JP2009231845A - Substrate handler - Google Patents

Substrate handler Download PDF

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JP2009231845A
JP2009231845A JP2009146006A JP2009146006A JP2009231845A JP 2009231845 A JP2009231845 A JP 2009231845A JP 2009146006 A JP2009146006 A JP 2009146006A JP 2009146006 A JP2009146006 A JP 2009146006A JP 2009231845 A JP2009231845 A JP 2009231845A
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substrate
handler
table
stage
apparatus
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JP4949439B2 (en
Inventor
Hernes Jacobs
Bernardus Antonius Johannes Luttikhuis
Der Schoot Harmen Klaas Van
Petrus Matthijs Henricus Vosters
ヤコブス ハーネス
クラース ファン デル ショート ハルメン
マシューズ ヘンリクス フォシュテルス ペトルス
アントニウス ヨハネス ルッティクフイス ベルナルデュス
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Asml Netherlands Bv
エーエスエムエル ネザーランズ ビー.ブイ.
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Priority to US11/157,201 priority patent/US7538857B2/en
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Abstract

A substrate handler that can function more efficiently is provided.
It is adapted to load a substrate 8 onto a substrate table 6 before exposure and to unload the substrate 8 from the substrate table 6 after exposure, so that a plurality of independent substrates 8, 8 are transported simultaneously. A substrate handler 12 that moves the substrate 8 relative to the substrate table 6 of the lithographic apparatus, including at least one support surface or platform 14, 16 adapted to.
[Selection] Figure 2

Description

  The present invention relates to a substrate handler and a method for using the same. The present invention extends to a device manufacturing method using a lithographic apparatus, part of which includes a substrate handler.

  A lithographic apparatus is a machine that applies a desired pattern onto a target portion of a substrate. A lithographic apparatus can be used, for example, in the manufacture of integrated circuits (ICs), flat panel display (FPDs), and other devices involving fine structures. In conventional lithographic apparatus, patterning means, or so-called masks or reticles, can be used to create a corresponding circuit pattern on an individual layer of an IC (or other device), which is a radiation-sensitive pattern. It can be imaged onto a target portion (eg comprising one or several die portions) on a substrate (eg a silicon wafer or glass plate) having a layer made of material (resist). The patterning means serves to create a circuit pattern, rather than a mask, and may include an array of individually controllable elements.

  In general, a single substrate will contain a network of adjacent target portions that are successively exposed. During the scanning process, the substrate is fixed on a substrate exposure table or a substrate exposure stage. In a known lithographic apparatus, a pattern is scanned in a given direction ("scanning" direction) with a so-called stepper that irradiates each target portion with radiation by exposing the entire pattern onto the target portion at once and a projection beam. A so-called scanner that irradiates each target portion with radiation by scanning the substrate in parallel or anti-parallel to this direction in synchronism with it.

  A substrate to be irradiated on the substrate exposure table is stored in a substrate storage area or track and then transferred to a substrate handler by a robot or conveyor. The substrate handler is adjacent to the substrate exposure stage and is used to transfer the substrate directly to and from the exposure table. Known substrate handlers can handle only one substrate at a time. However, since such a substrate handler can only handle a single substrate at any given time, it can only pick up and / or remove the substrate, i.e. the substrate handler has not removed the exposed substrate. In addition, the unexposed substrate cannot be picked up and loaded. During such handling operations, the parts of the lithographic apparatus that are used to irradiate the substrate are placed in an idle state. Furthermore, the time required for such operation of the substrate handler depends on the layout of the lithographic apparatus and the requirements of the user and is therefore difficult to control. Thus, a major problem with known substrate handlers is that single stage machines (eg, FPD machines) have low throughput due to delays in substrate handling time.

  Another problem with the known lithographic apparatus is that the handling stage of the apparatus consisting of the substrate handler is located next to the exposure table. For this reason, the “footprint” is disadvantageous in this apparatus, that is, the total floor area occupied by this apparatus is increased. The problem with the large footprint is that the device must be housed in a large frame structure that requires many cover plates and a complex wiring network is required. This increases the manufacturing cost and therefore the cost of the final product. In addition, the total weight of the device is increased and therefore difficult to move.

  It is an object of the present invention to address the problems of the prior art and provide a substrate handler that can function more efficiently, whether recognized above or elsewhere. Another object of an embodiment of the present invention is to provide a method of manipulating a substrate in a lithographic apparatus.

  According to a first aspect of the present invention, there is provided a substrate handler for moving a substrate relative to a substrate table of a lithographic apparatus, the substrate handler loading the substrate onto the substrate table before exposure and substrate after exposure. At least one support surface or platform adapted to unload from the table and adapted to simultaneously transport a plurality of independent substrates.

  Preferably, the apparatus includes a double substrate handler.

  The table below shows a comparison between the handling sequence of a prior art single stage substrate handler and the handling sequence of a substrate handler according to the present invention, ie a substrate handler adapted to transport multiple substrates simultaneously.

  Thus, advantageously, when using a lithographic apparatus according to the present invention, the substrate handler can reduce the substrate exchange time for placing and unloading a substrate onto and from the substrate table, thereby improving throughput. The substrate handler can be adapted to move perpendicular to the exposure table. The distance traveled in the vertical direction is much shorter than the horizontal travel distance of the handler according to the prior art, thus further improving the throughput.

  Preferably, the substrate handler includes at least one support surface or platform adapted for use to transport a plurality of substrates to and from the substrate table simultaneously. The substrates that are moved relative to the substrate table must not be placed in contact with each other, either before or after exposure by the projection beam. Thus, the at least one support surface is preferably substantially flat and can be appropriately sized to accommodate multiple substrates simultaneously, preferably horizontally. Preferably, the substrate handler includes first and second support surfaces, each support surface appropriately dimensioned to receive at least one substrate.

  In one example, the apparatus can include a first support surface disposed on one side of the projection system and a second support surface disposed on the opposite side of the projection system. These first and second support surfaces can be moved individually relative to the substrate table.

  In another example, the apparatus can include first and second support surfaces on the same side of the projection system. Therefore, the first support surface can be the upper support surface and the second support surface can be the lower support surface.

  Preferably, the handler includes at least one spacer portion between the first support surface and the second support surface. Preferably, the at least one spacer portion is attached to or adjacent to the peripheral edges of the first and second support surfaces. Preferably, the spacer portion includes one or more legs that separate each support surface.

  The first and second support surfaces can be adapted to move relative to each other such that their spacing can be varied. Preferably, the spacer portion is rotatably mounted between the first support surface and the second support surface. Preferably, the spacer portion has a first shape in which the first support surface and the second support surface are substantially separated from each other, and the first support surface and the second support surface are substantially combined. It is adapted to pivot between the second shape. Preferably, the first and second surfaces are kept substantially horizontal during rotation so that the substrate thereon is held in place.

  This pivoting movement of the spacer part is preferably effected by at least one actuator which may be in the form of a ram or jack.

  The substrate handler may include at least one base portion, and more preferably two base portions that face each other. Preferably, the spacer portion is pivotally attached to the at least one base portion by a hinge. Preferably, the spacer portion is attached to both ends of the at least one base portion. Accordingly, the handler preferably includes two base portions having two spacer portions at both ends thereof. Preferably, the first support surface of the substrate handler is pivotally attached to one end distal to the base portion of each spacer portion by a hinge. Preferably, the second support surface is pivotally mounted about halfway along its respective spacer portion by a hinge.

