Patents Examined by Chia-how Michael Liu
  • Patent number: 9250537
    Abstract: An exposure apparatus which prevents the damage due to the liquid having flowed out from spreading and enables satisfactory performances of the exposure processes and the measurement processes is provided. An exposure apparatus (EX) includes a movable table (PT), a base member (41) having an upper surface (41A) that guides the movement of the table (PT), and a detecting device (60) that detects whether there is a liquid on the upper surface (41A) of the base member (41).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 16, 2013
    Date of Patent: February 2, 2016
    Assignee: Nikon Corporation
    Inventor: Makoto Shibuta
  • Patent number: 9239524
    Abstract: The situation of a liquid immersion region (LR) formed on the surface of a substrate (P) is detected while changing at least one of the movement condition of the substrate (P) and the liquid immersion condition when forming the liquid immersion region (LR), and an exposure condition is determined based on the detection results.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 30, 2006
    Date of Patent: January 19, 2016
    Assignee: NIKON CORPORATION
    Inventors: Yoshiki Kida, Hiroyuki Nagasaka
  • Patent number: 9229341
    Abstract: A system and method substantially eliminate reticle slip during the movement of a reticle stage. The system includes a mask holding system, a mask force device, and a support transport device. The mask holding system includes a support device and a holding device where the holding device releasably couples a mask, e.g., a patterning device such as a reticle having a pattern, to the support device. The mask force device is releasably connected to the mask in order to provide an accelerating force to the mask, such that a projection optic in a lithographic apparatus may accurately project a pattern imparted by the patterning device onto a target portion of the substrate by using a radiation beam. The support transport device is coupled to and moves the mask support device concurrently with the mask force device.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 30, 2009
    Date of Patent: January 5, 2016
    Assignee: ASML Holding N.V.
    Inventors: Santiago E. Del Puerto, Enrico Zordan
  • Patent number: 9223224
    Abstract: An exposure apparatus exposes a substrate by filling a liquid between a projection optical system and the substrate, and projecting the image of a pattern onto the substrate through the projection optical system and the liquid, and includes a liquid removing mechanism that intermittently blows a gas against a reference member, movable mirror, and the like, to which the liquid is adhered in order to remove that liquid.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 24, 2006
    Date of Patent: December 29, 2015
    Assignee: NIKON CORPORATION
    Inventors: Hideaki Hara, Hiroaki Takaiwa
  • Patent number: 9207549
    Abstract: An exposure apparatus is equipped with a table which holds a wafer and is movable along an XY plane and has a grating provided on its rear surface, an encoder which irradiates a first measurement beam on the grating from below, receives a return light, and measures a first position information of the table when the table moves in a predetermined range, and another encoder which has a head section provided in a frame and irradiates a second measurement beam on a different grating on the table from the head section, receives a return light, and can measure a second position information of the table, concurrently with measurement of the first position information by the encoder when the table moves in predetermined range. A controller drives the table, based on position information having a higher reliability of the first and the second position information.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 26, 2012
    Date of Patent: December 8, 2015
    Assignee: NIKON CORPORATION
    Inventor: Yuichi Shibazaki
  • Patent number: 9188880
    Abstract: A lithographic apparatus is described having a liquid supply system configured to at least partly fill a space between a projection system of the lithographic apparatus and a substrate with liquid, a barrier member arranged to substantially contain the liquid within the space, and a heater.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 3, 2011
    Date of Patent: November 17, 2015
    Assignee: ASML NETHERLANDS B.V.
    Inventors: Theodorus Petrus Maria Cadee, Johannes Henricus Wilhelmus Jacobs, Nicolaas Ten Kate, Erik Roelof Loopstra, Aschwin Lodewijk Hendricus Johannes Vermeer, Jeroen Johannes Sophia Maria Mertens, Christianus Gerardus Maria De Mol, Marcel Johannus Elisabeth Hubertus Muitjens, Antonius Johannus Van Der Net, Joost Jeroen Ottens, Johannes Anna Quaedackers, Maria Elisabeth Reuhman-Huisken, Marco Koert Stavenga, Patricius Aloysius Jacobus Tinnemans, Martinus Cornelis Maria Verhagen, Jacobus Johannus Leonardus Hendricus Verspay, Frederik Eduard De Jong, Koen Goorman, Boris Menchtchikov, Herman Boom, Stoyan Nihtianov, Richard Moerman, Martin Frans Pierre Smeets, Bart Leonard Peter Schoondermark, Franciscus Johannes Joseph Janssen, Michel Riepen
  • Patent number: 9175953
    Abstract: A measurement apparatus comprises: a light source; a first optical system configured to reflect a certain component of a light beam emitted by the light source by a final surface thereof and transmit a remaining component of the light beam; a reflecting surface configured to reflect the remaining component; an optical member configured to generate a first shearing interference fringe formed by the certain component, and a second shearing interference fringe formed by the remaining component; an image sensing unit configured to simultaneously sense the first and second shearing interference fringes generated by the optical member; and an arithmetic unit configured to calculate, a wavefront aberration of the first optical system and a wavefront aberration of the first optical system and an optical system to be measured, using data on the first and second shearing interference fringes, thereby calculating a wavefront aberration of the optical system to be measured.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 3, 2010
    Date of Patent: November 3, 2015
    Assignee: CANON KABUSHIKI KAISHA
    Inventor: Yoshiyuki Kuramoto
  • Patent number: 9176371
    Abstract: A lithographic apparatus is disclosed that includes a projection system, and a liquid confinement structure configured to at least partly confine immersion liquid to an immersion space defined by the projection system, the liquid confinement structure and a substrate and/or substrate table. Measures are taken in the lithographic apparatus, for example, to reduce the effect of droplets on the final element of the projection system or to substantially avoid such droplet formation.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 15, 2009
    Date of Patent: November 3, 2015
    Assignee: ASML NETHERLANDS B.V.
