JP5502788B2 - Floating coating device - Google Patents

Floating coating device Download PDF

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JP5502788B2
JP5502788B2 JP2011057627A JP2011057627A JP5502788B2 JP 5502788 B2 JP5502788 B2 JP 5502788B2 JP 2011057627 A JP2011057627 A JP 2011057627A JP 2011057627 A JP2011057627 A JP 2011057627A JP 5502788 B2 JP5502788 B2 JP 5502788B2
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levitation
substrate
region
stage
sb
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JP2012195403A (en
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寿史 稲益
文宏 宮崎
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東京エレクトロン株式会社
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    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B05SPRAYING OR ATOMISING IN GENERAL; APPLYING LIQUIDS OR OTHER FLUENT MATERIALS TO SURFACES, IN GENERAL
    • B05CAPPARATUS FOR APPLYING LIQUIDS OR OTHER FLUENT MATERIALS TO SURFACES, IN GENERAL
    • B05C5/00Apparatus in which liquid or other fluent material is projected, poured or allowed to flow on to the surface of the work
    • B05C5/02Apparatus in which liquid or other fluent material is projected, poured or allowed to flow on to the surface of the work the liquid or other fluent material being discharged through an outlet orifice by pressure, e.g. from an outlet device in contact or almost in contact, with the work
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B05SPRAYING OR ATOMISING IN GENERAL; APPLYING LIQUIDS OR OTHER FLUENT MATERIALS TO SURFACES, IN GENERAL
    • B05BSPRAYING APPARATUS; ATOMISING APPARATUS; NOZZLES
    • B05B13/00Machines or plants for applying liquids or other fluent materials to surfaces of objects or other work by spraying, not covered by groups B05B1/00 - B05B11/00
    • B05B13/02Means for supporting work; Arrangement or mounting of spray heads; Adaptation or arrangement of means for feeding work
    • B05B13/0278Arrangement or mounting of spray heads
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B05SPRAYING OR ATOMISING IN GENERAL; APPLYING LIQUIDS OR OTHER FLUENT MATERIALS TO SURFACES, IN GENERAL
    • B05CAPPARATUS FOR APPLYING LIQUIDS OR OTHER FLUENT MATERIALS TO SURFACES, IN GENERAL
    • B05C11/00Component parts, details or accessories not specifically provided for in groups B05C1/00 - B05C9/00
    • B05C11/10Storage, supply or control of liquid or other fluent material; Recovery of excess liquid or other fluent material
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B05SPRAYING OR ATOMISING IN GENERAL; APPLYING LIQUIDS OR OTHER FLUENT MATERIALS TO SURFACES, IN GENERAL
    • B05CAPPARATUS FOR APPLYING LIQUIDS OR OTHER FLUENT MATERIALS TO SURFACES, IN GENERAL
    • B05C13/00Means for manipulating or holding work, e.g. for separate articles
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65GTRANSPORT OR STORAGE DEVICES, e.g. CONVEYORS FOR LOADING OR TIPPING, SHOP CONVEYOR SYSTEMS OR PNEUMATIC TUBE CONVEYORS
    • B65G49/00Conveying systems characterised by their application for specified purposes not otherwise provided for
    • B65G49/05Conveying systems characterised by their application for specified purposes not otherwise provided for for fragile or damageable materials or articles
    • B65G49/06Conveying systems characterised by their application for specified purposes not otherwise provided for for fragile or damageable materials or articles for fragile sheets, e.g. glass
    • B65G49/061Lifting, gripping, or carrying means, for one or more sheets forming independent means of transport, e.g. suction cups, transport frames
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H01BASIC ELECTRIC ELEMENTS
    • H01LSEMICONDUCTOR DEVICES; ELECTRIC SOLID STATE DEVICES NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • H01L21/00Processes or apparatus adapted for the manufacture or treatment of semiconductor or solid state devices or of parts thereof
    • H01L21/67Apparatus specially adapted for handling semiconductor or electric solid state devices during manufacture or treatment thereof; Apparatus specially adapted for handling wafers during manufacture or treatment of semiconductor or electric solid state devices or components ; Apparatus not specifically provided for elsewhere
    • H01L21/677Apparatus specially adapted for handling semiconductor or electric solid state devices during manufacture or treatment thereof; Apparatus specially adapted for handling wafers during manufacture or treatment of semiconductor or electric solid state devices or components ; Apparatus not specifically provided for elsewhere for conveying, e.g. between different workstations