  Therefore, when the substrate is loaded or unloaded from the substrate handler, the distance between the upper support surface and the lower support surface of the handler can be increased, for example, so that the robot can more easily access it. When the handler is moving with the substrate on the lower support surface, the distance between the handler's upper support surface and lower support surface can be reduced to reduce the volume occupied by the handler during movement. .

  Preferably, the at least one support surface includes substrate transfer means adapted to place the substrate on or off the support surface. The substrate transfer means is adapted to contact and rotate with the substrate, whereby the substrate moves relative to the support surface when rotated, i.e. a roller or wheel that rests on or descends from the support surface. Can be included. The at least one support surface preferably includes a plurality of spaced apart rollers. The substrate handler may include drive means for driving the substrate transfer means in either direction to advance or lower the substrate transfer means on the support surface of the substrate. The driving means can include a motor.

  Alternatively, the transfer means can include an air cushion or air film just above the support surface, and the substrate will “float” thereon. Other alternatives include a conveyor belt, or at least one linear actuator, or some or all combinations of the above alternatives.

  It should be understood that the substrate geometry needs to be carefully controlled during the printing process using exposure with a projection beam. Further, since the substrate geometry depends on temperature, it is preferable to maintain a substantially stable temperature during printing. The substrate typically arrives at the lithographic apparatus from a track that covers the substrate with a resist. In this coating process, the substrate is generally not at a temperature suitable for exposure, and therefore it is necessary to pre-condition the substrate before printing.

  For this reason, the lithographic apparatus includes a preprocessing unit. The purpose of the pre-processing unit is to bring the temperature of the substrate to a substantially stable level that allows the printing process. In a lithographic apparatus according to the prior art, the preprocessing unit is remote from the substrate table, which means that after preprocessing, the robot must grip and pick up the substrate from the preprocessing unit and transfer it to the substrate table before exposure. It means not to be. Unfortunately, this direct handling by the robot causes thermal printing on the substrate, which causes serious problems during the printing process.

  Therefore, preferably, the substrate handler of the present invention includes a pretreatment unit. The pre-processing unit can be integrated with the substrate handler or can be disposed substantially adjacent to the substrate handler. Preferably, the pretreatment unit is integral with the support surface of the substrate handler or is disposed substantially adjacent to the support surface. Thus, since the preprocessing unit is built into the substrate handler, it is not necessary to grip the preprocessed substrate from a separate preprocessing stage and transfer it to the exposure stage, thus avoiding any thermal printing on the substrate. Is done. It is further advantageous that little or no time is wasted due to the pretreatment required for each substrate prior to exposure with the patterned beam on the substrate table.

  According to a second aspect of the present invention, there is provided a substrate handler for moving a substrate relative to a substrate table, the substrate handler comprising a support surface or platform configured to transport a substrate, the substrate handler being Further included is a pre-processing unit configured to pre-process the substrate.

  The pre-processing unit can be integral with the substrate handler or can be disposed substantially adjacent to the substrate handler. Preferably, the pretreatment unit is integral with or disposed substantially adjacent to the support surface of the substrate handler, preferably its upper surface.

  The pretreatment unit can include a device for controlling the temperature of the substrate. The device may be in the form of a heat exchange member that conducts heat to or from the substrate. This member may be made of a good thermal conductive material well known to those skilled in the art, for example aluminum. The heat exchange member may include a heat conducting plate that is arranged to be in thermal contact with the substrate during pretreatment. Preferably, the heat conducting plate is arranged substantially parallel to the support surface of the substrate handler, more preferably below it. In an alternative embodiment, the temperature control device can be configured to flow a cooling fluid such as air or a warming fluid over the substrate.

  The heat exchange plate may include at least one internal or external cooling channel extending along it that cools the substrate by heat conduction. Preferably, however, the heat exchange plate includes a plurality of channels spaced along it. The pretreatment unit can include, for example, a fluid or liquid configured to flow along at least one channel, thereby conducting away excess heat from the substrate to lower the substrate temperature, and To raise the substrate temperature, heat is conducted to the substrate. This liquid can be maintained at about 23 ° C., which is the preferred temperature for substrate pretreatment.

  The pretreatment unit can be adapted to hold the substrate in place as it pretreats the substrate. For example, a vacuum pressure can be applied to the substrate to hold the substrate in place adjacent to the pretreatment unit. Alternatively, the pretreatment unit can form a fluid film between the plate and the substrate during pretreatment. The fluid film is preferably an air film having a thickness of about 50 μm, but this thickness may be up to 1000 μm. The advantage of a fluid film is that it eliminates any significant contact between the substrate and the pretreatment unit, thereby reducing the risk of contamination, damage, and electrostatic discharge.

  Preferably, the substrate handler according to the first or second aspect is adapted to move vertically up and down so that at least one support surface is aligned approximately with the substrate table and thus can be loaded thereon. . When the support surface is properly aligned with the substrate table, the substrate handler is then activated to load or unload the substrate onto the support surface or substrate table. Since the handler preferably includes an upper support surface and a lower support surface, the handler is preferably adaptable to move vertically so that either the upper support surface or the lower support surface is aligned with the substrate table. However, it should be understood that during use, the substrate handler can be held in place and the substrate exposure table can be adapted to move up and down to align with the substrate handler before moving the substrate.

According to a third aspect of the invention,
A substrate table supported by a base plate to support the substrate;
A patterning system that provides a pattern to a target portion of the substrate;
A lithographic apparatus is provided having a substrate handler disposed substantially over the base plate and moving the substrate relative to the substrate table.

  Advantageously, in this device according to the third aspect, the footprint of the device is greatly reduced. This is because in prior art devices, the handler is located adjacent to the base plate and is far away from the substrate support table, but this substrate handler is always supported on the base plate. is there.

  Preferably, the apparatus includes a guide member adapted to support the substrate support surface of the substrate handler on the base plate, and preferably at least one guide such as a roller, bush, ball bush, air bearing or the like. Supported by an element, more preferably a plurality of guide members. The at least one guide element allows the support surface to move up and down the guide member vertically. Preferably, the guide member is attached to the base plate, preferably on one side thereof. Preferably, the guide member is a side wall. In another embodiment, the device includes two side walls on each side, each side wall supporting the support surface of the handler.

According to a fourth aspect of the present invention, there is provided a method of manipulating a substrate in a lithographic apparatus comprising a substrate table, a patterning system, and a substrate handler adapted to transport a plurality of substrates simultaneously. ,
(I) placing an unexposed substrate on the first support surface of the substrate handler;
(Ii) moving the substrate handler so that the first support surface is substantially flush with the substrate table;
(Iii) loading an unexposed substrate directly from the first support surface of the substrate handler onto the substrate table;
(Iv) patterning the substrate using a patterning system;
(V) unloading the exposed substrate from the substrate table onto the second support surface of the substrate handler; and (vi) removing the exposed substrate from the second support surface of the substrate handler.

  The substrate handler is preferably adapted to carry a plurality of substrates simultaneously. Thus, preferably, the handler includes first and second support surfaces. Preferably, in step (i), the unexposed substrate is placed on a first support surface, and the support surface is aligned with the substrate table approximately in a horizontal plane before the substrate is transferred thereon. Preferably, after step (iv), the second support surface can then be aligned with the substrate table and the horizontal surface so that after exposure, the exposed substrate can be transferred thereon.

