Patent Number: 6,251,195

Title: Method for transferring a microelectronic device to and from a processing chamber

Abstract: An apparatus having a processing chamber for processing a semiconductor wafer under evacuated conditions that is capable of transfer of the wafer from the processing chamber under conditions that are substantially equal to the pressure of an adjacent environment. In a preferred embodiment, the processing chamber is pressurized and vented with a source of high purity dry gas that is diffused into the chamber through a diffuser to pressurize the processing chamber after processing of the wafer is completed. A chamber equalization port between the processing chamber and the adjacent environment is opened to maintain the pressure within the chamber at or slightly above the pressure of the adjacent environment, and the chamber valve is then opened. The wafer can then be removed from the processing chamber, and a new wafer can be inserted. The chamber is then sealed by closing the chamber valve and the equalization port, and the atmosphere within the processing chamber is evacuated to a desired level. The new wafer is then processed, and the above steps are repeated to remove the wafer once processing has finished.

Inventors: Wagener; Thomas J. (Shorewood, MN), Patrin; John C. (Chanhassen, MN), Inhofer; William P. (Plymouth, MN), Siefering; Kevin L. (Excelsior, MN)

Assignee: FSI International, Inc.

International Classification: H01L 21/67 (20060101); H01L 21/00 (20060101); H01L 21/677 (20060101); B08B 001/00 (); B08B 005/00 ()

Expiration Date: 06/26/2018