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Unitized confinement ring arrangements and methods thereof

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Title: Unitized confinement ring arrangements and methods thereof.
Abstract: An arrangement for performing pressure control in a plasma processing chamber comprising an upper electrode, a lower electrode, a unitized confinement ring arrangement wherein the upper electrode, the lower electrode and the unitized confinement ring arrangement are configured at least for surrounding a confined chamber region to facilitate plasma generation and confinement therein. The arrangement further includes at least one plunger configured for moving the unitized confinement ring arrangement in a vertical direction to adjust at least one of a first gas conductance path and a second gas conductance path to perform the pressure control, wherein the first gas conductance path is formed between the upper electrode and the unitized confinement ring arrangement and the second gas conductance path is formed between the lower electrode and the single unitized ring arrangement. ...


Inventors: Rajinder Dhindsa, Rajaramanan Kalyanaraman, Sathyanarayanan Mani, Gautam Bhattacharyya
USPTO Applicaton #: #20110073257 - Class: 15634526 (USPTO) - 03/31/11 - Class 156 


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The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20110073257, Unitized confinement ring arrangements and methods thereof.

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PRIORITY CLAIM

The present invention claims priority under 35 U.S.C. 119(e) to a commonly owned provisionally filed patent application entitled “A Single Confinement Ring Arrangement for Performing Pressure Control and Plasma Confinement and Methods Thereof,” U.S. Application No. 61/246,526, Attorney Docket No. P2004P/LMRX-P187P1, filed on Sep. 28, 2009, by inventors Dhindsa et al., all of which is incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Advances in plasma processing have provided for growth in the semiconductor industry. In today\'s competitive market, the ability of a manufacturing company to be able to minimize waste and produce high quality semiconductor devices gives the manufacturing company a competitive edge. Accordingly, tight control of the process parameters is generally needed to achieve satisfactory results during substrate processing. Thus, manufacturing companies have dedicated time and resources to identify methods and/or arrangements for improving substrate processing.

In a plasma processing system, such as a capacitively-coupled plasma (CCP) or an inductively-coupled plasma (ICP) processing system, the manufacturing of semiconductor devices may require multi-step processes employing plasma within a processing chamber. During processing, gas may interact with radio frequency (RF) power to form plasma. Confinement rings may be employed to control plasma formation and to protect the process chamber walls. The confinement rings may include multiple rings stacked on top of one another and are configured to surround the periphery of the chamber volume in which plasma is to form (i.e., confined chamber region).

The confinement rings may also be employed to control the pressure level within the confined chamber region. Typically, during processing, the processing chamber is usually maintained at a predefined pressure for each process step in order to generate the desired plasma needed for processing the substrate. Those skilled in the arts are aware that a stable plasma is important during substrate processing. Thus, the ability to maintain tight control of the process parameters during substrate processing is essential for plasma stability. When the process parameters (e.g., pressure or other parameters) are outside of a narrow, pre-defined window, the process parameters may have to be adjusted to maintain a stable plasma in accordance with the required processing recipe.

FIG. 1 shows a simple cross-sectional diagram of a confinement ring arrangement within a processing chamber. Consider the situation wherein, for example, a substrate 102 is disposed on top of a lower electrode 104 (such as an electrostatic chuck). During substrate processing, plasma 106 may form between substrate 102 and upper electrode 108. Surrounding the plasma is a plurality of confinement rings (110a, 110b, 110c, 110d, etc.), which may be employed to confine plasma 106 and to control the pressure within the confinement region (such as a confined chamber region 118). The gaps (such as gaps 112a, 112b, 112c, etc.) between the plurality of confinement rings may be adjusted to control the exhaust rate, hence the pressure above the substrate surface.

