Lam Research Patent Grants

Method of determining thermal stability of a substrate support assembly

Granted: July 25, 2017
Patent Number: 9716022
A method of determining thermal stability of an upper surface of a substrate support assembly comprises recording time resolved pre-process temperature data of the substrate before performing a plasma processing process while powering an array of thermal control elements to achieve a desired spatial and temporal temperature of the upper surface. A substrate is processed while powering the array of thermal control elements to achieve a desired spatial and temporal temperature of the upper…

Systems and methods for tuning an impedance matching network in a step-wise fashion for multiple states of an RF generator

Granted: July 18, 2017
Patent Number: 9711332
Systems and methods for tuning an impedance matching network in a step-wise fashion for each state are described. By tuning the impedance matching network in a step-wise fashion for each state instead of directly achieving optimum values of a radio frequency (RF) for each state and directly achieving an optimal value of a combined variable capacitance for each state, processing of a wafer using the tuned optimal values becomes feasible.

Shadow trim line edge roughness reduction

Granted: July 18, 2017
Patent Number: 9711359
A method for etching an etch layer in a stack over a substrate wherein the etch layer is under a mask layer which is under a patterned organic mask is provided. The stack and substrate is placed on a support in the plasma chamber. A silicon based layer is deposited in situ over the stack. The silicon based layer is etched to form silicon based sidewalls or spacers on sides of the patterned organic mask. The mask layer is selectively etched with respect to the silicon based sidewalls or…

System and method for monitoring temperatures of and controlling multiplexed heater array

Granted: July 18, 2017
Patent Number: 9713200
A system for measuring temperatures of and controlling a multi-zone heating plate in a substrate support assembly used to support a semiconductor substrate in a semiconductor processing includes a current measurement device and switching arrangements. A first switching arrangement connects power return lines selectively to an electrical ground, a voltage supply or an electrically isolated terminal, independent of the other power return lines. A second switching arrangement connects power…

System for instantaneous radiofrequency power measurement and associated methods

Granted: July 11, 2017
Patent Number: 9704692
Each of multiple plasma processing chambers has an RF power input line connected to receive RF power from a common RF power source. An RF control module is connected to distribute RF power from the common RF power source to the RF power input lines of the multiple chambers. A voltage sensor and a current sensor are connected to a corresponding RF power input line. Each voltage sensor measures an instantaneous electrical voltage present on its RF power input line. Each current sensor…

Corrosion sensor retainer assembly apparatus and method for detecting corrosion

Granted: July 11, 2017
Patent Number: 9704761
A corrosion sensor retainer assembly and method for predicting and detecting corrosion within a gas delivery system of a semiconductor substrate processing apparatus. The corrosion sensor retainer assembly comprises a laminate that includes a first insulating layer with a first port and a second insulating layer with a second port, wherein the first port and the second port are configured to retain a seal. The corrosion sensor retainer assembly includes a conductor housed within the…

Method for forming stair-step structures

Granted: July 4, 2017
Patent Number: RE46464
A method for forming a stair-step structure in a substrate is provided. An organic mask is formed over the substrate. A hardmask with a top layer and sidewall layer is formed over the organic mask. The sidewall layer of the hard mask is removed while leaving the top layer of the hardmask. The organic mask is trimmed. The hardmask is removed. The substrate is etched. The forming the hardmask, removing the sidewall layer, trimming the organic mask, and etching the substrate are repeated a…

Method and apparatus for physical confinement of a liquid meniscus over a semiconductor wafer

Granted: July 4, 2017
Patent Number: 9694453
Apparatus, methods and systems for physically confining a liquid medium applied over a semiconductor wafer include a chemical head. The chemical head including multiple first return conduits formed from a first flat region in a head surface and multiple second return conduits formed from a second flat region in the head surface. The second flat region being disposed immediately adjacent to the first flat region and the second flat region being in a plane substantially parallel to and…

Method and apparatus for processing wafer-shaped articles

Granted: July 4, 2017
Patent Number: 9698029
A method and device for processing wafer-shaped articles includes a spin chuck for holding and rotating a wafer-shaped article about a rotation axis, and at least one dispenser for dispensing a fluid onto at least one surface of a wafer-shaped article. A collector surrounds the spin chuck for collecting process fluids, with at least two collector levels for separately collecting fluids in different collector levels. Each collector level comprises an exhaust gas collecting chamber leading…

Microstructures for improved wafer handling

Granted: July 4, 2017
Patent Number: 9698035
Provided herein are high coefficient of friction contact surfaces for transfer of substrates including semiconductor wafers. In certain implementations, the contact surfaces include microstructures that exploit intermolecular surface forces for increased adhesion and friction in the x-y direction during substrate transfer, while allowing easy release in the z-direction without tilting the substrate. Also provided are robot end effectors including the contact surfaces and related…

Stacked wafer cassette loading system

Granted: July 4, 2017
Patent Number: 9698036
A substrate cassette loading system for docking substrate cassettes to a substrate processing system is provided. A plurality of ports passes substrates into the substrate processing system, wherein a first port of the plurality of ports is vertically above a second port of the plurality of ports. A plurality of cassette loaders provides substrate cassettes to the plurality of ports.

