Patents by Inventor Shantinath Ghongadi

Shantinath Ghongadi 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).

  • Patent number: 10497592
    Abstract: Disclosed are methods of preparing a semiconductor substrate having a metal seed layer for a subsequent electroplating operation. In some embodiments, the methods may include contacting the surface of the semiconductor substrate with a plasma to treat the surface by reducing metal oxides thereon and thereafter measuring a post-plasma-contact color signal from said surface, the color signal having one or more color components. The methods may then further include estimating the extent of the oxide reduction due to the plasma treatment based on the post-plasma contact color signal. In some embodiments, estimating the extent of the oxide reduction due to the plasma treatment is done based on the b* component of the post-plasma contact color signal. Also disclosed are plasma treatment apparatuses which may implement the foregoing methods.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 30, 2017
    Date of Patent: December 3, 2019
    Assignee: Lam Research Corporation
    Inventors: Manish Ranjan, Cian Sweeney, Shantinath Ghongadi
  • Patent number: 10443146
    Abstract: Methods and apparatus for determining whether a substrate includes an unacceptably high amount of oxide on its surface are described. The substrate is typically a substrate that is to be electroplated. The determination may be made directly in an electroplating apparatus, during an initial portion of an electroplating process. The determination may involve immersing the substrate in electrolyte with a particular applied voltage or applied current provided during or soon after immersion, and recording a current response or voltage response over this same timeframe. The applied current or applied voltage may be zero or non-zero. By comparing the current response or voltage response to a threshold current, threshold voltage, or threshold time, it can be determined whether the substrate included an unacceptably high amount of oxide on its surface. The threshold current, threshold voltage, and/or threshold time may be selected based on a calibration procedure.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 30, 2017
    Date of Patent: October 15, 2019
    Assignee: Lam Research Corporation
    Inventors: Ludan Huang, Lee J. Brogan, Tighe A. Spurlin, Shantinath Ghongadi, Jonathan David Reid, Manish Ranjan, Bryan Pennington, Clifford Raymond Berry
  • Patent number: 10358738
    Abstract: Various embodiments herein relate to methods and apparatus for electroplating metal on a substrate. In many cases, an electroplating process may be monitored to ensure that it is operating within a pre-defined processing window. This monitoring may involve application of a controlled potential between the substrate and a reference electrode after the electroplating process is substantially complete (e.g., after recessed features on the substrate are substantially filled). The current delivered to the substrate during application of the controlled potential is monitored, and a peak current is determined. This peak current, often referred to herein as the potential-controlled exit peak current, can be compared against an expected range to determine whether the electroplating process is operating as desired.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 19, 2016
    Date of Patent: July 23, 2019
    Assignee: Lam Research Corporation
    Inventors: Quan Ma, Shantinath Ghongadi, Zhian He, Bryan Pennington, Tariq Majid, Jonathan David Reid
  • Patent number: 10351968
    Abstract: Apparatus and methods for electroplating are described. Apparatus described herein include anode supports including positioning mechanisms that maintain a consistent distance between the surface of the wafer and the surface of a consumable anode during plating. Greater uniformity control is achieved. The consumable anode in one implementation has a plurality of through channels and at least one depression on its surface (e.g., a depression surrounding a channel) that is configured for registering with a protrusion on a component of an anode assembly, such as with a support plate. Fasteners may pass through the channels in the anode and attach it to a charge plate.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 7, 2016
    Date of Patent: July 16, 2019
    Assignee: Novellus Systems, Inc.
    Inventors: Jingbin Feng, R. Marshall Stowell, Shantinath Ghongadi, Zhian He, Frederick Dean Wilmot
  • Publication number: 20190145018
    Abstract: Various embodiments herein relate to methods and apparatus for electroplating metal onto substrates. In various cases, a reference electrode may be modified to promote improved electroplating results. The modifications may relate to one or more of the reference electrode's shape, position, relative conductivity compared to the electrolyte, or other design feature. In some particular examples the reference electrode may be dynamically changeable, for example having a changeable shape and/or position. In a particular example the reference electrode may be made of multiple segments. The techniques described herein may be combined as desired for individual applications.