  In one embodiment of this method, the first and second support surfaces of the substrate handler are moved relative to one side of the illumination system, ie the substrate table. Accordingly, the substrate is loaded and unloaded from one side (front side) of the substrate table.

  In another embodiment, the first support surface is moved relative to one side of the illumination system and the second support surface is moved relative to the opposite side of the illumination system. Therefore, the substrate can be loaded from one side (front side) of the substrate table, and the previously exposed substrate can be unloaded from the opposite side (rear side) of the substrate table almost simultaneously.

According to a fifth aspect of the present invention,
(I) providing a substrate on a substrate table;
(Ii) providing a pattern on a target portion of the substrate;
(Iii) moving a substrate relative to a substrate table using a substrate handler including a pre-processing unit.

  Ideally, the unexposed substrate is loaded at approximately the same time as the unexposed substrate is unloaded.

According to a sixth aspect of the present invention,
(I) providing a substrate on a substrate table supported by a base plate;
(Ii) providing a pattern on a target portion of the substrate;
(Iii) moving the substrate relative to the substrate table using a substrate handler positioned substantially over the base plate.

According to a seventh aspect of the present invention,
A substrate table supporting a substrate, supported on the base plate and adapted to move between a start position and an end position along a scanning operation;
A patterning system that provides a pattern to a target portion of the substrate;
A substrate handler that moves the substrate relative to the substrate table, the loading platform disposed on one side of the substrate table on the base plate, and disposed on the opposite side of the substrate table on one side of the base plate. An unloading platform, and at least the loading platform is vertically movable between a raised position above the substrate table and a lowered position substantially parallel to the substrate table. The platform is adapted to load the substrate onto the table when in the lowered position so that the unloading platform receives the substrate therefrom when the substrate table is in the end position after the scanning operation. And both these loading and unloading platforms When the plate table is in the end position is in the same height as that, therefore, the apparatus comprising: a substrate handler can be substantially performed simultaneously loading and unloading is provided.

According to an eighth aspect of the present invention,
A substrate table supporting a substrate, supported on the base plate and adapted to move between a start position and an end position along a scanning operation;
A patterning system that provides a pattern to a target portion of the substrate;
A substrate handler that moves the substrate relative to the substrate table, the loading platform disposed on one side of the substrate table on the base plate, and disposed on the opposite side of the substrate table on one side of the base plate. An unloading platform, and at least the unloading platform can move vertically between a raised position above the substrate table and a lowered position aligned with the substrate table in a substantially horizontal plane. The platform is adapted to load the substrate onto the table so that the unloading platform is in the lowered position and receives the substrate therefrom when the substrate table is in the end position after the scanning operation. Which of these loading and unloading platforms , When the substrate table is at the end position is in the same height as that, therefore, the apparatus comprising: a substrate handler can be substantially performed simultaneously loading and unloading is provided.

  According to a ninth aspect of the present invention, there is provided a substrate handler adapted for use in a lithographic apparatus comprising a substrate table that supports a substrate during exposure with a radiation beam, the substrate handler prior to exposure. And a plurality of platforms adapted to unload the substrate from the substrate table after exposure and each adapted to transport at least one substrate.

  The term “patterning system” should be broadly interpreted herein to include any device that can be used to pattern a cross section of a radiation beam so as to form a pattern on a target portion of a substrate. . Note, for example, if the pattern includes a phase shift feature, or so-called assist feature, the pattern imparted to the radiation beam may not exactly match the desired pattern at the target portion of the substrate. I want to be. In general, the pattern imparted to the radiation beam will correspond to a particular functional layer in a device being created in the target portion, such as an integrated circuit. The patterning system may be any other suitable means for imparting a pattern to an imprint template or substrate.

  The patterning device may be transmissive or reflective. Examples of patterning devices include masks or individually controllable element arrays. Masks are well known in lithography and include binary, alternating phase shift, attenuated phase shift, and various hybrid masks.

  The term “individually controllable element array” is used herein to give a pattern to the cross section of an incident radiation beam, thereby any means by which a desired pattern can be created on a target portion of a substrate. Should also be broadly interpreted as referring to. The terms “light valve” and “spatial light modulator” (SLM) can also be used in this context.

Examples of such patterning means include the following.
(I) A programmable mirror array. The array can include a matrix-addressable surface having a viscoelastic control layer and a reflective surface. The principle behind such a device is that (for example) the addressed area of the reflecting surface reflects incident light as diffracted light, and the unaddressed area reflects incident light as non-diffracted light. Using a suitable spatial frequency filter, the non-diffracted light can be filtered out of the reflected beam, leaving only the diffracted light to reach the substrate. In this way, the beam will be patterned according to the address pattern of the matrix addressable surface. Alternatively, it should be understood that the filter can filter out the diffracted light and leave the undiffracted light to reach the substrate. A diffractive optical MEMS element array can also be used in a similar manner. Each diffractive optical MEMS element includes a plurality of reflective ribbons that can be deformed to form a diffraction grating that reflects incident light as diffracted light. Another alternative embodiment of a programmable mirror array is to use a matrix configuration of micromirrors, each mirror individually applied by applying an appropriate localized electric field or using piezoelectric actuation means. Can be tilted around an axis. Again, each mirror is matrix addressable, so that the addressed mirror will reflect the incoming radiation beam in a different direction than the unaddressed mirror. In this way, the reflected beam is patterned according to the address pattern of the matrix addressable mirror. The required matrix addressing can be performed using suitable electronic means. In either of the situations described above, the individually controllable element array can include one or more programmable mirror arrays. Detailed information regarding the mirror arrays cited herein is obtained, for example, from US Pat. Incorporated herein.
(Ii) A programmable LCD array. An example of such an arrangement is shown in US Pat. No. 5,229,872, which is incorporated herein by reference.

  For example, when feature pre-bias, optical proximity correction mechanisms, phase variation techniques, and multiple exposure techniques are used, the pattern “displayed” on the individually controllable element array is final on the substrate layer or substrate. It should be understood that the pattern transferred can be quite different.

  Although described herein with reference to specific examples of using a lithographic apparatus to manufacture an IC, the lithographic apparatus described herein is directed to integrated optics manufacturing, guidance for magnetic domain memories. It should be understood that the present invention can be applied to other application fields such as manufacturing of patterns and detection patterns, flat panel display devices, and thin film magnetic heads. In examples of such alternative fields of application, any of the terms “wafer” or “die” used herein can be considered synonymous with the more general terms “substrate” or “target portion”, respectively. Those skilled in the art will appreciate.

  The substrate cited herein is processed or pretreated before or after exposure using, for example, a track (generally a tool for applying a resist layer to the substrate and developing the exposed resist), or a measurement inspection tool. be able to. Where applicable, the disclosure herein may also be applied to such substrate processing tools and other substrate processing tools. Furthermore, the substrate may be processed more than once, for example to create a multi-layer IC, and thus the term “substrate” may refer herein to a substrate that already includes multiple processed layers.

  The terms “radiation” and “beam” are used herein to refer to ultraviolet (UV) (eg, having a wavelength of 365, 355, 248, 193, 157, or 126 nm), wavelength (eg, in the range of 5-20 nm). All types of electromagnetic radiation, including extreme ultraviolet (EUV), and particle beams such as ion beams and electron beams.

