Patents Examined by Chia-how Michael Liu
  • Patent number: 10073203
    Abstract: An illumination optical apparatus illuminates a pattern on a mask with illumination light. The illumination optical apparatus includes an optical integrator arranged in an optical path of the illumination light, and a polarization member made of optical material with optical rotatory power, which is arranged in the optical path on an incidence side of the optical integrator, and which changes a polarization state of the illumination light. The illumination light from the polarization member is irradiated onto the pattern through a pupil plane of the illumination optical apparatus.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 8, 2011
    Date of Patent: September 11, 2018
    Assignee: NIKON CORPORATION
    Inventor: Mitsunori Toyoda
  • Patent number: 9989685
    Abstract: An illumination optical apparatus illuminates a pattern on a mask with illumination light. The illumination optical apparatus includes an optical integrator arranged in an optical path of the illumination light, and a polarization member made of optical material with optical rotatory power, which is arranged in the optical path on an incidence side of the optical integrator, and which changes a polarization state of the illumination light. The illumination light from the polarization member is irradiated onto the pattern through a pupil plane of the illumination optical apparatus.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 8, 2011
    Date of Patent: June 5, 2018
    Assignee: NIKON CORPORATION
    Inventor: Mitsunori Toyoda
  • Patent number: 9977228
    Abstract: An optical module is configured to be used in a microlithography objective. The optical module includes a first holding device with a circumference extending in a first circumferential direction and a first supporting device configured to support a first optical element. The first supporting device is fixed at the circumference of the first holding device. The optical module also includes a plurality of second supporting devices configured to support a second optical element, the second supporting devices being fixed at the circumference of the first holding device. The first supporting device does not contact the second supporting devices. The first optical element is separate from the second optical element. Along the first circumferential direction, the first supporting device is located in a non-equidistant manner between two neighboring second supporting devices.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 29, 2014
    Date of Patent: May 22, 2018
    Assignee: Carl Zeiss SMT GmbH
    Inventors: Jens Kugler, Franz Sorg, Yim-Bun Patrick Kwan
  • Patent number: 9964673
    Abstract: An optical system has an aperture device having a multiplicity of aperture elements for the delimitation of the cross section of a ray bundle running through the optical system. The aperture device has a first aperture element, which is pivotable about a first rotation axis between an engagement position in the beam path of the optical system and a neutral position outside the beam path of the optical system and has a first aperture opening delimited by a first aperture edge. The aperture device also has at least one second aperture element, which is pivotable about a second rotation axis between an engagement position in the beam path of the optical system and a neutral position outside the beam path of the optical system and has a second aperture opening delimited by a second aperture edge. The second aperture opening is smaller than the first aperture opening. The aperture elements pivoted into the engagement position form an effective aperture opening.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 4, 2011
    Date of Patent: May 8, 2018
    Assignee: Carl Zeiss SMT GmbH
    Inventors: Benjamin Sigel, Sascha Bleidistel
  • Patent number: 9958786
    Abstract: An immersion lithography apparatus and method places an object for a cleanup process on a holder of a movable stage of the immersion lithography apparatus, a wafer being held on the holder of the stage and exposed during a liquid immersion lithography process. During the liquid immersion lithography process, device pattern projection is performed and a device pattern image is projected onto the wafer held on the holder to fabricate semiconductor devices. During the cleanup process, a liquid is supplied via a supply port from above the stage holding the object on the holder. During the cleanup process, the object is held on the holder in place of the wafer and the object is used without performing device pattern projection.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 22, 2014
    Date of Patent: May 1, 2018
    Assignee: NIKON CORPORATION
    Inventors: Hidemi Kawai, Douglas C. Watson
  • Patent number: 9946161
    Abstract: An optical system for a microlithographic projection exposure apparatus and a microlithographic exposure method are disclosed. In an embodiment an optical system for a microlithographic projection exposure apparatus includes at least one mirror arrangement having a plurality of mirror elements which are displaceable independently of each other for altering an angular distribution of the light reflected by the mirror arrangement. The optical system also includes at least one manipulator downstream of the mirror arrangement in the light propagation direction. The manipulator has a raster arrangement of manipulator elements so that light incident on the manipulator during operation of the optical system is influenced differently in its polarization state and/or in its intensity in dependence on the incidence location.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 25, 2012
    Date of Patent: April 17, 2018
    Assignee: Carl Zeiss SMT GmbH
    Inventors: Ingo Saenger, Ralf Scharnweber, Olaf Dittmann, Toralf Gruner, Gundula Weiss, Andras G. Major, Martin Vogt, Markus Deguenther, Johannes Wangler, Thomas Korb, Severin Waldis
  • Patent number: 9946169
    Abstract: An exposure apparatus of performing an exposure for each shot region on a substrate includes: a stage configured to move while holding the substrate; a measurement device configured to measure a vibration of the stage; and a controller, when the vibration of the stage measured by the measurement device during an exposure period of a shot region of a first substrate falls outside an allowable range, configured to change a control parameter when exposing a shot region of a second substrate to be exposed after the first substrate at the same position as the shot region of the first substrate so as to improve an exposure accuracy.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 24, 2013