    Type: Application
    Filed: January 10, 2019
    Publication date: May 16, 2019
    Inventors: Zhian He, Ashwin Ramesh, Shantinath Ghongadi
  • Publication number: 20190127872
    Abstract: Methods and electroplating systems for controlling plating electrolyte concentration on an electrochemical plating apparatus for substrates are disclosed. A method involves: (a) providing an electroplating solution to an electroplating system; (b) electroplating the metal onto the substrate while the substrate is held in a cathode chamber of an electroplating cell of electroplating system; (c) supplying the make-up solution to the electroplating system via a make-up solution inlet; and (d) supplying the secondary electroplating solution to the electroplating system via a secondary electroplating solution inlet. The secondary electroplating solution includes some or all components of the electroplating solution. At least one component of the secondary electroplating solution has a concentration that significantly deviates from its target concentration.
    Type: Application
    Filed: November 1, 2018
    Publication date: May 2, 2019
    Inventors: Zhian He, Shantinath Ghongadi, Quan Ma, Hyungjun Hur, Cian Sweeney, Quang Nguyen, Rezaul Karim, Jingbin Feng
  • Patent number: 10214828
    Abstract: Various embodiments herein relate to methods and apparatus for electroplating metal onto substrates. In various cases, a reference electrode may be modified to promote improved electroplating results. The modifications may relate to one or more of the reference electrode's shape, position, relative conductivity compared to the electrolyte, or other design feature. In some particular examples the reference electrode may be dynamically changeable, for example having a changeable shape and/or position. In a particular example the reference electrode may be made of multiple segments. The techniques described herein may be combined as desired for individual applications.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 18, 2018
    Date of Patent: February 26, 2019
    Assignee: Lam Research Corporation
    Inventors: Zhian He, Ashwin Ramesh, Shantinath Ghongadi
  • Patent number: 10214829
    Abstract: Various embodiments herein relate to methods and apparatus for electroplating metal onto substrates. In various cases, a reference electrode may be modified to promote improved electroplating results. The modifications may relate to one or more of the reference electrode's shape, position, relative conductivity compared to the electrolyte, or other design feature. In some particular examples the reference electrode may be dynamically changeable, for example having a changeable shape and/or position. In a particular example the reference electrode may be made of multiple segments. The techniques described herein may be combined as desired for individual applications.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 18, 2018
    Date of Patent: February 26, 2019
    Assignee: Lam Research Corporation
    Inventors: Zhian He, Ashwin Ramesh, Shantinath Ghongadi
  • Publication number: 20180347065
    Abstract: Disclosed are cup assemblies for holding, sealing, and providing electrical power to a semiconductor substrate during electroplating which may include a cup bottom element having a main body portion and a moment arm, an elastomeric sealing element disposed on the moment arm, and an electrical contact element disposed on the elastomeric sealing element. The main body portion may be such that it does not substantially flex when a substrate is pressed against the moment arm, and it may be rigidly affixed to another feature of the cup structure. The ratio of the average vertical thickness of the main body portion to that of the moment arm may be greater than about 5. The electrical contact element may have a substantially flat but flexible contact portion disposed upon a substantially horizontal portion of the sealing element. The elastomeric sealing element may be integrated with the cup bottom element during manufacturing.
    Type: Application
    Filed: May 18, 2018
    Publication date: December 6, 2018
    Inventors: Jingbin Feng, Robert Marshall Stowell, Shantinath Ghongadi, Ashwin Ramesh
  • Publication number: 20180282894
    Abstract: Methods and apparatus for determining whether a substrate includes an unacceptably high amount of oxide on its surface are described. The substrate is typically a substrate that is to be electroplated. The determination may be made directly in an electroplating apparatus, during an initial portion of an electroplating process. The determination may involve immersing the substrate in electrolyte with a particular applied voltage or applied current provided during or soon after immersion, and recording a current response or voltage response over this same timeframe. The applied current or applied voltage may be zero or non-zero. By comparing the current response or voltage response to a threshold current, threshold voltage, or threshold time, it can be determined whether the substrate included an unacceptably high amount of oxide on its surface. The threshold current, threshold voltage, and/or threshold time may be selected based on a calibration procedure.
