Patents by Inventor Mario E. Bran

Mario E. Bran has filed for patents to protect the following inventions. This listing includes patent applications that are pending as well as patents that have already been granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

  • Publication number: 20030205238
    Abstract: A method of cleaning a substrate comprises placing the substrate on a rotating fixture, placing a liquid on at least one side of the substrate, and creating a standing wave of megasonic energy oriented generally parallel to the substrate. The standing wave generates an associated pattern of high-agitation regions in the liquid. The method further comprises moving the standing wave back-and-forth so as to move the pattern of high-agitation regions about with respect to the substrate. An apparatus for cleaning substrates comprises a support to rotate the substrate about a first axis, and a transmitter extending generally parallel to a surface of the substrate. The apparatus further comprises a megasonic transducer in acoustically coupled relation to the transmitter, and a reciprocation drive in fixed relation to the transmitter. The reciprocation drive moves the transmitter back-and-forth within a plane generally parallel to the surface of the substrate.
    Type: Application
    Filed: May 6, 2002
    Publication date: November 6, 2003
    Inventor: Mario E. Bran
  • Publication number: 20030141784
    Abstract: A megasonic cleaning apparatus configured to provide effective cleaning of a substrate without causing damage to the substrate is provided. The apparatus includes a megasonic probe, a transducer configured to energize the probe, and a heat transfer element disposed between the transducer and the probe. The heat transfer element may be configured to direct the sonic energy from the transducer toward specific areas of the probe so as to reduce the effect of normal-incident waves relative to shallow-angle waves. Alternatively, a rear end face of the probe may be configured for this purpose. Another embodiment provides a coupler disposed between the heat transfer element and the rear end face of the probe for directing the sonic energy from the transducer toward specific areas of the probe.
    Type: Application
    Filed: January 29, 2002
    Publication date: July 31, 2003
    Inventor: Mario E. Bran
  • Publication number: 20030024547
    Abstract: The present invention provides a megasonic cleaning apparatus configured to provide effective cleaning of a substrate without causing damage to the substrate. The apparatus includes a probe having one of a variety of cross-sections configured to decrease the ratio of normal-incident waves to shallow-angle waves. One such cross-section includes a channel running along a portion of the lower edge of the probe. Another cross-section includes a narrow lower edge of the probe. Another cross-section is elliptical. Another cross-section includes transverse bores originating in the lower edge of the probe. As an alternative to, or in addition to, providing a probe having a cross-section other than circular, the present invention may also provide a probe having a roughened lower surface.
    Type: Application
    Filed: August 3, 2001
    Publication date: February 6, 2003
    Inventors: Mario E. Bran, Michael B. Olesen, Yi Wu
  • Publication number: 20030015218
    Abstract: Semiconductor wafers are cleaned using megasonic energy to agitate cleaning fluid applied to the wafer. A source of energy vibrates an elongated probe which transmits the acoustic energy into the fluid. The probe has a solid cleaning rod and a flared or stepped rear base. In one form, the probe is made of one piece, and in another, the rod fits into a socket in the base. This enables a rod to be made of material which is compatible with the cleaning solution, while the base may be of a different material. A heat transfer member acoustically coupled to the probe base and to a transducer conducts heat away from the transducer. A housing for the heat transfer member and the transducer supports those components and provides means for conducting coolant through the housing to control the temperature of the transducer. In another arrangement, an end of the housing is coupled between the transducer and the probe.
    Type: Application
    Filed: September 12, 2002
    Publication date: January 23, 2003
    Inventor: Mario E. Bran
  • Publication number: 20030010357
    Abstract: Semiconductor wafers are cleaned using megasonic energy to agitate cleaning fluid applied to the wafer. A source of energy vibrates an elongated probe which transmits the acoustic energy into the fluid. The probe has a solid cleaning rod and a flared or stepped rear base. In one form, the probe is made of one piece, and in another, the rod fits into a socket in the base. This enables a rod to be made of material which is compatible with the cleaning solution, while the base may be of a different material. A heat transfer member acoustically coupled to the probe base and to a transducer conducts heat away from the transducer. A housing for the heat transfer member and the transducer supports those components and provides means for conducting coolant through the housing to control the temperature of the transducer. In another arrangement, an end of the housing is coupled between the transducer and the probe.