    Date of Patent: April 17, 2018
    Assignee: CANON KABUSHIKI KAISHA
    Inventor: Masatoshi Endo
  • Patent number: 9946163
    Abstract: An immersion exposure apparatus and method involves (i) supporting a substrate with a stage, (ii) arranging the stage under an optical assembly to maintain immersion liquid in a gap between the optical assembly and the stage, (iii) projecting an image onto the substrate via the optical assembly and the immersion liquid, (iv) arranging a movable pad, which is movable separately from the stage, adjacent to the stage, and (v) moving the stage and the pad adjacent to each other relative to the optical assembly to arrange the pad under the optical assembly in place of the stage such that the immersion liquid is maintained below the optical assembly during the movement, thereby to arrange the movable pad under the optical assembly to maintain the immersion liquid in a gap between the optical assembly and the pad.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 9, 2015
    Date of Patent: April 17, 2018
    Assignee: NIKON CORPORATION
    Inventor: Michael Binnard
  • Patent number: 9933704
    Abstract: A microlithography illumination optical system is used to guide illumination light from a primary light source to an object field. A mirror array of the illumination optical system has a plurality of individual mirrors, which can be tilted independently of one another by actuators and are connected to associated tilting actuators. A controller is used to activate the actuators. A raster module of the illumination optical system has a plurality of raster elements to produce a spatially distributed arrangement of secondary light sources.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 20, 2012
    Date of Patent: April 3, 2018
    Assignee: Carl Zeiss SMT GmbH
    Inventors: Michael Patra, Markus Deguenther, Michael Layh
  • Patent number: 9897930
    Abstract: A lithographic apparatus includes an optical element that includes an oriented carbon nanotube sheet. The optical element has an element thickness in the range of about 20-500 nm and has a transmission for EUV radiation having a wavelength in the range of about 1-20 nm of at least about 20% under perpendicular irradiation with the EUV radiation.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 22, 2009
    Date of Patent: February 20, 2018
    Assignee: ASML NETHERLANDS B.V.
    Inventors: Leonid Aizikovitch Sjmaenok, Vadim Yevgenyevich Banine, Johannes Hubertus Josephina Moors, Denis Alexandrovich Glushkov, Andrei Mikhailovich Yakunin
  • Patent number: 9885959
    Abstract: An illumination optical apparatus illuminates a pattern on a mask with illumination light. The illumination optical apparatus includes an optical integrator arranged in an optical path of the illumination light, a deflecting member arranged in the optical path on an incidence side of the optical integrator, which deflects the illumination light, a lens element arranged in the optical path between the deflecting member and the optical integrator, which distributes the illumination light in a region, on a pupil plane of the illumination optical apparatus, away from an optical axis of the illumination optical apparatus, and a polarization member arranged in the optical path between the lens element and the optical integrator, which changes a polarization state of the illumination light so that a polarization direction of the illumination light in the region is substantially coincident with a circumferential direction about the optical axis.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 9, 2013
    Date of Patent: February 6, 2018
    Assignee: NIKON CORPORATION
    Inventors: Takehito Kudo, Shigeru Hirukawa
  • Patent number: 9885872
    Abstract: An illumination optical apparatus illuminates a pattern on a mask with illumination light. The illumination optical apparatus includes an optical integrator arranged in an optical path of the illumination light, and a polarization member made of optical material with optical rotatory power, which is arranged in the optical path on an incidence side of the optical integrator, and which changes a polarization state of the illumination light. The illumination light from the polarization member is irradiated onto the pattern through a pupil plane of the illumination optical apparatus.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 8, 2013
    Date of Patent: February 6, 2018
    Assignee: NIKON CORPORATION
    Inventor: Mitsunori Toyoda
  • Patent number: 9857691
    Abstract: An illumination optical apparatus illuminates a pattern on a mask with illumination light. The illumination optical apparatus includes an optical integrator arranged in an optical path of the illumination light, a deflecting member arranged in the optical path on an incidence side of the optical integrator, which deflects the illumination light, a lens element arranged in the optical path between the deflecting member and the optical integrator, which distributes the illumination light in a region, on a pupil plane of the illumination optical apparatus, away from an optical axis of the illumination optical apparatus, and a polarization member arranged in the optical path between the lens element and the optical integrator, which changes a polarization state of the illumination light so that a polarization direction of the illumination light in the region is substantially coincident with a circumferential direction about the optical axis.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 9, 2013
    Date of Patent: January 2, 2018
    Assignee: NIKON CORPORATION
    Inventors: Takehito Kudo, Shigeru Hirukawa
  • Patent number: 9823478
    Abstract: An illumination optical apparatus illuminates a pattern on a mask with illumination light. The illumination optical apparatus includes an optical integrator arranged in an optical path of the illumination light, and a polarization member made of optical material with optical rotatory power, which is arranged in the optical path on an incidence side of the optical integrator, and which changes a polarization state of the illumination light. The illumination light from the polarization member is irradiated onto the pattern through a pupil plane of the illumination optical apparatus.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 8, 2013
