Patents Examined by Colin Kreutzer
  • Patent number: 10281632
    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: May 7, 2019
    Assignee: NIKON CORPORATION
    Inventor: Mitsunori Toyoda
  • Patent number: 10241425
    Abstract: A level sensor to determine a height level of a substrate, that includes a projection unit including a projection grating having a period P, the projection grating configured to provide a patterned measurement beam, to the substrate, having a periodically varying intensity distribution in a first direction having the period P; a detection unit to receive a reflected patterned measurement beam after reflection on the substrate, the reflected patterned measurement beam having a periodically varying intensity distribution in a second direction, having the period P, wherein the detection unit has a sensor array to receive the reflected patterned measurement beam, the sensor array including a plurality of sensing elements arranged along the second direction at a pitch p smaller than or equal to half the period P, and a processing unit to determine the height level of the substrate based on a signal from the sensor.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 19, 2015
    Date of Patent: March 26, 2019
    Assignee: ASML Netherlands B.V.
    Inventor: Marinus Petrus Reijnders
  • Patent number: 10241422
    Abstract: A lithography apparatus includes: a projection system configured to project a desired image onto a substrate; an active module that generates a time-varying heat load; a temperature conditioning system configured to maintain a component of the lithography apparatus at a predetermined target temperature; and a heat buffer including a phase change material in thermal contact with the active module, the phase change material having a phase change temperature such that the phase change material is caused to undergo a phase change by the time-varying heat load, and wherein the phase change material is stationary relative to the projection system during critical operations of the lithography apparatus.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 16, 2016
    Date of Patent: March 26, 2019
    Assignee: ASML NETHERLANDS B.V.
    Inventor: Günes Nakiboglu
  • Patent number: 10234773
    Abstract: While a wafer stage linearly moves in a Y-axis direction, a multipoint AF system detects surface position information of the wafer surface at a plurality of detection points that are set at a predetermined distance in an X-axis direction and also a plurality of alignment systems that are arrayed in a line along the X-axis direction detect each of marks at positions different from one another on the wafer. That is, detection of surface position information of the wafer surface at a plurality of detection points and detection of the marks at positions different from one another on the wafer are finished, only by the wafer stage (wafer) linearly passing through the array of the plurality of detection points of the multipoint AF system and the plurality of alignment systems, and therefore, the throughput can be improved.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 16, 2017
    Date of Patent: March 19, 2019
    Assignee: NIKON CORPORATION
    Inventor: Yuichi Shibazaki
  • Patent number: 10234766
    Abstract: A reticle protection device capable of keeping a reticle therein is provided with an inner pod capable of keeping the reticle therein; an outer pod capable of keeping the inner pod therein; an electroconductive movable contact portion provided on at least one of the inner pod and the outer pod and being capable of coining into contact with an electroconductive film of the reticle; and a leaf spring for achieving electric conduction of the contact portion to at least one of the inner pod and the outer pod. The reticle is kept in the inner pod and the inner pod is kept in the outer pod, thereby enabling stable grounding of the reticle.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 19, 2017
    Date of Patent: March 19, 2019
    Assignee: NIKON CORPORATION
    Inventor: Kazuya Ota
  • Patent number: 10234767
    Abstract: Devices and methods for processing a radiation beam with coherence are disclosed. In one arrangement, an optical system receives a radiation beam with coherence. The radiation beam comprises components distributed over one or more radiation beam spatial modes. A waveguide supports a plurality of waveguide spatial modes. The optical system directs a plurality of the components of the radiation beam belonging to a common radiation beam spatial mode and having different frequencies onto the waveguide in such a way that each of the plurality of components couples to a different set of the waveguide spatial modes, each set comprising one or more of the waveguide spatial modes.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 26, 2017
    Date of Patent: March 19, 2019
    Assignee: ASML Netherlands B.V.