    Type: Application
    Filed: March 30, 2017
    Publication date: October 4, 2018
    Inventors: Ludan Huang, Lee J. Brogan, Tighe A. Spurlin, Shantinath Ghongadi, Jonathan David Reid, Manish Ranjan, Bryan Pennington, Clifford Raymond Berry
  • Publication number: 20180266005
    Abstract: Various embodiments herein relate to methods and apparatus for electroplating metal onto substrates. In various cases, a reference electrode may be modified to promote improved electroplating results. The modifications may relate to one or more of the reference electrode's shape, position, relative conductivity compared to the electrolyte, or other design feature. In some particular examples the reference electrode may be dynamically changeable, for example having a changeable shape and/or position. In a particular example the reference electrode may be made of multiple segments. The techniques described herein may be combined as desired for individual applications.
    Type: Application
    Filed: May 18, 2018
    Publication date: September 20, 2018
    Inventors: Zhian He, Ashwin Ramesh, Shantinath Ghongadi
  • Publication number: 20180266006
    Abstract: Various embodiments herein relate to methods and apparatus for electroplating metal onto substrates. In various cases, a reference electrode may be modified to promote improved electroplating results. The modifications may relate to one or more of the reference electrode's shape, position, relative conductivity compared to the electrolyte, or other design feature. In some particular examples the reference electrode may be dynamically changeable, for example having a changeable shape and/or position. In a particular example the reference electrode may be made of multiple segments. The techniques described herein may be combined as desired for individual applications.
    Type: Application
    Filed: May 18, 2018
    Publication date: September 20, 2018
    Inventors: Zhian He, Ashwin Ramesh, Shantinath Ghongadi
  • Patent number: 10053792
    Abstract: Disclosed herein are cups for engaging wafers during electroplating in clamshell assemblies and supplying electrical current to the wafers during electroplating. The cup can comprise an elastomeric seal disposed on the cup and configured to engage the wafer during electroplating, where upon engagement the elastomeric seal substantially excludes plating solution from a peripheral region of the wafer, and where the elastomeric seal and the cup are annular in shape, and comprise one or more contact elements for supplying electrical current to the wafer during electroplating, the one or more contact elements attached to and extending inwardly towards a center of the cup from a metal strip disposed over the elastomeric seal. A notch area of the cup can have a protrusion or an insulated portion on a portion of a bottom surface of the cup where the notch area is aligned with a notch in the wafer.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 7, 2016
    Date of Patent: August 21, 2018
    Assignee: Novellus Systems, Inc.
    Inventors: Zhian He, Jingbin Feng, Shantinath Ghongadi, Frederick D. Wilmot
  • Patent number: 10011917
    Abstract: Various embodiments herein relate to methods and apparatus for electroplating metal onto substrates. In various cases, a reference electrode may be modified to promote improved electroplating results. The modifications may relate to one or more of the reference electrode's shape, position, relative conductivity compared to the electrolyte, or other design feature. In some particular examples the reference electrode may be dynamically changeable, for example having a changeable shape and/or position. In a particular example the reference electrode may be made of multiple segments. The techniques described herein may be combined as desired for individual applications.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 20, 2015
    Date of Patent: July 3, 2018
    Assignee: Lam Research Corporation
    Inventors: Zhian He, Ashwin Ramesh, Shantinath Ghongadi
  • Patent number: 9988734
    Abstract: Disclosed are cup assemblies for holding, sealing, and providing electrical power to a semiconductor substrate during electroplating which may include a cup bottom element having a main body portion and a moment arm, an elastomeric sealing element disposed on the moment arm, and an electrical contact element disposed on the elastomeric sealing element. The main body portion may be such that it does not substantially flex when a substrate is pressed against the moment arm, and it may be rigidly affixed to another feature of the cup structure. The ratio of the average vertical thickness of the main body portion to that of the moment arm may be greater than about 5. The electrical contact element may have a substantially flat but flexible contact portion disposed upon a substantially horizontal portion of the sealing element. The elastomeric sealing element may be integrated with the cup bottom element during manufacturing.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 13, 2015
    Date of Patent: June 5, 2018
    Assignee: Lam Research Corporation
    Inventors: Jingbin Feng, Robert Marshall Stowell, Shantinath Ghongadi, Ashwin Ramesh
  • Publication number: 20180080140
    Abstract: Various embodiments herein relate to methods and apparatus for electroplating metal on a substrate. In many cases, an electroplating process may be monitored to ensure that it is operating within a pre-defined processing window. This monitoring may involve application of a controlled potential between the substrate and a reference electrode after the electroplating process is substantially complete (e.g., after recessed features on the substrate are substantially filled). The current delivered to the substrate during application of the controlled potential is monitored, and a peak current is determined. This peak current, often referred to herein as the potential-controlled exit peak current, can be compared against an expected range to determine whether the electroplating process is operating as desired.