    Date of Patent: November 21, 2017
    Assignee: NIKON CORPORATION
    Inventor: Mitsunori Toyoda
  • Patent number: 9798245
    Abstract: A stage apparatus PST is provided with a holder PH, which has a substrate holding surface 33A that holds a substrate P; a stage 52, which supports and moves the holder PH; and a recovery apparatus 60, which is disposed in the vicinity of the holder PH and has lyophilic parts 3, 5 of which at least a part of each is lyophilic, that uses the lyophilic parts 3, 5 to recover a liquid 1. As a result, the infiltration of liquid into the space between the substrate and the holder is prevented, even if performing an exposure treatment by filling the space between a projection optical system and the substrate with the liquid.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 8, 2010
    Date of Patent: October 24, 2017
    Assignee: NIKON CORPORATION
    Inventors: Yasufumi Nishii, Kenichi Shiraishi, Hirotaka Kohno
  • Patent number: 9785053
    Abstract: An illumination optical apparatus illuminates a pattern on a mask with illumination light. The illumination optical apparatus includes an optical integrator arranged in an optical path of the illumination light, a deflecting member arranged in the optical path on an incidence side of the optical integrator, which deflects the illumination light, a lens element arranged in the optical path between the deflecting member and the optical integrator, which distributes the illumination light in a region, on a pupil plane of the illumination optical apparatus, away from an optical axis of the illumination optical apparatus, and a polarization member arranged in the optical path between the lens element and the optical integrator, which changes a polarization state of the illumination light so that a polarization direction of the illumination light in the region is substantially coincident with a circumferential direction about the optical axis.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 9, 2013
    Date of Patent: October 10, 2017
    Assignee: NIKON CORPORATION
    Inventors: Takehito Kudo, Shigeru Hirukawa
  • Patent number: 9766558
    Abstract: A positioning apparatus includes a first object and a second object; a positioning system configured to position the first and the second objects with respect to each other; and a flexible transportation line that is connected to the first and the second objects, the flexible transportation line having a stiffness that varies along the flexible transportation line such that the flexible transportation line can be represented by a dynamic transfer function, the dynamic transfer function being adapted to a closed-loop transfer function of the positioning system.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 23, 2010
    Date of Patent: September 19, 2017
    Assignee: ASML NETHERLANDS B.V.
    Inventors: Tjarko Adriaan Rudolf Van Empel, Martijn Houkes, Norbert Erwin Therenzo Jansen
  • Patent number: 9746312
    Abstract: A lithographic apparatus includes a support configured to hold an object, the support being moveable relative to a reference structure in a direction; a first position measurement system configured to provide a first measurement signal in a first frequency range, the first measurement signal representative of a position of the support relative to the reference structure in the direction; a second position measurement system configured to provide a second measurement signal in a second frequency range, the second measurement signal representative of the position of the support relative to the reference structure in the direction; and a processor configured to (a) filter the first measurement signal so as to attenuate a signal component having a frequency in the second frequency range, (b) filter the second measurement signal so as to attenuate a signal component having a frequency in the first frequency range, and (c) combine the filtered first measurement signal and the filtered second measurement signal into
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 7, 2011
    Date of Patent: August 29, 2017
    Assignee: ASML NETHERLANDS B.V.
    Inventors: Hans Butler, Engelbertus Antonius Franciscus Van Der Pasch
  • Patent number: 9709900
    Abstract: A liquid immersion exposure apparatus includes a projection optical system via which exposure light is projected, a first stage that is movable below the projection optical system and having a holding portion that holds a substrate, a second stage that is movable below the projection optical system, and a nozzle member having an opening through which the exposure light is projected, a supply opening via which the liquid is supplied and a first recovery opening via which the liquid is collected. During exposure of the substrate, a portion of a surface of the substrate is covered by the liquid while performing liquid supply from the supply opening and liquid collection from the first recovery opening. One or both of the first and second stages has a second recovery opening via which the liquid that comes from a gap between the first stage and the second stage is recovered.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 25, 2014
    Date of Patent: July 18, 2017
    Assignee: NIKON CORPORATION
    Inventors: Tomoharu Fujiwara, Yuichi Shibazaki
  • Patent number: 9684242
    Abstract: An illumination optical apparatus illuminates a pattern on a mask with illumination light. The illumination optical apparatus includes an optical integrator arranged in an optical path of the illumination light, a deflecting member arranged in the optical path on an incidence side of the optical integrator, which deflects the illumination light, a lens element arranged in the optical path between the deflecting member and the optical integrator, which distributes the illumination light in a region, on a pupil plane of the illumination optical apparatus, away from an optical axis of the illumination optical apparatus, and a polarization member arranged in the optical path between the lens element and the optical integrator, which changes a polarization state of the illumination light so that a polarization direction of the illumination light in the region is substantially coincident with a circumferential direction about the optical axis.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 9, 2013
    Date of Patent: June 20, 2017
    Assignee: NIKON CORPORATION
    Inventors: Takehito Kudo, Shigeru Hirukawa