    Inventors: Sebastianus Adrianus Goorden, Nitesh Pandey, Duygu Akbulut, Teunis Willem Tukker, Johannes Matheus Marie De Wit
  • Patent number: 10228623
    Abstract: There is provided a reflective image-forming optical system which is applicable to an exposure apparatus using, for example, EUV light and which is capable of increasing numerical aperture while enabling optical path separation of light fluxes. In a reflective imaging optical system (6) forming an image of a first plane (4) onto a second plane (7), the numerical aperture on a side of the second plane with respect to a first direction (X direction) on the second plane is greater than 1.1 times a numerical aperture on the side of the second plane with respect to a second direction (Y direction) crossing the first direction on the second plane. The reflecting imaging optical system has an aperture stop (AS) defining the numerical aperture on the side of the second plane, and the aperture stop has an elliptic-shaped opening of which size in a major axis direction (X direction) is greater than 1.1 times that in a minor axis direction (Y direction).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 16, 2018
    Date of Patent: March 12, 2019
    Assignee: Nikon Corporation
    Inventor: Hideki Komatsuda
  • Patent number: 10222713
    Abstract: An apparatus and method for controlling temperature of a patterning device in a lithographic apparatus, by flowing gas across the patterning device. A patterning apparatus includes: a patterning device support structure configured to support a patterning device; a patterning device conditioning system including a first gas outlet configured to provide a gas flow over a surface of the patterning device and a second gas outlet configured to provide a gas flow over a part of a surface of the patterning device support structure not supporting the patterning device; and a control system configured to separately control the temperature of the gas exiting the first and second gas outlets such that the gas exiting the second gas outlet is at a higher temperature than the gas exiting the first gas outlet and/or to separately control the temperature and gas flow rate of the gas exiting the first and second gas outlets.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 21, 2016
    Date of Patent: March 5, 2019
    Assignee: ASML NETHERLANDS B.V.
    Inventors: Laurentius Johannes Adrianus Van Bokhoven, Ruud Hendrikus Martinus Johannes Bloks, Günes Nakiboglu, Marinus Jan Remie, Johan Gertrudis Cornelis Kunnen
  • Patent number: 10222712
    Abstract: The present invention provides a conveyance apparatus which conveys a substrate to a stage, the apparatus comprising a holding unit configured to hold and rotate the substrate, a detection unit configured to detect a height of the substrate held by the holding unit, a conveyance unit configured to convey the substrate from the holding unit to the stage, and a control unit configured to control, based on a detection result of the detection unit obtained while the holding unit rotates the substrate, conveyance of the substrate by the conveyance unit.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 29, 2017
    Date of Patent: March 5, 2019
    Assignee: CANON KABUSHIKI KAISHA
    Inventor: Yasunao Matsuhira
  • Patent number: 10216091
    Abstract: A facet mirror for an illumination optical unit for projection lithography has a plurality of used facets, which in each case reflect an illumination light partial beam. The facet mirror has at least one change subunit having a plurality of change facets arranged jointly on a facet carrier, which change facets can be positioned alternatively at the used location of exactly one used facet. This results in a facet mirror with which different illumination geometries or illumination settings can be set operationally reliably and stably.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 17, 2017
    Date of Patent: February 26, 2019
    Assignee: Carl Zeiss SMT GmbH
    Inventors: Markus Deguenther, Michael Patra
  • Patent number: 10209631
    Abstract: The present invention provides an exposure apparatus which transfers a pattern of a mask onto a substrate by exposing the substrate while scanning the mask and the substrate, the apparatus including a stage configured to hold the substrate and move, a control unit configured to control movement of the stage, a first measurement unit configured to measure a position, in a height direction, of a shot region of the substrate held by the stage before the shot region reaches an exposure area where the shot region is exposed, and a second measurement unit configured to measure the position of the shot region in the height direction prior to the first measurement unit.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 11, 2017
    Date of Patent: February 19, 2019
    Assignee: CANON KABUSHIKI KAISHA
    Inventor: Takanori Sato
  • Patent number: 10209634
    Abstract: A lithographic apparatus comprising: a positioning stage (WT); an isolation frame (300); a projection system (PS), comprising a first frame (210); a second frame (220); a supporting frame (10) for supporting the positioning stage; a first vibration isolation system (250) and a second vibration isolation system (270), wherein the supporting frame and the first frame are coupled via the first vibration isolation system; a stage position measurement system (400) to determine directly the position of a stage reference of an element of the positioning stage in one or more degrees of freedom with respect to an isolation frame reference of an element of the isolation frame; and wherein the first frame and the isolation frame are coupled via the second vibration isolation system.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 26, 2016
    Date of Patent: February 19, 2019
    Assignee: ASML Netherlands B.V.