Description

  The present invention relates to a floating-type coating apparatus that coats a processing liquid on a substrate while the substrate is floated and conveyed on a stage.

  In a photolithography process in a manufacturing process of a flat panel display (FPD), a spinless coating method in which a resist liquid is coated on a substrate to be processed by relatively scanning a long resist nozzle having a slit-like discharge port. Is frequently used.

  As one form of such a spinless coating method, as disclosed in Patent Document 1, for example, a rectangular substrate to be processed (for example, a glass substrate) for FPD is floated in the air on a long levitation stage to be in one horizontal direction. The resist solution is applied from one end to the other on the substrate by discharging the resist solution in a strip form from a long resist nozzle installed above the stage at the application processing position in the middle of the transfer. A levitation method is known.

  The levitation stage used in such a levitation-type resist coating apparatus ejects a high-pressure gas (usually air) vertically upward from the upper surface of the stage, and the substrate is floated in a horizontal posture by the pressure of the high-pressure air. ing. A linearly moving type transfer unit disposed on both the left and right sides of the levitation stage holds the substrate floating on the levitation stage in a detachable manner and conveys the substrate in the longitudinal direction of the stage.

  The upper surface (floating surface) of the levitation stage is divided into three areas: a carry-in area, a coating area, and a carry-out area along the conveyance direction. Here, the application region is a region where the resist solution is supplied onto the substrate, and the long resist nozzle is disposed above the center of the application region. The flying height in the coating region defines a coating gap (for example, 200 μm) between the lower end (discharge port) of the resist nozzle and the upper surface of the substrate (surface to be processed). This coating gap is an important parameter that affects the film thickness of the resist coating film and the resist consumption, and must be kept constant with high accuracy. For this reason, a large number of suction ports are provided on the upper surface of the stage in the coating region so as to be mixed with a jet outlet from which high-pressure air is jetted out and suck in air at a negative pressure. A vertical upward force due to high-pressure air is applied from the jet outlet to the portion passing through the coating region of the substrate, and at the same time, a vertical downward force due to a negative pressure suction force is applied from the suction port to counteract both directions. By controlling the balance of the force, a predetermined flying height (usually 30 to 60 μm) is kept stable with a large flying rigidity.

  As described above, the application region is a precise levitation region in which a large number of jet outlets and suction ports are mixed to float the substrate with a precise small levitation height that can obtain a large levitation rigidity, and the cost per unit area is considerably high. Of course, the size of the coating area in the transport direction only needs to be large enough to stably form the narrow coating gap as described above in the vicinity immediately below the resist nozzle, and is usually smaller than the size of the substrate. / 3 to 1/10 may be sufficient.

  On the other hand, the carry-in area is an area where the substrate is carried in and the levitation conveyance is started, and the carry-out area is an area where the levitation conveyance is finished and the substrate is carried out. The flying height of the carry-in area and the carry-out area does not require a particularly high accuracy, and the flying height may be small. Therefore, the fly height may be kept within a rough range of 200 to 2000 μm. On the other hand, the carry-in area and the carry-out area have a size larger than the substrate in the carrying direction. For this reason, the ejection area is exclusively provided on the entire surface of the carry-in area and the carry-out area.

JP 2005-244155 A

  Like the other FPD manufacturing apparatuses, the above-described levitation type resist coating apparatus is assembled at a manufacturing factory of an apparatus manufacturer, and undergoes final tests and confirmation of apparatus performance. Thereafter, the resist coating apparatus is disassembled into hardware components (units, modules, subassemblies, etc.). The disassembled components are usually divided into a plurality of trucks or containers and carried to a delivery destination (FPD manufacturing factory), and the resist coating apparatus is assembled again at the apparatus operating place.