    Type: Application
    Filed: September 19, 2016
    Publication date: March 22, 2018
    Inventors: Quan Ma, Shantinath Ghongadi, Zhian He, Bryan Pennington, Tariq Majid, Jonathan David Reid
  • Publication number: 20180038007
    Abstract: In one aspect, an apparatus includes a plating cell, a degassing device configured to remove oxygen from the plating solution prior to the plating solution flowing into the plating cell; an oxidation station configured to increase an oxidizing strength of the plating solution after the plating solution flows out of the plating cell; and a controller. The controller includes program instructions for causing a process that includes operations of: reducing an oxygen concentration of the plating solution where the plating solution contains a plating accelerator; then, contacting a wafer substrate with the plating solution having reduced oxygen concentration and electroplating a metal such that the electroplating causes a net conversion of the accelerator to a less-oxidized accelerator species within the plating cell; then increasing the oxidizing strength of the plating solution causing a net re-conversion of the less-oxidized accelerator species back to the accelerator outside the plating cell.
    Type: Application
    Filed: October 16, 2017
    Publication date: February 8, 2018
    Inventors: Kousik Ganesan, Tighe A. Spurlin, Jonathan David Reid, Shantinath Ghongadi, Andrew John McKerrow, James E. Duncan
  • Publication number: 20180030611
    Abstract: Apparatus and methods for electroplating metal onto substrates are disclosed. The electroplating apparatus comprise an electroplating cell and at least one oxidization device. The electroplating cell comprises a cathode chamber and an anode chamber separated by a porous barrier that allows metal cations to pass through but prevents organic particles from crossing. The oxidation device (ODD) is configured to oxidize cations of the metal to be electroplated onto the substrate, which cations are present in the anolyte during electroplating. In some embodiments, the ODD is implemented as a carbon anode that removes Cu(I) from the anolyte electrochemically. In other embodiments, the ODD is implemented as an oxygenation device (OGD) or an impressed current cathodic protection anode (ICCP anode), both of which increase oxygen concentration in anolyte solutions. Methods for efficient electroplating are also disclosed.
    Type: Application
    Filed: October 11, 2017
    Publication date: February 1, 2018
    Inventors: Tighe A. Spurlin, Charles Lorenzo Merrill, Ludan Huang, Matthew Sherman Thorum, Lee J. Brogan, James E. Duncan, Frederick Dean Wilmot, Robert Marshall Stowell, Steven T. Mayer, Haiying Fu, David W. Porter, Shantinath Ghongadi, Jonathan David Reid, Hyosang S. Lee, Mark J. Willey
  • Publication number: 20170362734
    Abstract: Various embodiments herein relate to methods and apparatus for electroplating metal onto substrates. In various cases, a reference electrode may be modified to promote improved electroplating results. The modifications may relate to one or more of the reference electrode's shape, position, relative conductivity compared to the electrolyte, or other design feature. In some particular examples the reference electrode may be dynamically changeable, for example having a changeable shape and/or position. In a particular example the reference electrode may be made of multiple segments. The techniques described herein may be combined as desired for individual applications.
    Type: Application
    Filed: March 20, 2015
    Publication date: December 21, 2017
    Inventors: Zhian He, Ashwin Ramesh, Shantinath Ghongadi
  • Patent number: 9816193
    Abstract: Methods, systems, and apparatus for plating a metal onto a work piece with a plating solution having a low oxygen concentration are described. In one aspect, a method includes reducing an oxygen concentration of a plating solution. The plating solution includes about 100 parts per million or less of an accelerator. After reducing the oxygen concentration of the plating solution, a wafer substrate is contacted with the plating solution in a plating cell. The oxygen concentration of the plating solution in the plating cell is about 1 part per million or less. A metal is electroplated with the plating solution onto the wafer substrate in the plating cell. After electroplating the metal onto the wafer substrate, an oxidizing strength of the plating solution is increased.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 13, 2011
    Date of Patent: November 14, 2017
    Assignee: Novellus Systems, Inc.
    Inventors: Kousik Ganesan, Tighe Spurlin, Jonathan D. Reid, Shantinath Ghongadi, Andrew McKerrow, James E. Duncan