement points for the first entity and the second entity by subtracting the fitted function from the measurements. A correlation coefficient for the first entity (i?) and the second entity (i?) is estimated based on the determined residual data and the estimated correlation coefficient is used to characterize the similarity between the measurements.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 18, 2008
    Date of Patent: February 15, 2011
    Assignee: ASML Netherlands B.V.
    Inventors: Christianus Gerardus Maria De Mol, Maria Elisabeth Reuhman-Huisken
  • Patent number: 7871211
    Abstract: A coating and developing system has a first processing block, a second processing block, and a transfer block interposed between the first and the second processing block. A first direct carrying means carries substrates from a carrier block to the transfer block. The transfer block distributes the substrates to respective film forming unit blocks of the first and the second processing block. Substrates on which films have been formed by the first and the second processing block are collected temporarily in the transfer block. A second direct carrying means carries the substrate collected in the transfer block from the transfer block to an interface block. Use of the first and the second processing block can improve the throughput of the coating and developing system. Since a carrying route from the carrier block to the first processing block, and a carrying route from the carrier block to the second processing block are the same, a carrying program is easy to create.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 28, 2008
    Date of Patent: January 18, 2011
    Assignee: Tokyo Electron Limited
    Inventors: Nobuaki Matsuoka, Takahiro Hashimoto, Katsuhiro Tsuchiya, Shinichi Hayashi, Yasushi Hayashida
  • Patent number: 7868998
    Abstract: Liquid is supplied to a space between the projection system and the substrate by an inlet. In an embodiment, an overflow region removes liquid above a given level. The overflow region may be arranged above the inlet and thus the liquid may be constantly refreshed and the pressure in the liquid may remain substantially constant.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 30, 2008
    Date of Patent: January 11, 2011
    Assignee: ASML Netherlands B.V.
    Inventors: Christiaan Alexander Hoogendam, Bob Streefkerk, Johannes Catharinus Hubertus Mulkens, Erik Theodorus Maria Bijlaart, Aleksey Yurievich Kolesnychenko, Erik Roelof Loopstra, Jeroen Johannes Sophia Maria Mertens, Bernardus Antonius Slaghekke, Patricius Aloysius Jacobus Tinnemans, Helmar Van Santen
  • Patent number: 7864295
    Abstract: An apparatus and method are used to form patterns on a substrate. The apparatus comprises a projection system, a patterning device, a low-pass filter, and a data manipulation device. The projection system projects a beam of radiation onto the substrate as an array of sub-beams. The patterning device modulates the sub-beams to substantially produce a requested dose pattern on the substrate. The low-pass filter operates on pattern data derived from the requested dose pattern in order to form a frequency-clipped target dose pattern that comprises only spatial frequency components below a selected threshold frequency. The data manipulation device produces a control signal comprising spot exposure intensities to be produced by the patterning device, based on a direct algebraic least-squares fit of the spot exposure intensities to the frequency-clipped target dose pattern. In various examples, filters can also be used.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 2, 2008
    Date of Patent: January 4, 2011
    Assignee: ASML Netherlands B.V.
    Inventors: Patricius Aloysius Jacobus Tinnemans, Johannes Jacobus Matheus Baselmans