    Inventors: Hans Butler, Maurice Willem Jozef Etiënne Wijckmans, Engelbertus Antonius Fransiscus Van Der Pasch, Christiaan Alexander Hoogendam, Bernardus Antonius Johannes Luttikhuis
  • Patent number: 10209635
    Abstract: A lithographic apparatus injects gas between a patterning device and a patterning device masking blade to help protect the patterning device from contamination. The gas may be injected into the space defined between the patterning device and the patterning device blade by one or more gas supply nozzles that are arranged on at least one side of the patterning device. The one or more gas supply nozzles are coupled to a frame which a patterning device support structure moves relative to. Each nozzle may be constructed and arranged to supply gas over at least the patterning region of the reflective patterning device.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 7, 2015
    Date of Patent: February 19, 2019
    Assignee: ASML Holding N.V.
    Inventors: Peter Kochersperger, David Ramirez
  • Patent number: 10203607
    Abstract: An optical element unit including a first optical element module and a sealing arrangement is disclosed. The first optical element module occupies a first module space and includes a first module component of a first component type and an associated second module component of a second component type. The first component type is optical elements and the second component type being different from the first component type. The sealing arrangement separates the first module space into a first space and a second space and substantially prevents, at least in a first direction, the intrusion of substances from one of the first space and the second space into the other one of the first space and the second space. The first module component at least partially contacts the first space and, at least in its area optically used, not contacting the second space. The second module component at least partially contacts the second space.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 4, 2014
    Date of Patent: February 12, 2019
    Assignee: Carl Zeiss SMT GmbH
    Inventors: Tilman Schwertner, Ulrich Bingel, Guido Limbach, Julian Kaller, Hans-Juergen Scherle, Jens Kugler, Dirk Schaffer, Bernhard Gellrich
  • Patent number: 10203613
    Abstract: Positional information of a movable body in a Y-axis direction is measured using an interferometer and an encoder whose short-term stability of measurement values excels when compared with the interferometer, and based on the measurement results, a predetermined calibration operation for obtaining correction information for correcting measurement values of the encoder is performed. Accordingly, by using measurement values of the interferometer, correction information for correcting the measurement values of the encoder whose short-term stability of the measurement values excels the interferometer is obtained. Then, based on the measurement values of the encoder and the correction information, the movable body is driven in the Y-axis direction with good precision.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 26, 2017
    Date of Patent: February 12, 2019
    Assignee: NIKON CORPORATION
    Inventor: Yuichi Shibazaki
  • Patent number: 10197923
    Abstract: In an exposure apparatus and a method for defocus and tilt error compensation, each of alignment sensors (500a, 500b, 500c, 500d, 500e, 500f) corresponds to and has the same coordinate in the first direction as a respective one of focusing sensors (600a, 600b, 600c, 600d, 600e, 600f), so that each of the alignment sensors (500a, 500b, 500c, 500d, 500e, 500f) is arranged on the same straight line as a respective one of the focusing sensors (600a, 600b, 600c, 600d, 600e, 600f). As such, alignment marks can be characterized with both focusing information and alignment information. This enables the correction of errors in the alignment information and thus achieves defocus and tilt error compensation, resulting in significant improvements in alignment accuracy and the production yield.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 13, 2015
    Date of Patent: February 5, 2019
    Assignee: SHANGHAI MICRO ELECTRONICS EQUIPMENT (GROUP) CO., LTD.