  The term “projection system” is used herein to refer to refractive optics, reflective optics, eg suitable for use with exposure radiation, or suitable for use with other factors such as immersion liquid or vacuum. Should be broadly interpreted as encompassing various types of projection systems, including catadioptric systems. Any use of the term “lens” herein may be considered as synonymous with the more general term “projection system”.

  The illumination system also includes various types of optical components, including refractive, reflective, and catadioptric optical components that direct, shape, or control the radiation projection beam, such components include: Hereinafter, the lens may be collectively or independently referred to as a “lens”.

  The lithographic apparatus may also be of a type in which the substrate is immersed in a liquid having a relatively high refractive index, for example water, so as to fill a space between the last element of the projection system and the substrate. An immersion liquid may also be applied to other spaces in the lithographic apparatus, for example, between the mask and the first element of the projection system. Immersion techniques are well known in the art as techniques for increasing the numerical aperture of projection systems.

  All features described herein (including any of the appended claims, abstracts, and drawings) and / or any method or process steps disclosed herein, Any combination of the above aspects can be combined in any combination, except combinations where at least some of such features and / or steps are mutually exclusive.

  Embodiments of the present invention will now be described by way of example only with reference to the accompanying schematic drawings. Corresponding reference characters indicate corresponding parts throughout the drawings.

1 is a schematic side view of a lithographic apparatus according to an embodiment of the invention. FIG. 1 is an enlarged perspective view of a first embodiment of a lithographic apparatus showing a substrate handler, a substrate exposure stage, and a robot. FIG. 2 is a schematic side view showing an order of loading and unloading a substrate onto a substrate exposure stage using an embodiment of a lithographic apparatus. 2 is an enlarged perspective view of a second embodiment of the lithographic apparatus; FIG. FIG. 7 is an enlarged perspective view of a third embodiment of the lithographic apparatus. 6 is an enlarged perspective view of a fourth embodiment of a lithographic apparatus. FIG. FIG. 6 is a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of a substrate handler of a lithographic apparatus. FIG. 7 is a perspective view of another alternative embodiment of a substrate handler of a lithographic apparatus. FIG. 9 is a partial perspective view of a substrate handler that is very similar to FIG. 8 but includes handling fingers and nozzles. FIG. 6 is a schematic side view showing a loading order of “front side in, front side out” using an embodiment of a lithographic apparatus. FIG. 5 is a schematic side view illustrating a “front in, front out” loading sequence using an alternative embodiment of a lithographic apparatus. FIG. 3 is a side view showing a “front in, rear out” loading concept using an embodiment of a lithographic apparatus. FIG. 5 is a schematic side view showing a loading order of “front side in, rear side out” using an embodiment of a lithographic apparatus. FIG. 6 is a schematic side view illustrating a “front in, back out” loading sequence using an embodiment of a lithographic apparatus in which loading and unloading are performed substantially simultaneously. FIG. 2 is a schematic plan view and a schematic side view showing a footprint of a lithographic apparatus according to the prior art and a footprint of a lithographic apparatus according to another embodiment of the invention. 1 is a schematic side view of an embodiment of a lithographic apparatus during substrate exposure; 1 is a schematic side view of an embodiment of a lithographic apparatus during pre-processing and substrate exchange. FIG. 6 is a perspective view and side view of another alternative embodiment of a substrate handler. FIG. 2 is a schematic plan view of several alternative embodiments of the lithographic apparatus of the present invention. FIG. 6 shows an alternative embodiment of a substrate handler according to the present invention.

FIG. 1 schematically depicts a lithographic projection apparatus according to a particular embodiment of the invention. This device
An illumination system (illuminator) IL for supplying a radiation projection beam PB (eg UV radiation);
An individually controllable element array PPM (eg a programmable mirror array) for imparting a pattern to the projection beam, the position of which is generally fixed with respect to the component PL, but not An individually controllable element array, which can also be connected to positioning means for accurately positioning the array with respect to the component PL;
A substrate table (eg wafer table) WT that supports a substrate (eg resist-coated wafer) W and is connected to positioning means PW for accurately placing the substrate relative to the component PL, on the base plate BP A movable substrate table,
A projection system (“lens”) PL that images the pattern imparted to the projection beam PB by the individually controllable element array PPM onto a target portion C of the substrate W (eg including one or more dies); An individually controllable element array can be imaged on the substrate, or an element of the individually controllable element array can be imaged as a second source, And a projection system that may include, for example, a micro lens array (known as MLA) that forms a second source and images a microspot on the substrate.

  As shown in this figure, the apparatus is of a reflective type (ie, having an individually controllable reflective element array). In general, however, the device may be of a transmissive type (ie having an individually controllable transmissive element array).

  The illuminator IL receives a radiation beam from a radiation source SO. For example, if the source is an excimer laser, the source and the lithographic apparatus can be separate entities. In such a case, the source is not considered to be part of the lithographic apparatus and the radiation beam is transferred from the source SO to the illuminator IL by means of a beam delivery system BD, for example comprising a suitable guide mirror and / or beam expander. Sent. In other cases the source may be an integral part of the device, for example when the source is a mercury lamp. The source SO and the illuminator IL may be referred to as a radiation system, together with the beam delivery system BD if necessary.

  The illuminator IL may include an adjusting unit AM that adjusts the angular intensity distribution of the beam. In general, at least the outer diameter range and / or the inner diameter range (usually referred to as the outer σ (σ-outer) and the inner σ (σ-inner), respectively) of the intensity distribution on the pupil plane of the illuminator can be adjusted. Furthermore, the illumination device IL generally includes various other components such as an integrator IN and a condenser CO. This illuminator supplies a conditioned radiation beam, called projection beam PB, whose cross section has the desired uniformity and intensity distribution.

  The projection beam PB then strikes the individually controllable element array PPM. After being reflected by the individually controllable element array PPM, the projection beam PB passes through the projection system PL, thereby focusing the projection beam PB on the target portion C of the substrate W. Using the positioning means PW (and the interference measuring means IF), the substrate table WT can be moved precisely, for example so that the various target portions C are located in the path of the projection beam PB. In use, for example, during scanning, the position of the individually controllable element array PPM can be accurately corrected with respect to the path of the projection beam PB by using individually controllable positioning means for the element array. In general, the movement of the object table WT can be carried out using a long stroke module (coarse positioning) and a short stroke module (fine positioning), which are not explicitly shown in FIG. . An array of individually controllable elements can be arranged using a similar system. It should be understood that the projection beam can alternatively / further be moved and the object table and / or the individually controllable element array can be fixed in place to provide the necessary relative movement. As another alternative particularly applicable to the manufacture of flat panel display devices, the position of the substrate table and projection system can be fixed and the substrate can be moved relative to the substrate table. For example, the substrate table can comprise a system that scans across the substrate at a substantially constant speed.

  Although the present description describes a lithographic apparatus according to the present invention for exposing a resist on a substrate, the present invention is not limited to this application and the apparatus is a lithography that does not use a resist. Again, it should be understood that it can be used to project a patterned projection beam.