    Type: Application
    Filed: September 12, 2002
    Publication date: January 16, 2003
    Inventor: Mario E. Bran
  • Publication number: 20020185154
    Abstract: An apparatus includes a rotatable chuck for supporting a substrate and a splash guard. The splash guard surrounds the chuck and surrounds a substrate mounted on the chuck. The splash guard has a portion that deflects fluid being flung off the substrate by centrifugal action in a manner so as to not splash back onto the substrate. The splash guard is moveable between a process position in which the upper annular edge of the splash guard extends above the chuck and a substrate on the chuck, and a load/unload position in which the splash guard is tilted so that one side of the upper annular edge is below an upper edge of the chuck. The movement of the splash guard facilitates loading and unloading of a substrate.
    Type: Application
    Filed: June 12, 2002
    Publication date: December 12, 2002
    Inventors: Chad M. Hosack, Jeffrey M. Lauerhaas, Mario E. Bran, Raoul Standt, Pankaj T. Patel, Yi Wu, Geert Doumen, Paul Mertens
  • Patent number: 6463938
    Abstract: Semiconductor wafers are cleaned using megasonic energy to agitate cleaning fluid applied to the wafer. A source of energy vibrates an elongated probe which transmits the acoustic energy into the fluid. The probe has a solid cleaning rod and a flared or stepped rear base. In one form, the probe is made of one piece, and in another, the rod fits into a socket in the base. This enables a rod to be made of material which is compatible with the cleaning solution, while the base may be of a different material. A heat transfer member acoustically coupled to the probe base and to a transducer conducts heat away from the transducer. A housing for the heat transfer member and the transducer supports those components and provides means for conducting coolant through the housing to control the temperature of the transducer. In another arrangement, an end of the housing is coupled between the transducer and the probe.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 13, 2001
    Date of Patent: October 15, 2002
    Assignee: Verteq, Inc.
    Inventor: Mario E. Bran
  • Publication number: 20020083958
    Abstract: An apparatus for separating contaminants from small parts comprises a separation chamber having an upper end and a lower end, and a separation-fluid source in fluid communication with the separation chamber. The separation-fluid source is adapted to direct a pressurized separation-fluid current toward the upper end of the separation chamber. The upper end of the separation chamber has an opening for receiving the small parts, so that the small parts, upon passing through the opening, will fall toward the lower end of the separation chamber against the separation-fluid current while the separation-fluid current removes the contaminants from the small parts and carries the contaminants out of the separation chamber via the upper end of the separation chamber.
    Type: Application
    Filed: July 27, 2001
    Publication date: July 4, 2002
    Inventor: Mario E. Bran
  • Patent number: 6378534
    Abstract: Semiconductor wafers are positioned in a cleaning tank and subjected to sequential flows of one or more highly diluted cleaning solutions that are injected into the lower end of the tank and allowed to overflow at the upper end. One solution has one part ammonium hydroxide, two parts hydrogen peroxide, and 300-600 parts deionized water together with a trace of high purity surfactant. Rinsing water is flowed through the tank after the first solution is dumped. A second solution has highly dilute hydrofluoric acid. A third solution is more dilute than the first solution. A fourth solution contains hydrochloric acid greatly diluted with deionized water. The solutions are initiated either by injecting the chemicals into an incoming DI water line or directly into the tank. The cleaning tank is provided with a megasonic generator in its lower portion for selective application of megasonic energy.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 23, 2000
    Date of Patent: April 30, 2002
    Assignee: Verteq, Inc.
    Inventors: Michael B. Olesen, Mario E. Bran
  • Publication number: 20020011256
    Abstract: Semiconductor wafers are cleaned using megasonic energy to agitate cleaning fluid applied to the wafer. A source of energy vibrates an elongated probe which transmits the acoustic energy into the fluid. The probe has a solid cleaning rod and a flared or stepped rear base. In one form, the probe is made of one piece, and in another, the rod fits into a socket in the base. This enables a rod to be made of material which is compatible with the cleaning solution, while the base may be of a different material. A heat transfer member acoustically coupled to the probe base and to a transducer conducts heat away from the transducer. A housing for the heat transfer member and the transducer supports those components and provides means for conducting coolant through the housing to control the temperature of the transducer. In another arrangement, an end of the housing is coupled between the transducer and the probe.