In a typical processing chamber that employs the plurality of confinement rings (110a, 110b, 110c, 110d, etc.), the confinement rings may have attachment points. Positioned at each attachment point is a plunger (such as 114 and 116, for example). To control the volume of pressure within confinement region 118, a plunger controller module 120 (such as a CAM ring arrangement) may move the plungers vertically (up/down) to adjust the gaps between the plurality of confinement rings (110a, 110b, 110c, 110d, etc.). By adjusting the gaps between the confinement rings, the conductance rate of gas being exhausted from the confined chamber region may be controlled, thereby controlling the amount of pressure within the processing chamber. In other words during substrate processing, if the chamber pressure is outside of the designated range (such as that determined by the current recipe step), the confinement rings may be adjusted. In an example, to increase the pressure within the processing chamber, the gaps between the confinement rings may be reduced.

In a competitive market, the ability to simplify a process and/or components usually gives the manufacturing company a competitive edge over its competitors. In view of the increasingly competitive substrate processing market, a simple arrangement that provides for pressure control while confining plasma formation within the plasma generating region is desirable.

SUMMARY

OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates, in an embodiment, to an arrangement for performing pressure control in a plasma processing chamber comprising an upper electrode, a lower electrode, a unitized confinement ring arrangement wherein the upper electrode, the lower electrode and the unitized confinement ring arrangement are configured at least for surrounding a confined chamber region to facilitate plasma generation and confinement therein. The arrangement further includes at least one plunger configured for moving the unitized confinement ring arrangement in a vertical direction to adjust at least one of a first gas conductance path and a second gas conductance path to perform the pressure control, wherein the first gas conductance path is formed between the upper electrode and the unitized confinement ring arrangement and the second gas conductance path is formed between the lower electrode and the single unitized ring arrangement.

These and other features of the present invention will be described in more detail below in the detailed description of the invention and in conjunction with the following figures.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS

The present invention is illustrated by way of example, and not by way of limitation, in the figures of the accompanying drawings and in which like reference numerals refer to similar elements and in which:

FIG. 1 shows a simple cross-sectional diagram of a confinement ring arrangement within a processing chamber.

FIGS. 2-5 show, in embodiments of the invention, cross-sectional views of different configurations of a single unitized confinement ring arrangement for performing pressure control and plasma confinement.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

OF EMBODIMENTS

The present invention will now be described in detail with reference to a few embodiments thereof as illustrated in the accompanying drawings. In the following description, numerous specific details are set forth in order to provide a thorough understanding of the present invention. It will be apparent, however, to one skilled in the art, that the present invention may be practiced without some or all of these specific details. In other instances; well known process steps and/or structures have not been described in detail in order to not unnecessarily obscure the present invention.

Various embodiments are described hereinbelow, including methods and techniques. It should be kept in mind that the invention might also cover articles of manufacture that includes a computer readable medium on which computer-readable instructions for carrying out embodiments of the inventive technique are stored. The computer readable medium may include, for example, semiconductor, magnetic, opto-magnetic, optical, or other forms of computer readable medium for storing computer readable code. Further, the invention may also cover apparatuses for practicing embodiments of the invention. Such apparatus may include circuits, dedicated and/or programmable, to carry out tasks pertaining to embodiments of the invention. Examples of such apparatus include a general-purpose computer and/or a dedicated computing device when appropriately programmed and may include a combination of a computer/computing device and dedicated/programmable circuits adapted for the various tasks pertaining to embodiments of the invention.

In accordance with embodiments of the present invention, a single or unitized (the terms are synonymous in the context of the present invention) confinement ring arrangement is provided for confining plasma and for controlling pressure within a plasma generating region. As the term is defined herein, a unitized confinement ring is a ring which may be formed of a single block of material, in one or more embodiments, or may comprise of multiple individually manufactured parts that are later assembled, in other embodiments. When the multiple parts are assembled to form the single unitized confinement ring, the various parts of the confinement are nonmovable relative to one another during deployment and retraction. This is unlike the prior art situation when the rings may expand and collapse during deployment and retraction. In an embodiment, the unitized ring may include one or more rings.



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stats Patent Info
Application #
US 20110073257 A1
Publish Date
03/31/2011
Document #
12890990
File Date
09/27/2010
USPTO Class
15634526
Other USPTO Classes
15634543
International Class
23F1/08
Drawings
7


Plasma Generation


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