The illustrated apparatus can be used in the following four preferred modes.
1. Step mode: The entire pattern is given to the projection beam by an array of individually controllable elements, and this pattern is projected onto the target portion C in batch (ie, one static exposure). The substrate table WT is then shifted in the X and / or Y direction so that a different target portion C can be exposed. In step mode, the size of the target portion C imaged in one static exposure is limited to the maximum size of the exposure area.
2. Scanning mode: The individually controllable element array can be moved at a velocity v in a given direction (so-called “scan direction”, eg Y direction), so that the projection beam PB can be individually controlled element array. In parallel with this, the substrate table WT is simultaneously moved at the speed V = Mv in the same direction or in the opposite direction. Where M is the magnification of the lens PL. In scan mode, the width (in the non-scan direction) of the target portion in a single dynamic exposure is limited to the maximum dimension of the exposure area, and the height (in the scan direction) of the target portion depends on the length of the scanning motion. .
3. Pulsed mode: The individually controllable element array is basically kept stationary and the entire pattern is projected onto the target portion C of the substrate using a pulsed radiation source. The substrate table WT is moved at an essentially constant speed so that the projection beam PB scans a line across the substrate W. The pattern on the individually controllable element array is updated as needed between pulses of the radiation system so that the target portion C is continuously exposed to the required position on the substrate. A time interval is set for. Therefore, the projection beam can be scanned across the substrate W to expose a complete pattern in the form of elongated lines on the substrate. This process is repeated until the entire substrate is completely exposed line by line.
4). Continuous scan mode: Basically the same as in pulse mode, but with a nearly constant radiation source and a pattern on the individually controllable element array, the projection beam scans across the substrate The difference is that it is updated during exposure.

  Combinations and / or variations on the above described modes of use or entirely different modes of use may also be employed.

  Although the lithographic apparatus illustrated in FIG. 1 is an optical apparatus, it should be understood that other non-optical patterning systems can be used to provide a pattern on a substrate. For example, a pattern can be imprinted on a substrate using an imprint template. Thus, the term “lithographic apparatus” is not limited to an optical lithographic apparatus.

  With reference to FIG. 2, an embodiment of a lithographic apparatus 2 is shown. Specifically, FIG. 2 shows the parts of the apparatus 2 used to move and operate the substrate 8 (referred to as W in FIG. 1) to the substrate exposure table 6 (referred to as WT in FIG. 1). As shown, the substrate 8 is supported on this table while being exposed by the illumination source PL. Adjacent to the substrate table 6, a substrate handler 12 is provided for transporting the substrate 8 to and from the exposure table 6. The handler 12 has an upper stage 14 and a lower stage 16, both of which are appropriately sized to accommodate the substrate 8. Since the handler 12 can support two substrates 8, it is called a two-stage substrate handler 12. The handler 12 is configured to move up and down as indicated by an arrow AA in FIG. 1. Therefore, both the upper stage 14 and the lower stage 16 can be aligned with the substrate table 6 in a horizontal plane.

  The apparatus 2 includes a robot 10 that loads an unexposed substrate 8 onto a handler 12 and further unloads the exposed substrate 8 from the handler 12 after exposure on the substrate table 6. Both the upper stage 14 and the lower stage 16 of the handler 12 include a series of rollers 20 to facilitate loading and unloading the substrate 8 therefrom. In the apparatus shown in FIG. 2, four rollers 20 driven by motors are fitted into the upper stage 14 and the lower stage 16 at intervals. For example, a conveyor belt and a substrate are placed thereon. It should be understood that other configurations may be used, such as an air cushion or air film that can “float”, at least one linear actuator, or a gripping mechanism that grips a side edge of the substrate. The air cushion or air film can be formed by providing the stages 14, 16 with a plurality of openings (not shown) configured to release gas. An air cushion or air film can be combined with a substrate table having a surface with undulating areas on the surface, such as pimples. This table is known in the art as a burl table.

  The substrate handler 12 is disposed on or integrated with the pretreatment unit 18. Using the preprocessing unit 18, the temperature of the substrate 8 on the lower stage 16 is adjusted to an appropriate level after resist coating and before exposure on the substrate table 6. This adjustment is important so that the substrate geometry can be carefully controlled during the printing process. The pretreatment unit 18 comprises, for example, an aluminum heat conducting plate 19 having a series of internal channels. Water maintained at a temperature of about 23 ° C. is flowed along the channel to cool / heat the substrate 8 in thermal contact with the channel. The cooled / heated (pretreated) substrate 8 is then transferred onto the table 6 for exposure. Alternatively, instead of maintaining the water temperature constant, the water temperature can be controlled to be variable in order to control the temperature of the substrate.

  In order to bring the substrate close to the pretreatment unit 18, the stages 14 and 16 can be folded so that the vertical space between them and the pretreatment unit 18 is reduced. A plurality of grooves 22 designed to receive the roller 20 of the lower stage 16 when the substrate handler is folded are disposed on the surface of the pretreatment unit at intervals.

  Although the preprocessing unit 18 is shown adjacent to the lower stage 16 in the figure, the preprocessing unit is adjacent to the upper stage 14 so as to preprocess the unexposed substrate disposed on the upper stage. It should be understood that similar arrangements can be made.

  Referring to FIG. 3, the order in which the two-stage substrate handler 12 loads / unloads the substrate 8 to and from the substrate exposure table 6 is shown. In FIG. 3, the exposed substrate 8 is shown as 8a, and the unexposed substrate is shown as 8b. On the stage (a), the first unexposed substrate 8b taken out from the storage region (not shown) of the unexposed substrate 8b is shown at a fixed position on the robot 10. A second unexposed substrate 8b is shown on the lower stage 16 of the handler 12, and an exposed substrate 8a is shown on the substrate exposure table 6. The upper stage 14 of the handler 12 is empty at this point, and is arranged so as to be aligned horizontally with the exposure table 6. At stage (b), after exposure, the exposed substrate 8a is moved from the table 6 onto the upper stage 14 of the handler 12 in the direction indicated by arrow B. The roller 20 on the upper stage 14 makes it easy to transfer the substrate 8a onto the handler 12.

  At the stage (c), the handler 12 is moved upward in the direction indicated by the arrow C. Therefore, the lower stage 16 and thus the unexposed substrate 8b on the lower stage 16 are horizontally aligned with the exposure table 6. At stage (d), the unexposed substrate 8b is moved from the lower stage 16 to the exposure table 6 in the direction indicated by the arrow D. The roller 20 on the lower stage facilitates the transfer of the substrate 8b from the handler 12.

  At the stage (e), the handler 12 is moved downward in the direction indicated by the arrow E, so that the lower stage 16 is aligned horizontally with the robot 10. At stage (f), the unexposed substrate 8b on the robot 10 is moved onto the lower stage 16 of the handler 12 in the direction indicated by the arrow F. Finally, when the robot 10 is moved upward at the stage (g) in this order, the robot is aligned horizontally with the upper stage 14 of the handler 12. The exposed substrate 8a can then be moved from the handler 12 onto the robot 10 in the direction indicated by arrow G. Next, the robot 10 moves the exposed substrate 8a from the handler 12 to a storage area (not shown). Thereafter, this order is repeated.

  It will be appreciated that as a variation of the sequence described above and shown in FIG. 3, the substrate handler 12 can be fixed in a vertical position and the substrate table 6 can be moved perpendicularly thereto.