    Type: Application
    Filed: September 13, 2001
    Publication date: January 31, 2002
    Inventor: Mario E. Bran
  • Patent number: 6295999
    Abstract: Semiconductor wafers are cleaned using megasonic energy to agitate cleaning fluid applied to the wafer. A source of energy vibrates an elongated probe which transmits the acoustic energy into the fluid. The probe has a solid cleaning rod and a flared or stepped rear base. In one form, the probe is made of one piece, and in another, the rod fits into a socket in the base. This enables a rod to be made of material which is compatible with the cleaning solution, while the base may be of a different material. A heat transfer member acoustically coupled to the probe base and to a transducer conducts heat away from the transducer. A housing for the heat transfer member and the transducer supports those components and provides means for conducting coolant through the housing to control the temperature of the transducer. In another arrangement, an end of the housing is coupled between the transducer and the probe.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 22, 2000
    Date of Patent: October 2, 2001
    Assignee: Verteq, Inc.
    Inventor: Mario E. Bran
  • Patent number: 6158445
    Abstract: Semiconductor wafers are positioned in a cleaning tank and subjected to sequential flows of one or more highly diluted cleaning solutions that are injected into the lower end of the tank and allowed to overflow at the upper end. One solution comprises one part ammonium hydroxide, two parts hydrogen peroxide, and 300-600 parts deionized water together with a trace of high purity surfactant. Rinsing water is flowed through the tank after the first solution is dumped. A second solution comprises highly dilute hydrofluoric acid. A third solution is more dilute than the first solution. A fourth solution contains hydrochloric acid greatly diluted with deionized water. The solutions are initiated either by injecting the chemicals into an incoming DI water line or directly into the tank. The cleaning tank is provided with a megasonic generator in its lower portion for selective application of megasonic energy.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 20, 1999
    Date of Patent: December 12, 2000
    Inventors: Michael B. Olesen, Mario E. Bran
  • Patent number: 6140744
    Abstract: Semiconductor wafers are cleaned using megasonic energy to agitate cleaning fluid applied to the wafer. A source of energy vibrates an elongated probe which transmits the acoustic energy into the fluid. The probe has a solid cleaning rod and a flared or stepped rear base. In one form, the probe is made of one piece, and in another, the rod fits into a socket in the base. This enables a rod to be made of material which is compatible with the cleaning solution, while the base may be of a different material. A heat transfer member acoustically coupled to the probe base and to a transducer conducts heat away from the transducer. A housing for the heat transfer member and the transducer supports those components and provides means for conducting coolant through the housing to control the temperature of the transducer. In another arrangement, an end of the housing is coupled between the transducer and the probe.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 8, 1998
    Date of Patent: October 31, 2000
    Assignee: Verteq, Inc.
    Inventor: Mario E. Bran
  • Patent number: 6122837
    Abstract: A dryer for processing semiconductor substrates which rotates a carrier containing the substrates within a housing in combination with a bubbler which heats and directs a gas containing a water tension reducing vapor to the housing to contact the substrates and thereby hasten drying, decrease water marking, and decrease contamination.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 24, 1998
    Date of Patent: September 26, 2000
    Assignee: Verteq, Inc.
    Inventors: Michael B. Olesen, Mario E. Bran
  • Patent number: 6039059
    Abstract: A wafer cleaning system cleans semiconductor wafers using megasonic energy to agitate cleaning fluid applied to the wafer. A source of acoustic energy vibrates an elongated quartz probe which transmits the acoustic energy into the fluid. One form of the probe has a solid cylindrical-shaped cleaning portion within the tank and a flared rear portion with an increasing diameter outside the tank. A heat transfer member acoustically coupled to the larger rear portion of the probe and to a transducer conducts heat away from the transducer. A housing for the heat transfer member and transducer supports those components and provides means for conducting coolant through the housing to control the temperature of the transducer. In one arrangement, fluid is sprayed onto both sides of a wafer while a probe is positioned close to an upper side. In another arrangement, a short probe is positioned with its end face close to the surface of a wafer, and the probe is moved over the wafer as it rotates.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 30, 1996
    Date of Patent: March 21, 2000
    Assignee: Verteq, Inc.