    Inventors: Feibiao Chen, Chang Zhou, Yuefei Chen, Qi Cheng, Lei Diao, Jingchao Qi
  • Patent number: 10197924
    Abstract: A first stage system having a first stage and a first drive system that moves the first stage is configured to hold a mask illuminated with illumination light. A second stage system having a second stage and a second drive system that moves the second stage is configured to hold a substrate. A measurement system having a first encoder system and a second encoder system measures positional information of the first and second stages, respectively. The second encoder system measures the positional information of the second stage with a plurality of heads that face a grating section. The first and second drive systems are controlled based on correction information for compensating for a measurement error of the second encoder system that occurs due to the heads and measurement information of the first and the second encoder systems.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 5, 2018
    Date of Patent: February 5, 2019
    Assignee: NIKON CORPORATION
    Inventor: Yuichi Shibazaki
  • Patent number: 10197921
    Abstract: An exposure device is disclosed, including: a light source (1), an illumination module (2), a mask stage (5), a projection objective module, an imaging position adjustment module (4) and a wafer stage (6), disposed sequentially along a direction of light propagation, the imaging position adjustment module (4) including a plurality of adjustment elements (410) arranged individually, the projection objective module including a plurality of projection objectives (3) each having an FoV in positional correspondence with a respective one of the plurality of adjustment elements (410). The imaging position adjustment module (4) ensures satisfactory imaging quality and FoV stitching quality of the projection objectives (3) by performing translation, magnification, focal plane and other adjustments on an image formed by the projection objective module. The projection objective module is simpler as it does not contain any component or mechanism for imaging position adjustment.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 19, 2016
    Date of Patent: February 5, 2019
    Assignee: SHANGHAI MICRO ELECTRONICS EQUIPMENT (GROUP) CO., LTD.
    Inventors: Jinglu Sun, Jian Zhou
  • Patent number: 10191377
    Abstract: An immersion lithographic apparatus is provided having a substrate table including a drain configured to receive immersion fluid which leaks into a gap between an edge of a substrate on the substrate table and an edge of a recess in which the substrate is located. A thermal conditioning system is provided to thermally condition at least the portion of the recess supporting the substrate by directing one or more jets of fluid onto a reverse side of the section supporting the substrate.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 7, 2017
    Date of Patent: January 29, 2019
    Assignee: ASML Netherlands, B.V.
    Inventors: Hrishikesh Patel, Johannes Henricus Wilhelmus Jacobs, Gerardus Adrianus Antonius Maria Kusters, Thibault Simon Mathieu Laurent, Marcio Alexandre Cano Miranda, Ruud Hendricus Martinus Johannes Bloks, Peng Feng, Johan Gertrudis Cornelis Kunnen
  • Patent number: 10191393
    Abstract: A measurement system for a lithographic apparatus includes a sub-frame compliantly mounted on a reference frame. A measurement device, e.g. an alignment sensor, is mounted on the sub-frame. Soft mounting of the sub-frame isolates the alignment sensor from high-frequency disturbances, e.g. acoustic noise, by acting as a low-pass filter with a cut-off frequency, e.g. in the range of from 100 to 200 Hz.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 22, 2016
    Date of Patent: January 29, 2019
    Assignee: ASML Netherlands B.V.
    Inventors: Jan Steven Christiaan Westerlaken, Marcel Koenraad Marie Baggen, Fransiscus Mathijs Jacobs, Jeroen Arnoldus Leonardus Johannes Raaymakers, Frank Pieter Albert Van Den Berkmortel, Marc Wilhelmus Maria Van Der Wijst