  Referring to FIG. 4, an alternative embodiment of a two-stage substrate handler 24 in which the handler 24 is integrated with the robot 10 is shown. The handler 24 is attached to the upper surface of the robot 10 and includes the upper stage 14 and the lower stage 16 in the same manner as described above. In this figure, the substrate 8 is shown on both stages 14 and 16 of the handler 24. In addition, the handler 24 is attached to one side of the lower stage 16 and includes a preprocessing unit 18 that preprocesses the unexposed substrate 8b before exposure on the substrate table 6. Alternatively, in this case as well, it should be understood that the pre-processing unit 18 can be coupled to the upper stage 14 when an unexposed substrate is loaded onto the upper stage 14.

  Referring to FIG. 5, another embodiment of a two-stage substrate handler 26 is shown. The handler 26 has an upper stage 14 and a lower stage 16, each of which is spaced by two elongated slots 25 extending along its plane. The two slots 25 in the upper stage 14 extend 90 ° with respect to the two slots 25 in the lower stage 16. Each slot 25 is designed to receive in sliding engagement the elongated rod 27 of the transfer device. Thus, the rod 27 is received under the substrate in the stage 14 or 16 and can be used to lift the substrate away from the stage surface and transfer it to the exposure table. Such rods 27 can be used in the same manner to transfer unexposed substrates from a conveyor belt or track onto the handler 26.

  Both stages 14, 16 of the handler 26 include partially embedded rollers 20 that are provided to facilitate placing the substrate 8 on and off the handler 26. Further, the preprocessing unit 18 is integrated with the lower stage 16 of the handler 26. This handler can move up and down in the direction indicated by the arrow H, and therefore can be aligned with the substrate exposure table 6.

  Referring to FIG. 6, there is shown another embodiment of the substrate handler 28 that can move up and down in the direction indicated by the arrow J with respect to the substrate exposure table 6. The handler 28 includes the upper stage 14 and the lower stage 16 integrated with the preprocessing unit 18. The handler 28 is disposed adjacent to the exposure table 6, and the robot 10 transfers the substrate 8 onto the handler 28.

  The substrate handler shown in FIG. 7 has an upper stage 14 and a lower stage 16 as in the previous case. In this embodiment, the upper stage 14 is used to receive unexposed substrates from the robot and receive them on the exposure table 6. The upper stage 14 is designed to unload the exposed substrate from the exposure table 6 to the robot. The stages 14 and 16 are supported at each corner by guide columns 100 that serve to guide the vertical movement of the stage. Each column 100 receives a corresponding protrusion 100a defined at the end of each stage, and this protrusion is slidably disposed within the column. It should be understood that in some cases, no more than three such guide posts may be used. A drive mechanism 102 can be included at least partially within the guide post, which serves to move each stage to a desired vertical position. This mechanism can be constructed so that the movements of the two stages are mechanically coupled and thus move in tune. This drive mechanism can have different speed transmission ratios between the two stages, so the spacing of these stages will vary with the vertical position relative to their struts.

  Each of the stages 14 and 16 of the substrate handler shown in FIG. 7 has a plurality of rising pins 101 arranged at intervals over the entire surface thereof. These pins are designed to support the substrate above the top surface of the panel that defines the stage, so that the robot's end effector is more accessible between the top surface of the stage panel and the substrate. Is provided with a gap. The plane occupied by the tip of the pin is substantially the operation surface of the stage. The pins 101 are pivotally connected to the stage so that they can move between a raised position and a stowed position (in which position the pins are no longer raised). This movement of the pins is used to move the supporting substrate laterally while it is transported to and from the exposure table. The pins can be perforated and connected to a negative pressure source, thereby applying partial vacuum pressure to help hold the substrate on the stage during transfer. In an alternative configuration, the pins 101 may be movable in a linear direction along the direction of substrate movement (ie perpendicular to the axis of the pins). This movement of the pins is used to move the supporting substrate laterally while it is transported to and from the exposure table.

In some embodiments, stages 14, 16 have a plurality of nozzles (not shown) that distribute gas jets, such as air, toward the substrate, distributed throughout the support surface. This nozzle is connected to such a gas source and is designed to form a film or cushion of gas between the top surface of the stages 14 and 16 and the substrate, which substrate or stage surface. It works to prevent touching. Such a nozzle may or may not include the pin 101 described above, and includes a mechanism for controlling the direction of gas flow so that the substrate can be advanced in a predetermined direction during loading or unloading. be able to.

  Figures 8 and 8a show a single stage of an alternative embodiment of a substrate handler. These two embodiments are slightly different in appearance, but the concept is the same. On the surface of this stage, there are a plurality of grooves 103 parallel to the substrate transfer direction. These grooves 103 serve as guides for fingers 104 (shown only in FIG. 8a) that hold the substrate during transfer of the substrate. These fingers are connected to a transfer bar 105 that extends across the stage surface in a direction perpendicular to the direction of movement. The transfer bar is driven by a driving member (for example, a motor) via a transmission element (for example, a cable, a chain, or a belt drive) disposed in the housing 106 on both sides of the stage. On the surface of this stage, as described above, there are a plurality of nozzles 107 that send a gas jet such as air toward the substrate.

  Various embodiments of the substrate handler described herein can optionally be fitted with a pre-processing unit designed to adjust the substrate to a temperature suitable for exposure. This can be achieved by controlling the temperature of the substrate support stage using any suitable form of heat exchange device. One proposed embodiment is to provide one or more internal or external channels on the stage to supply temperature-controlled water or other fluid. The substrate can be in direct contact with the stage surface or can be supported on an operational surface provided by an air film or air cushion, as described above. In the latter case, the air between the support stage and the substrate serves not only as a means for transporting the substrate to and from the exposure stage, but also as a heat conducting layer. The thickness of the air film or air cushion when transporting the substrate is typically about 300 μm and can be reduced to less than 100 μm when it serves to thermally condition the substrate.

  Referring to FIG. 9, the order of loading / unloading the substrate 8 to and from the substrate exposure table 6 and “front-in, front-out” from there is shown. This is because loading and unloading from the front side of 6 (that is, the left side of the scanner 30 in FIG. 9). This is implemented using a two-stage substrate handler 12. In this figure, the substrates (1), (2) and (3) are shown at various positions on the apparatus. At stage (a), the substrate table 6 is shown in a starting position to support the unexposed substrate (2) under the scanner 30. The table 6 moves under the scanner 30 in the direction indicated by the arrow L along the base plate BP, whereby the substrate (2) is irradiated with radiation. At this point, the previously exposed substrate (1) is unloaded by the robot (not shown) from the upper stage 14 of the two-stage handler 12 in the direction indicated by the arrow K, that is, the direction opposite to the moving direction of the table 6. Load it.

  At stage (b), the table continues to move in the direction indicated by arrow P, so the substrate (2) will continue to be scanned. The handler 12 is moved upward in the direction indicated by the arrow N, and an unexposed substrate (3) is loaded on the lower stage 16 of the handler 12 by a robot (not shown). At stage (c), the table 6 is shown at the farthest end position at one end of the base plate, so that the entire surface of the substrate (2) has been completely scanned. This provides sufficient space for the handler 12 to descend to the scanning level in the direction indicated by the arrow Q. At the stage (d), the substrate (2) is removed from the table 6 onto the upper stage 14 of the handler 12 in the direction indicated by the arrow R.