  The problem here is that a great deal of labor and time is spent on adjusting the floating surfaces of the floating stage loading area, coating area, and unloading area to the same height at the delivery site. is there.

  That is, the levitation stage used in the resist coating apparatus has a total length several times that of the substrate, and there are some that are well over 5 m for LCDs (liquid crystal displays). For this reason, in recent years, it has become normal to divide the levitation stage into three stage blocks that can be separated into a carry-in area, a coating area, and a carry-out area, and each stage block is attached to an independent frame. The stage block and the pedestal are disassembled and transported as one component (subassembly), and three sets of the pedestal and the stage block are arranged in a row at the installation site of the delivery destination to reassemble the floating stage. At that time, in each subassembly, an adjuster provided between the gantry and the stage block is manually operated so that the height positions of the stage blocks are aligned.

  However, the flying height of the carry-in area and the carry-out area is 200 to 2000 μm, whereas the flying height of the coating area is 30 to 60 μm, which is one digit or two orders of magnitude smaller. For this reason, a difference in height position or a step between the stage blocks at both ends on which the carry-in area and the carry-out area are respectively mounted and an intermediate stage block on which the coating area is mounted must be suppressed to several tens of μm or less. More precisely, as will be described later, when the air bearing surface of the former (carrying region) is higher than the air bearing surface of the latter (coating region) between the carry-in region and the coating region, the level difference is small. If the step exceeds the flying height (30 to 60 μm) of the application region, the substrate may be damaged by rubbing the step. In addition, when the air bearing surface of the latter (coating region) is higher than the air bearing surface of the former (carrying region) between the coating region and the unloading region, the level difference is small, and the level difference increases the flying height of the coating region. If exceeded, the substrate may hit the stepped portion and be damaged.

  For the above reasons, it is not uncommon for conventional floating resist coating equipment to take a whole day to adjust the height position of the stage block during equipment reassembly at the delivery site. Was a heavy burden and inconvenience.

  Furthermore, even if the height of each stage block is adjusted by adjusting the height of the stage block, an undesired height exceeding the allowable value at the joint between the stage blocks due to changes over time or other maintenance, etc. A step (level difference) may occur. For this reason, the height position of the air bearing surface of the stage block, which is very troublesome, must be adjusted regularly or frequently.

  The present invention solves the problems of the prior art as described above, and the tolerance of the level difference that can be formed at the boundary (joint) of the stage block in the floating stage that can be disassembled into a plurality of stage blocks corresponding to the flying height. Is provided so that the height position adjustment operation of the floating surface can be easily performed, and the safety and reliability of the floating coating process are improved.

The floating coating apparatus according to the first aspect of the present invention includes a rough floating region and a precision floating region mounted on the physically and separable first and second stage blocks that are connected to each other. Then, the substrate floats in the air with a precise first flying height suitable for the coating process in most of the region, and the substrate floats in the rough flying region to the second flying surface that is larger and rougher than the first flying height. A levitation stage that floats in the air at a high level, a substrate transport unit that detachably holds the substrate and transports the surface of the levitation stage in the order of the rough levitation region and the precision levitation region, and a predetermined position in the precision levitation region And a processing liquid supply unit having a long nozzle for discharging a processing liquid for coating toward the processing surface of the substrate floating at the first flying height, and in the rough floating region , Exclusively said group A plurality of jet nozzles for jetting gas for applying a vertical upward pressure to the substrate are arranged at a constant density, and jet nozzles for jetting a gas for applying a vertical upward pressure exclusively to the substrate are provided in the precision levitation region. And a plurality of suction ports for sucking a gas for applying a vertical downward pressure to the substrate in a mixed manner at a constant density, and in the vicinity of the end of the second stage block in contact with the first stage block In addition, a large number of jet outlets for jetting gas for applying a vertically upward pressure exclusively to the substrate at a jet pressure higher than the jet pressure of the rough levitation region are arranged at a constant density, and adjacent to the precise levitation region. And a lift-up floating region for floating the substrate at a third flying height that is one step higher than the first flying height.