Wafer centering in pocket to improve azimuthal thickness uniformity at wafer edge

Granted: July 4, 2017
Patent Number: 9698042
A method for reducing slippage of a wafer during film deposition includes pumping out a processing chamber while the wafer is supported on lift pins or a carrier ring and lowering the wafer onto support members configured to minimize wafer slippage during deposition of the film. A multi-station processing chamber, such as a processing chamber for atomic layer deposition, can include a chuck-less pedestal at each station having wafer supports configured to prevent the wafer from moving…

TSV bath evaluation using field versus feature contrast

Granted: June 27, 2017
Patent Number: 9689083
The embodiments herein relate to methods and apparatus for determining whether a particular test bath is able to successfully fill a feature on a substrate. In various cases, the substrate is a semiconductor substrate and the feature is a through-silicon-via. Generally, two experiments are used: a first experiment simulates the conditions present in a field region of the substrate during the fill process, and the second experiment simulates the conditions present in a feature on the…

Coating method for gas delivery system

Granted: June 27, 2017
Patent Number: 9689533
A gas delivery system for a plasma process system such as a plasma etching system wherein inner surfaces of gas passages are coated with a corrosion-resistant material coating formed by curing a layer of fluidic precursor deposited on the inner surfaces. The coating can be formed by (a) flowing a fluidic precursor of a corrosion-resistant material through the gas passages and depositing a layer of the fluidic precursor to completely coat the inner surfaces of the gas passages; (b)…

Selective removal of boron doped carbon hard mask layers

Granted: June 27, 2017
Patent Number: 9691590
Systems and methods for processing a substrate include arranging a substrate including a film layer on a substrate support in a processing chamber. The film layer includes a boron doped carbon hard mask. A plasma gas mixture is supplied and includes molecular hydrogen, nitrogen trifluoride, and a gas selected from a group consisting of carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide. Plasma is struck in the processing chamber or supplied to the processing chamber for a predetermined stripping period.…

Pre-fill wafer cleaning formulation

Granted: June 27, 2017
Patent Number: 9691622
A pre-fill solution for application onto a substrate surface prior to a fill operation is provided, the fill operation defined by application of an electroless deposition solution onto the substrate surface to deposit a metallic material in an etched feature, the substrate surface having metallic contaminants generated from an etch operation that generated the etched feature in the substrate surface, the pre-fill solution effective for preventing the electroless deposition solution from…

Methods and systems for plasma etching using bi-modal process gas composition responsive to plasma power level

Granted: June 27, 2017
Patent Number: 9691625
A substrate is disposed on a substrate holder within a process module. The substrate includes a mask material overlying a target material with at least one portion of the target material exposed through an opening in the mask material. A bi-modal process gas composition is supplied to a plasma generation region overlying the substrate. For a first period of time, a first radiofrequency power is applied to the bi-modal process gas composition to generate a plasma to cause etching-dominant…

Methods for depositing silicon oxide

Granted: June 20, 2017
Patent Number: 9685320
The embodiments herein focus on plasma enhanced atomic layer deposition (PEALD) processes. Conventional PEALD techniques result in films having high quality at the bottom and top of a feature, but low quality on the sidewalls. The disclosed embodiments achieve more uniform film quality as evidenced by more uniform wet etch rates and electrical properties throughout the film. The disclosed embodiments may use one or more of a relatively high deposition temperature, a relatively high RF…

Apparatus for liquid treatment of wafer shaped articles and heating system for use in such apparatus

Granted: June 20, 2017
Patent Number: 9685358
An apparatus for treating a disc-shaped article comprises a spin chuck and at least three individually controllable infrared heating elements. The infrared heating elements are mounted in a stationary manner with respect to rotation of said spin chuck. At least the transparent plate positioned between the infrared heating elements and the underside of a wafer is mounted for rotation with the spin chuck. Alternatively, the transparent plate is part of a housing that encloses the infrared…

Membrane design for reducing defects in electroplating systems

Granted: June 13, 2017
Patent Number: 9677190
Certain embodiments disclosed herein pertain to methods and apparatus for electrodepositing material on a substrate. More particularly, a novel membrane for separating the anode from the cathode/substrate, and a method of using such a membrane are presented. The membrane includes at least an ion exchange layer and a charge separation layer. The disclosed embodiments are beneficial for maintaining relatively constant concentrations of species in the electrolyte over time, especially…