  At the stage (e), the handler 12 is moved upward in the direction indicated by the arrow S, so that the lower stage 16 is aligned horizontally with the table 6. Next, the substrate (3) is moved from the handler 12 to the table 6 in the direction indicated by the arrow T. When the handler 12 is further raised in the direction indicated by the arrow U at the stage (f), a sufficient gap is left from the table 6, so that the table 6 is moved to the “start” position indicated by the stage (g). It is possible to move backward in the X direction. Finally, the stage (h) shows how the exposure table 6 moves in the direction indicated by the arrow Y, whereby the substrate (3) is subjected to the scanning process as described above. The substrate (2) is removed from the handler 12 in the direction indicated by the arrow W, and then this entire sequence is repeated.

  FIG. 10 shows the order of loading and unloading the substrate 8 to and from the substrate exposure table 6 using the two-stage substrate handler 12 with the preprocessing unit connected to the upper stage 14.

  Referring to FIGS. 11 and 12, the order in which the substrate handler 12 is used to load / unload the substrate 8 to and from the substrate exposure table 6 and “from front in, back out” is shown. In this embodiment, one of the stages of the handler 12 is moved from the front side to the rear side of the table 6.

  FIG. 11 shows the concept of “front-in, rear-out” load / unload sequence, so called is to load the substrate 8 on the front side of the exposure table 6 (ie the left side of the scanner 30 in FIG. 8). This is because unloading is performed from the rear side of the exposure table 6 (that is, the right side of the scanner in FIG. 8). The apparatus includes an exposure table 6 that supports a substrate thereon during a scanning process by the optical scanner 30. A pretreatment / load plate 32 is provided on the load side 40 of the scanner 30. An unload plate 34 is provided on the unload side 42 opposite to the scanner 30. Referring to FIG. 12, at stage (a), a substrate 8a is supported on an exposure table 6, which is shown in its “start” position. As the table 6 moves in the direction indicated by the arrow A with respect to the scanner 30, the substrate 8a is scanned. The new unexposed substrate 8b is then lowered to a fixed position on the pretreatment / load plate 32 by a robot (not shown). At stage (b), once the table reaches its “end” position at one end of the base plate BP, the substrate 8a has been scanned. Next, the unload plate 34 is moved downward in the direction indicated by the arrow B until it is aligned horizontally with the table 6. Thereafter, on stage (c), scanned substrate 8a is moved onto unload plate 34 in the direction indicated by arrow C. At stage (d), the unload plate 34 is moved upwards, leaving a gap sufficient for the table 6 to pass therethrough and back to the “start” position in the direction indicated by arrow D.

  At stage (e), the pretreatment / load plate 32 loaded with the unscanned substrate 8 b is lowered until it is aligned horizontally with the table 6. Further, the scanned substrate 8a is removed from the unload plate 34 by a robot (not shown). At stage (f), the substrate 8b is moved from the load plate 32 onto the exposure table 6 in the direction indicated by the arrow G. At stage (g), the table 6 is moved away from the scanner 30 in the direction indicated by the arrow I. The pretreatment load plate 32 is raised in the direction indicated by the arrow H, leaving a gap where the table 6 can return in the direction indicated by the arrow J, thereby scanning the substrate 8b. Thereafter, the entire order is repeated.

  The advantage of the apparatus having the two-stage substrate handler 12 is that the replacement time of the substrate 8 is shortened, and as a result, the downtime is reduced, so that production throughput is improved. This handler, which can handle two boards at the same time, can replace the board 8 without the action of “put away and pick up” as found in prior art handlers. Furthermore, the handler 12 can be integrated on the same floor space as the pretreatment unit 18, thus further improving the throughput. Further, the preprocessing unit 18 can be arranged near the substrate exposure table 6. Therefore, time is not wasted on the pretreatment required for the substrate 8.

  In the embodiment of FIGS. 11 and 12, the unloader 34 is configured such that when the scan table 6 is at the right limit of its movement (see FIG. 12g), the unloader 6 is positioned directly above the table 6. Arranged in the footprint. In an alternative embodiment, the unloader 34 may be disposed beyond the scan table footprint, as shown in FIG. In this embodiment, the unloader 34 is arranged on the right side of the table 6 from the previous embodiment. When the substrate 8 is exposed, both the handler parts 32 and 34 are vertically raised above the height of the table, as shown in FIG. The handler is lowered to perform the load and unload operations, and in this configuration, the footprint of the unloader 34 is still empty even when the exposure table 6 is at the right limit of its movement (FIG. 13 (b)). Thus, the exposed substrate can be directly unloaded as shown. Although not shown in FIG. 13, the exposure table 6 moves over a base member that may be in the form of a plate. As can be seen from FIG. 13 (b), this configuration allows the substrate 8 to be loaded and unloaded simultaneously. Thus, although this arrangement increases the overall footprint of the device, the throughput is certainly improved because the transfer time to and from the table is reduced.

  Referring to FIG. 14, a plan view and a side view of a lithographic apparatus according to the prior art (FIG. 14a) and two embodiments of the apparatus according to the invention (FIGS. 14b and 14c) are shown in comparison. FIGS. 14a-14c show an apparatus comprising a handling stage 36, an exposure tool 38, and an optical scanner 30 (shown in side view). These parts of each device are housed in a frame structure 50 comprised of a series of cover plates 52.

  In the prior art apparatus shown in FIG. 14 a, a handling stage is placed adjacent to the exposure tool 38. Furthermore, a preprocessing stage for the substrate 8 is also arranged next to the exposure table 6. Since the pretreatment stage is at least as large as the substrate 8, the “footprint” of the device, ie the total surface area of the device, is considerable.

  In the embodiment shown in FIG. 14 b, for example, an apparatus using the “front in, front out” load / unload system shown in FIG. 7, the handling stage 36 is located on one side above the exposure tool 38. ing. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 14 c, for example, an apparatus using the “front in, rear out” load / unload system shown in FIGS. 8 and 9, there are two handling stages 36 on both sides of the scanner 30. Both of these stages are placed on the exposure tool. Thus, since one (or more) handling stage 36 is positioned on the exposure tool 38 rather than adjacent to the exposure tool 38, two embodiments of the apparatus according to the present invention (ie, FIG. 14b and It will be appreciated that the “footprint” of 14c) is much smaller than that of the device according to the prior art. This reduces the footprint by about 30%.

  Referring to FIG. 15, the configuration of the apparatus during exposure of the substrate 8 (FIG. 15a) and the configuration during substrate replacement by the handling stage (FIG. 15b) are shown. The apparatus has a side wall 44 from which a handling stage 36 is supported via a roller 46. This roller 46 enables vertical movement along the side wall 44. It should be understood that the handling stage 36 is always above the exposure tool 38, and therefore the footprint of the apparatus is reduced. During the exposure of the substrate 8, the table 6 is moved horizontally horizontally from one side to the other side under the exposure scanner 30. The table 6 also includes a roller 48 that can be moved along the exposure tool 38. The robot 10 located outside the footprint of this device is shown transferring the substrate 8 onto the handling stage 36.

  As shown in FIG. 15b, when replacing the substrate 8, the handling stage 36 is lowered in the direction indicated by the arrow K until it is aligned horizontally with the exposure table 6, and thus the substrate 8 immediately after exposure. Next, the substrate 8 is moved between the handling stage 36 and the exposure table 6 in the direction indicated by the arrow L.