    Inventor: Mario E. Bran
  • Patent number: 5996595
    Abstract: Semiconductor wafers are positioned in a cleaning tank and subjected to sequential flows of one or more highly diluted cleaning solutions that are injected from the lower end of the tank and allowed to overflow at the upper end. One solution comprises one part ammonium hydroxide, two parts hydrogen peroxide, and 300-600 parts deionized water together with a trace of high purity surfactant. Rinsing water is flowed through the tank after the first solution is dumped. A second solution comprises highly dilute hydrofluoric acid. A third solution is more dilute than the first solution. A fourth solution contains hydrochloric acid greatly diluted with deionized water. The cleaning tank is provided with a megasonic generator in its lower portion for selective application of megasonic energy. Quick dump valves in the tank bottom enable the solutions to be quickly dumped followed by one or more rinse steps, including a quick refill while spraying and then dumping of the rinsing water.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 7, 1997
    Date of Patent: December 7, 1999
    Assignee: Verteq, Inc.
    Inventors: Michael B. Olesen, Mario E. Bran
  • Patent number: 5950645
    Abstract: Semiconductor wafers are positioned in a cleaning tank and subjected to sequential flows of one or more highly diluted cleaning solutions that are injected into the lower end of the tank and allowed to overflow at the upper end. One solution comprises one part ammonium hydroxide, two parts hydrogen peroxide, and 300-600 parts deionized water together with a trace of high purity surfactant. Rinsing water is flowed through the tank after the first solution is dumped. A second solution comprises highly dilute hydrofluoric acid. A third solution is more dilute than the first solution. A fourth solution contains hydrochloric acid greatly diluted with deionized water. The solutions are initiated either by injecting the chemicals into an incoming DI water line or directly into the tank. The cleaning tank is provided with a megasonic generator in its lower portion for selective application of megasonic energy.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 11, 1997
    Date of Patent: September 14, 1999
    Assignee: Verteq, Inc.
    Inventors: Michael B. Olesen, Mario E. Bran
  • Patent number: 5908509
    Abstract: Semiconductor wafers are positioned in a cleaning tank and subjected to sequential flows of one or more highly diluted cleaning solutions that are injected from the lower end of the tank and allowed to overflow at the upper end. One solution comprises one part ammonium hydroxide, two parts hydrogen peroxide, and 300-600 parts deionized water together with a trace of high purity surfactant. Rinsing water is flowed through the tank after the first solution is dumped. A second solution comprises highly dilute hydrofluoric acid. A third solution is more dilute than the first solution. A fourth solution contains hydrochloric acid greatly diluted with deionized water. The cleaning tank is provided with a megasonic generator in its lower portion for selective application of megasonic energy. Quick dump valves in the tank bottom enable the solutions to be quickly dumped followed by one or more rinse steps, including a quick refill while spraying and then dumping of the rinsing water.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 7, 1997
    Date of Patent: June 1, 1999
    Assignee: Verteq, Inc.
    Inventors: Michael B. Olesen, Mario E. Bran
  • Patent number: 5656097
    Abstract: Semiconductor wafers are positioned in a cleaning tank and subjected to sequential flows of one or more highly diluted cleaning solutions that are injected from the lower end of the tank and allowed to overflow at the upper end. One solution contains one part ammonium hydroxide, two parts hydrogen peroxide, and 300-600 parts deionized water together with a trace of high purity surfactant. Rinsing water is flowed through the tank after the first solution is dumped. A second solutions contains highly dilute hydrofluoric acid. A third solution is more dilute than the first solution. A fourth solution contains hydrochloric acid greatly diluted with deionized water. The cleaning tank is provided with a megasonic generator in its lower portion for selective application of megasonic energy. Quick dump valves in the tank bottom enable the solutions to be quickly dumped followed by one or more rinse steps, including a quick refill while spraying and then dumping of the rinsing water.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 21, 1994
    Date of Patent: August 12, 1997
    Assignee: Verteq, Inc.
    Inventors: Michael B. Olesen, Mario E. Bran
  • Patent number: 5556479
    Abstract: A method for drying semiconductor wafers produces ultra-clean wafers without conventional drying chemicals. The method involves slowing draining a rinsing fluid from a processing tank while heating the wafer at the fluid interface as the wafer emerges from the rinsing fluid. The portion of the wafer surface at the fluid interface is heated to a temperature greater than the rinsing fluid to drive contaminant particles away from the wafer surface. An apparatus for performing this drying method also is provided.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 15, 1994
    Date of Patent: September 17, 1996
    Assignee: Verteq, Inc.
    Inventor: Mario E. Bran