In the floating coating apparatus according to the first aspect described above , a large number of outlets for jetting gas for applying a vertically upward pressure exclusively to the substrate are arranged in the rough floating region at a constant density, A large number of jet outlets for ejecting a gas for applying a vertical upward pressure exclusively to the substrate and a suction port for sucking a gas for applying a vertical downward pressure to the substrate are mixedly arranged at a constant density. Depending on the configuration, the precision levitation region has greater levitation rigidity than the rough levitation region. As a result, when the first and second stage blocks are connected, there is an undesirable step where the second stage block on the precision levitation area side is lower than the first stage block on the rough levitation area side. When it occurs at the boundary (joint) between the two, the rough flying height on the rough flying area of the first stage block is lowered so as to yield to the precise flying height on the coating area of the second stage block.
However, in the above-described levitation-type coating apparatus, the second stage block has an ejection pressure higher than the ejection pressure of the rough levitation region in the vicinity of the end of the second stage block that is in contact with the first stage block . A number of jet outlets for jetting gas for applying pressure are arranged at a constant density, and the substrate is lifted by a third flying height that is one step higher than the first flying height adjacent to the precision flying region. By providing a floating area, the lift height on the lift area located adjacent to the upstream side of the coating area can be increased by one step higher than the precise lift height, so that the level difference exceeds the lift height. Otherwise, the substrate passes over the rear end corner of the first stage block without rubbing. In this way, the configuration in which the lifted floating region is provided at the starting end of the second stage block so that a lifted height that is one step higher than the precise flying height is obtained, and this may occur between the first and second stage blocks. The allowable amount of the step can be increased by one step compared to the conventional case.

The floating coating apparatus according to the second aspect of the present invention includes a precision floating region and a rough floating region, which are mounted on the physically separable first and second stage blocks that are connected to each other. Then, the substrate floats in the air with a precise first flying height suitable for the coating process in most of the region, and the substrate floats in the rough flying region to the second flying surface that is larger and rougher than the first flying height. A levitation stage that floats in the air at high, a substrate transport unit that detachably holds the substrate and transports the levitation stage in the order of the precision levitation region and the rough levitation region, and a predetermined position in the precision levitation region in and a processing liquid supply unit having a nozzle elongated type which ejects treatment liquid coating toward the target surface of the substrate that floats in the first flying height, the precision floating region , Exclusively said group A large number of jet outlets for ejecting a gas for applying a vertical upward pressure to the substrate and suction ports for sucking a gas for applying a vertical downward pressure to the substrate are mixed and arranged at a constant density. In the region, a large number of outlets for ejecting a gas exclusively for applying a vertically upward pressure to the substrate are arranged at a constant density, and in the vicinity of the end of the first stage block in contact with the second stage block In addition, a large number of jet outlets for jetting gas for applying a vertically upward pressure exclusively to the substrate at a jet pressure higher than the jet pressure of the rough levitation region are arranged at a constant density, and adjacent to the precise levitation region. And a lift-up floating region for floating the substrate at a third flying height that is one step higher than the first flying height.