  Referring to FIG. 16a, an apparatus similar to that shown in FIG. 15 is shown, but using the two-stage handling pre-processing stage, ie, the two-stage substrate handler 12 discussed with respect to FIG. Is different. The handler 12 can hold the substrate 8 on the upper stage 14 and further on the lower stage 16. The handler 12 can move up and down the side wall 44 vertically by the roller 46. Further, the exposure table 6 moves left and right under the scanner 30. It should be understood that the handler 12 is always above the exposure tool 38 and therefore the footprint of the apparatus is reduced.

  Referring to FIG. 16b, the substrate 8 is shown exchanged using the apparatus discussed with respect to FIGS. This apparatus has two handling stages 32, 34 on both sides of the scanner 30. Each of the stages 32, 34 can move up and down the respective side wall 44 along the roller 46. The apparatus has two robots 10, one of which loads the substrate 8 onto a load stage 32 on the front side and the other which unloads the substrate 8 from an unload stage 34 on the rear side.

  The advantage of the present invention is that the footprint of the device is significantly reduced (30% reduction) and the preprocessing unit 18 is integrated. Machine costs are reduced as a result of the reduced machine footprint and volume. Also, since the footprint is reduced, the total weight of the machine is lighter. The apparatus is also compatible with a two-stage board loading configuration with a two-stage handler 12.

  Referring to FIG. 17, an alternate embodiment of a two-stage handler / preprocessor 54 is shown. In this embodiment, the upper stage 14 and the lower stage 16 are rotatable with respect to each other so that the distance between them can be changed, that is, they can be enlarged or reduced. Therefore, when the substrate 8 is loaded or unloaded from the handler 54, the distance between the upper stage 14 and the lower stage 16 of the handler can be increased so that, for example, the robot 10 can more easily access the board 8. When the handler 54 is moved up and down in the apparatus, for example, vertically to the scanner 30, the distance between the upper stage 14 and the lower stage 16 of the handler 54 is reduced to minimize the volume occupied by the distance. A pre-processing unit (not shown in this embodiment) can be brought closer to the appropriate stage and substrate.

  The handler 54 consists of a foldable frame with two elongated base portions 58 facing each other. Short spacer portions in the form of legs 56 are pivotally attached to opposite ends of the two base portions 58 by hinges 60 and extend vertically away therefrom. The upper stage 14 of the handler 54 is pivotally attached to one end distal to the base portion 58 of each of the four legs 56 by a hinge 60. The lower stage 16 is rotatably attached to the middle of each of the four leg portions 56 by a hinge 60. Accordingly, the upper stage 14 and the lower stage 16 are pivotable about a hinge 60 attached to the spacer portion 56, and therefore from the fully open shape shown in FIGS. 17a and 17b to the half open shape shown in FIG. It can move to the closed or locked position shown in 17d. The folding of the stages 14, 16 by the rotation of the legs 56 can be performed by any suitable type of actuator, for example, one or more hydraulic rams or pneumatic rams operable under computer control.

  In an alternative configuration, the legs 56 can be configured to be axially expandable / contractable (which can be implemented, for example, by hydraulic or pneumatic pressure) rather than being pivotable.

  An advantage of the present invention is that the pivotable handler 54 can be opened and closed, thereby making it easier to access the substrate 8 when the handler 54 is in the open configuration shown in FIG. 17b and when in the closed configuration shown in FIG. 17d. Is in a manner to be “locked” to the lower stage 16.

  FIG. 18 shows three different types of substrate handlers configured to support more than one substrate at a time. In FIG. 18 a, the substrate handler 12 is shown adjacent to the exposure table 6. Using a robot (not shown), two adjacent unexposed substrates N1 and N2 are loaded into the handler. These two substrates N1 and N2 can then be loaded simultaneously to the position indicated by reference numbers E1 and E2 on the substrate table 6. FIG. 18b shows an embodiment in which four substrates N1 to N4 arranged in a 2 × 2 matrix can be loaded simultaneously to positions E1 to E4, and FIG. 18c shows three substrates N1 to N1 arranged in parallel. A type that can load N3 simultaneously is shown. Multiple exposed substrates can be unloaded simultaneously using the same configuration. It should be understood that the substrate handler can be the same design as any of the designs described above.

  FIG. 19 shows an alternative embodiment of the substrate handler. The substrate 8 is supported above the surface 200 of the platform 201 by a pin 202, which can be moved vertically (in the direction of the arrow) within the hole 203 in the platform 201 by any suitable actuator. it can. Although not shown in this figure, the top surfaces of these pins can be fitted into a roller of the type shown in FIG. It should also be understood that this platform may be the pre-processing unit described above.

  In the above description, much reference is made to the substrates handled by the substrate handler. The term “substrate”, in some contexts, means that the individual substrates are spatially separated and can be moved individually, rather than being bonded or otherwise fixed together. Means.

  While specific embodiments of the invention have been described above, it will be appreciated that the invention may be practiced otherwise than as described. The description is not intended to limit the invention.

IL illumination system PB radiation projection beam PPM individually controllable element array WT substrate table W substrate PW positioning means BP base plate PL projection system C target portion SO radiation source BD beam delivery system AM adjustment means IN integrator CO condenser IF Interference measurement means 2 Lithographic apparatus 6 Substrate table 8 Substrate 8a Unexposed substrate 8b Exposed substrate 10 Robot 12 Two-stage substrate handler 14 Upper stage 16 Lower stage 18 Preprocessing unit 19 Thermal conduction plate 20 Roller 22 Groove 24 Substrate handler 25 Slot 26 Two-stage type substrate handler 27 Rod 28 Substrate handler 30 Optical scanner 32 Preprocessing / load plate 34 Unload plate 36 Handling stage 38 Exposure tool 40 Load side 42 Unload side 44 Side wall 46, 48 Roller 50 Frame structure 54 Two-stage substrate handler / pre-processing device 56 Leg portion 58 Base portion 60 Hinge 100 Guide post 100a Projection portion 101 Rising pin 102 Drive mechanism 103 Groove 104 Finger portion 105 Transfer bar 106 Housing 107 Nozzle 200 Surface 201 Platform 202 Pin 203 Hole

Claims (10)

  1.   A substrate handler for moving a substrate relative to a substrate table, the substrate handler further comprising a support surface or platform configured to transport the substrate, and further comprising a preprocessing unit configured to preprocess the substrate.
  2.   The apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the pretreatment unit includes an apparatus for controlling a temperature of the substrate.
  3.   The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the pre-processing unit is integral with the substrate handler or disposed substantially adjacent to the substrate handler.
  4.   The apparatus according to claim 2, wherein the apparatus is in the form of a heat exchange element that conducts heat from or to the substrate.
  5.   The apparatus of claim 4, wherein the heat exchange element comprises a heat exchange plate configured to be in thermal contact with a substrate during pretreatment.
  6.   The apparatus of claim 5, wherein the heat exchange plate includes at least one channel extending along and heating or cooling the substrate by heat conduction.
  7.   The apparatus of claim 2, wherein the pretreatment unit comprises a fluid configured to flow along the at least one channel and thereby conduct heat to or from the substrate.
  8.   The apparatus of claim 7, wherein the fluid is maintained at a constant temperature.
  9.   The pre-treatment unit forms an air film between the plate and the substrate during pre-treatment, and the air film serves to conduct heat to or from the substrate. apparatus.
  10.   The apparatus of claim 9, wherein the air film is between about 10 μm and 1000 μm thick.
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