    Inventors: Jeroen Peter Johannes Bruijstens, Richard Joseph Bruls, Hans Jansen, Siebe Landheer, Laurentius Catrinus Jorritsma, Arnout Johannes Meester, Bauke Jansen, Ivo Adam Johannes Thomas, Marcio Alexandre Cano Miranda, Maurice Martinus Johannes Van Der Lee, Gheorghe Tanasa, Lambertus Dominicus Noordam
  • Patent number: 9176267
    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: November 3, 2015
    Assignee: NIKON CORPORATION
    Inventor: Mitsunori Toyoda
  • Patent number: 9170356
    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: July 14, 2011
    Date of Patent: October 27, 2015
    Assignee: NIKON CORPORATION
    Inventor: Mitsunori Toyoda
  • Patent number: 9170498
    Abstract: A lithographic apparatus includes an illumination system, support constructed to support patterning device, a projection system, an interferometric sensor and a detector. The interferometric sensor is designed to measure one or more wavefronts of a radiation beam projected by the projection system from an adjustable polarizer. The interferometric sensor includes a diffractive element disposed at a level of a substrate in the lithographic apparatus and a detector spaced apart from the diffractive element, the diffractive element being arranged to provide shearing interferometry between at least two wavefronts mutually displaced in a direction of shear. The detector is designed to determine, from the wavefront measurements, information on polarization affecting properties of the projection system.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 5, 2013
    Date of Patent: October 27, 2015
    Assignee: ASML Netherlands B.V.
    Inventors: Marcus Adrianus Van De Kerkhof, Wilhelmus Petrus De Boeij, Hendrikus Robertus Marie Van Greevenbroek, Michel Fran├žois Hubert Klaassen, Martijn Gerard Dominique Wehrens, Haico Victor Kok, Wilhelmus Jacobus Maria Rooijakkers, Tammo Uitterdijk
  • Patent number: 9170357
    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: October 27, 2015
    Assignee: NIKON CORPORATION
    Inventor: Mitsunori Toyoda
  • Patent number: 9164209
    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: July 14, 2011
    Date of Patent: October 20, 2015
    Assignee: NIKON CORPORATION
    Inventor: Mitsunori Toyoda
  • Patent number: 9164370
    Abstract: An exposure apparatus which exposes a substrate coated with a photoresist to form a latent image to the photoresist, comprises an original holding unit configured to hold an original including a phase-modulation diffraction grating so that an interference pattern is formed on a surface of the substrate by a light beam diffracted by the original, a substrate holding unit configured to hold the substrate, and a light beam dividing optical system configured to divide a light beam to form a plurality of light beams which enter the original, wherein a latent image is formed on the substrate by superposition of a plurality of interference patterns formed on the surface of the substrate, the plurality of interference patterns respectively corresponding to the plurality of light beams which enter the original.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 3, 2009
    Date of Patent: October 20, 2015
    Assignee: Canon Kabushiki Kaisha
    Inventors: Yasuhiro Kishikawa, Tokuyuki Honda, Seiji Takeuchi
  • Patent number: 9164393
    Abstract: An exposure method and apparatus for illuminating a pattern with an illumination system to expose a substrate through a projection system. The pattern is illuminated with illumination light with a light amount distribution in which an amount of light is larger in a pair of first areas and a pair of second areas than in an area other than the first and second areas on a pupil plane of the illumination system. The pair of the first areas being arranged outside an optical axis, the pair of the second areas being arranged on the same straight line as the pair of the first areas are arranged on, and the pair of the second areas being arranged outside the pair of the first areas.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 20, 2007
    Date of Patent: October 20, 2015
    Assignee: NIKON CORPORATION
    Inventors: Takehito Kudo, Shigeru Hirukawa
  • Patent number: 9152058
    Abstract: An exposure apparatus including a movable table, a member, movably separate from the table and located on a top surface of the table, to provide a surface substantially co-planar with a top surface of an object in or on the table, a projection system configured to project a radiation beam onto a radiation-sensitive target portion of a substrate, and a liquid supply system configured to provide a liquid to a space between the projection system and the object.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 29, 2011
    Date of Patent: October 6, 2015
    Assignee: ASML NETHERLANDS B.V.