In the levitation coating apparatus according to the second aspect , the rough levitation region is provided with a large number of outlets for jetting a gas for applying a vertically upward pressure exclusively to the substrate at a constant density. A large number of jet nozzles for jetting a gas for applying a vertical upward pressure to the substrate and a suction port for sucking a gas for applying a vertical downward pressure to the substrate are mixed at a constant density. By doing so, the precision levitation region has greater levitation rigidity than the rough levitation region. As a result, when the first and second stage blocks are connected, there is an undesirable step where the first stage block on the precision levitation area side is lower than the second stage block on the rough levitation area side. When it occurs at the boundary (joint) between the two, the rough flying height on the rough flying area of the second stage block is lowered so as to yield to the precise flying height on the coating area of the first stage block.
However, in the above-described levitation-type coating apparatus, the second stage block has an ejection pressure higher than the ejection pressure of the rough levitation region in the vicinity of the end of the second stage block that is in contact with the first stage block . A number of jet outlets for jetting gas for applying pressure are arranged at a constant density, and the substrate is lifted by a third flying height that is one step higher than the first flying height adjacent to the precision flying region. Provide a floating area. With this configuration, the lift height on the lift surface that is located next to the upstream side of the coating area can be made higher than the precise lift height, so that the step must be larger than the lift height. For example, the substrate passes over the second stage block without colliding with the starting corner. As described above, the configuration in which the lifted floating region in which the lifted height that is one step higher than the precise flying height is provided at the terminal portion of the first stage block can cause an undesired occurrence between the first and second stage blocks. The allowable amount of the step can be increased by one step compared to the conventional case.

  According to the levitation-type coating apparatus of the present invention, the height position adjustment for aligning the height positions of the floating surfaces between the stage blocks to be joined in the assembly or reassembly of the levitation stage by the configuration and operation as described above. Work can be done easily and in a short time. Further, even if an undesirable step occurs at the boundary (joint) of the stage block due to aging or other maintenance, the allowable amount is large, so the frequency or number of readjustments can be reduced.

It is a side view which shows the structure around the floating stage of the resist coating apparatus in one Embodiment of this invention. It is a top view which shows the division of each area | region in the said levitation | floating stage, and the structure of a floating surface. It is a side view which shows the state which decomposed | disassembled the said levitation | floating stage by the subassembly unit with the mount frame. It is a perspective view which shows the whole structure of the said resist coating apparatus. It is a figure which shows a mode that a resist coating film is formed on a board | substrate in the said resist coating apparatus. It is a top view which shows the division of each area | region in the floating stage of a comparative example. It is a figure which shows the flying height profile of the joint vicinity of the carrying-in stage block and application | coating stage block in a comparative example. It is a figure which shows levitation conveyance in case a coating stage block has a high level | step difference with respect to the carrying-in stage block in a comparative example. It is a figure which shows the floating conveyance (problem) when the stage block for application | coating has a low level | step difference with respect to the stage block for carrying in in a comparative example. It is a figure which shows the flying height profile of the joint vicinity of the carrying-in stage block and application | coating stage block in embodiment. It is a figure which shows floating conveyance (solving a problem) in case there exists a level | step difference with a coating stage block low with respect to the stage block for carrying in in embodiment. In a comparative example, it is a figure which shows floating conveyance in case a stage block for application | coating has a high level | step difference with respect to the stage block for carrying out. It is a figure which shows the floating conveyance (problem) when the stage block for application | coating has a low level | step difference with respect to the stage block for carrying out in a comparative example. It is a figure which shows the flying height profile of the joint vicinity of the application | coating stage block and carrying-out stage block in embodiment. It is a figure which shows floating conveyance (solving a problem) in case the application | coating stage block has a low level | step difference with respect to the carrying-in stage block in embodiment. It is a top view which shows the division of each area | region on the levitation | floating stage by one modification, and the structure of a floating surface.

  Hereinafter, preferred embodiments of the present invention will be described with reference to the accompanying drawings.

  1 to 3 show a configuration around a floating stage of a resist coating apparatus according to an embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 1 is a side view of the levitation stage, FIG. 2 is a top view of the levitation stage, and FIG. 3 is a side view showing the sub-assemblies (stage blocks / mountings) separated.

This resist coating apparatus includes a rectangular glass substrate G for use as a substrate to be processed, for example, and has a rectangular parallelepiped floating stage 10 having a length several times that of the substrate G. The levitation stage 10 is divided into three stage blocks SB A , SB B , and SB C that can be physically separated along the stage longitudinal direction (X direction) that is the transport direction. Floating stage 10 includes a stage block SB A, SB B, each joint of SB C (boundary) is assembled so that there is no contact with a substantially gap.

As shown in FIG. 2, the leftmost stage to the upstream side are disposed in the block SB A exclusively spout 12 a certain density or number provided was carried region arrangement pattern (first rough levitation in the transport direction Area) M IN is mounted. The stage block SB B in the middle, exclusively spout 12 a certain density or number provided by the substrate anticollision area arrangement patterns (push-up floating region) M P at both ends of the transport direction (X direction), M Q is A coating region (precision levitation) that is mounted locally and has a large number of jet ports 12 and suction ports 14 mixed in a constant density or arrangement pattern between the local regions M P and M Q at both ends. Area) MCT is installed. Further, the right end of the stage block SB C disposed on the most downstream side (end), and out region which is disposed a number exclusively spout 12 at a constant density or arrangement pattern (second rough floating region) M OUT Is installed.

The leftmost stage block SB A on the entrance side is attached via a large number of columns 18 on a stand FL A that can be moved and transported independently. A manual adjuster (height position adjusting unit) 20 is provided at the lower end of each column 18. By manipulating these adjuster 20 by hand, and to be able to adjust the height position and horizontal degree of the air bearing surface of the stage block SB A.

The intermediate stage block SB B is mounted on a gantry FL B that is independently movable and transportable via a plurality of support columns 22. A manual adjuster 24 is provided at the lower end of each column 22. By manipulating these adjusters 24 by hand, which is the height of the air bearing surface of the stage block SB B position and the levelness can be adjusted respectively.

Stage block SB C on the outlet side is attached via a number of struts 26 on the movable and transportable frame FL C independently is manually operated adjuster 28 at the lower end of each post 26 Is provided. By manipulating these adjuster 28 by hand, and to be able to adjust the height position and horizontal degree of the air bearing surface of the stage block SB C.

Carrying region M IN and out region M OUT stage block SB A to be mounted on the back surface of the SB C (lower surface), high-pressure air inlet port 30, 32 are respectively attached. These high-pressure air inlets 30 and 32 are connected to a high-pressure air supply unit 36 via a high-pressure air supply pipe 34. Inside each stage block SB A , SB C is a manifold for distributing the high-pressure air supplied from the high-pressure air supply unit 36 to each jet port 12 in the carry-in area M IN or the carry-out area M OUT with a uniform pressure. A gas passage (not shown) and the like are provided.

The back surface (lower surface) of the stage block SB B for mounting the coating area M CT high-pressure air inlet port 38 and the vacuum inlet port 40 is attached. The high-pressure air introduction port 38 is connected to the high-pressure air supply unit 36 via the high-pressure air supply pipe 34. The vacuum inlet 40 is connected to a vacuum device 44 via a vacuum pipe 42. Inside the stage block SB B is (not shown) manifold and gas passages for distributing a uniform pressure to the ejection port 12 in applying a high pressure air region M CT supplied from the high-pressure air supply unit 48 or the like and , manifold and gas passages for distributing a uniform pressure to the suction port 14 of the negative pressure suction attractive force application region M CT supplied from the vacuum device 44 (not shown) and the like.

The mounts FL A , FL B , FL C have, for example, stainless steel frames or main bodies 46, 48, 50 and leg portions 52, 54, 56, respectively, and stage blocks SB A , SB B , SB C. Are arranged in a line on the floor surface 58 so as to be connected in this order. The resist nozzle 60 long type is located directly above the center of the stage block SB B.

In a factory of an apparatus manufacturer that manufactures this resist coating apparatus, the levitation stage 10 is assembled in a state as shown in FIG. 1, and a final test and performance confirmation of the apparatus are performed. The Prior to final test, rack FL A, FL B, FL C on the stage block SB A by a manual operation of the adjuster 20, 24 in, SB B, height adjustment of the SB C is carried out, respectively. In this embodiment, as described later in detail, both ends substrate anticollision region (upthrust floating region) portion M P in the conveying direction of the coating stage block SB B (X-direction), the arrangement for mounting the M Q, stage The height positions of the blocks SB A , SB B and SB C can be adjusted more simply and in a shorter time than before.