    Inventors: Joeri Lof, Erik Theodorus Maria Bijlaart, Roelof Aeilko Siebrand Ritsema, Frank Van Schaik, Timotheus Franciscus Sengers, Klaus Simon, Joannes Theodoor De Smit, Arie Jeffrey Maria Den Boef, Hans Butler, Sjoerd Nicolaas Lambertus Donders, Christiaan Alexander Hoogendam, Marcus Adrianus Van De Kerkhof, Aleksey Yurievich Kolensnychenko, Mark Kroon, Erik Roelof Loopstra, Hendricus Johannes Maria Meijer, Jeroen Johannes Sophia Maria Mertens, Johannes Catharinus Hubertus Mulkens, Joost Jeroen Ottens, Alexander Straaijer, Bob Streefkerk, Helmar Van Santen
  • Patent number: 9152060
    Abstract: A stage device includes a stage and a frame-shaped member that move in three degrees of freedom directions in a two-dimensional plane while floating above a surface plate. The stage also holds an object. First fixed elements and second fixed elements are fitted to the frame-shaped member, and cooperate with first movable elements and second movable elements to generate drive forces to drive the stage in the two-dimensional plane. A reaction force generated by the driving of the stage acts on the first and/or second fixed elements, and causes the frame-shaped member to move in the two-dimensional plane. Because the reaction force caused by the movement of the stage is substantially completely cancelled, and because the movement of a center of gravity of a system including the stage and the frame-shaped member does not occur, no unbalanced load acts on the surface plate.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 31, 2008
    Date of Patent: October 6, 2015
    Assignee: NIKON CORPORATION
    Inventor: Yuichi Shibazaki
  • Patent number: 9146474
    Abstract: An exposure method and apparatus that illuminates a pattern with an illumination system to expose a substrate through a projection system are provided. The pattern is illuminated with illumination light having a light amount distribution, which is set such that an amount of light is larger in an on-axis area substantially including an optical axis and in a plurality of off-axis areas arranged out of the optical axis than in an area other than the on-axis area and the plurality of off-axis areas on a pupil plane of the illumination system. The polarization states of the illumination light are different between the on-axis area and the off-axis areas.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 12, 2009
    Date of Patent: September 29, 2015
    Assignee: NIKON CORPORATION
    Inventors: Takehito Kudo, Shigeru Hirukawa
  • Patent number: 9141002
    Abstract: Substrate support apparatus and methods are disclosed. Motion of a substrate chuck relative to a stage mirror may be dynamically compensated by sensing a displacement of the substrate chuck relative to the stage mirror and coupling a signal proportional to the displacement in one or more feedback loops with Z stage actuators and/or XY stage actuators coupled to the stage mirror. Alternatively, a substrate support apparatus may include a Z stage plate a stage mirror, one or more actuators attached to the Z stage plate, and a substrate chuck mounted to the stage mirror with constraints on six degrees of freedom of movement of the substrate chuck. The actuators impart movement to the Z stage in a Z direction as the Z stage plate is scanned in a plane perpendicular to the Z direction. The actuators may include force flexures having a base portion attached to the Z stage plate and a cantilever portion extending in a lateral direction from the base portion.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 4, 2013
    Date of Patent: September 22, 2015
    Assignee: KLA-Tencor Corporation
    Inventors: Salam Harb, Kent Douglas, Marek Zywno, James Haslim, Jon Hamilton
  • Patent number: 9136751
    Abstract: A magnetic shield having non-magnetic gaps provides reduced magnetic cross-talk for a linear motor array in a precision positioning system. Redirecting the leakage flux limits the cross-talk and associated deleterious effects. Such preferred magnetic circuit paths for the leakage are affixed to the moving magnet system of the linear motor. Embodiments of the preferred flux leakage paths are realized by providing a ferromagnetic shield separated by a non-magnetic gap between the permanent magnets and the back-irons. In another embodiment, the ferromagnetic shield separation includes diamagnetic materials.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 14, 2012
    Date of Patent: September 15, 2015
    Assignee: ASML Holding N.V.
    Inventors: Kalyan Kumar Mankala, Roberto Bernardo Wiener, Pradeep Kumar Govil, Andrew Nelson