After the device final test and performance confirmation, the resist coating device is disassembled into hardware components (units, modules, subassemblies, etc.). In that case, the floating stage 10, as shown in FIG. 3, stage block SB A and frame FL A and the first set of sub-assemblies J A, stage block SB B and frame FL B and second set of sub-assemblies J B , the stage block SB C and the gantry FL C are disassembled as a third set of sub-assemblies J C.

These three subassemblies J A , J B , J C are usually divided into a plurality of trucks or containers and transported to a delivery destination (LCD manufacturing factory). Then, these three subassemblies J A , J B , J C are arranged in a line on the floor of the apparatus operating place of the delivery destination, and the levitation stage 10 is reassembled.

Also in reassembly work of the floating stage 10, for the same reasons as above, it is possible to perform the stage block SB A, SB B, the height adjustment of the SB C easily and in a short time. This makes it possible to quickly start up the resist coating apparatus.

  Next, the overall configuration and operation of the resist coating apparatus in this embodiment will be described with reference to FIGS.

  As shown in FIG. 4, linear movement type first (left side) and second (right side) transfer units 64 </ b> L and 64 </ b> R are arranged on the left and right sides of the levitation stage 10. These transfer units 64L and 64R are singly or in cooperation with each other so as to detachably hold the substrate G floating on the stage 10 and transfer the substrate G in the stage longitudinal direction (X direction). It has become. On the levitation stage 100, the substrate G is levitated and conveyed in a horizontal posture such that the pair of sides are parallel to the conveyance direction (X direction) and the other pair of sides are orthogonal to the conveyance direction.

  The first (left side) and second (right side) transport units 64L and 64R include first and second guide rails 66L and 66R arranged in parallel on the left and right sides of the levitation stage 10, and the guide rails 66L and 66L, The first and second sliders 68L and 68R are movably mounted on the conveying direction (X direction) on 66R, and the sliders 68L and 68L are linearly moved simultaneously or individually on both guide rails 166L and 66R. First and second transport driving units (not shown) and first and second holding units 70L and 70R mounted on both sliders 68L and 68R for holding the substrate G in a detachable manner, respectively. doing. Each conveyance drive unit is configured by a linear drive mechanism such as a linear motor.

  The first (left) holding unit 70L includes a plurality of suction pads 72L that are coupled to the back surfaces (lower surfaces) of the left two corners of the substrate G by a vacuum suction force, and each suction pad 72L in the transport direction (X direction). A plurality of pad support portions 74L for supporting the vertical displacement by restricting the vertical displacement at a plurality of positions at regular intervals, and a plurality of pads for independently moving the plurality of pad support portions 74L up and down or up and down displacement. And an actuator 76L.

  The second (right side) holding portion 70R includes a plurality of suction pads 72R that are coupled to the back surfaces (lower surfaces) of the left two corners of the substrate G by a vacuum suction force, and each suction pad 72R in the transport direction (X direction). A plurality of pad support portions 74R that support the vertical displacement by restricting the vertical displacement at a plurality of positions at regular intervals, and a plurality of pads that move the plurality of pad support portions 74R up and down independently or move up and down independently. And an actuator 76R.

  Although not shown in the drawings, the suction pads 72L and 72R on the left and right sides are provided with a plurality of suction ports on the upper surface of a rectangular parallelepiped pad body made of, for example, stainless steel (SUS). These suction ports respectively communicate with a vacuum source (not shown) of the pad suction control unit via a vacuum passage in the pad main body and an external vacuum tube.

In the levitation stage 10, a new substrate G to be subjected to the resist coating process by this resist coating apparatus is, for example, flattened from a sorter unit (not shown) installed on the upstream side in the transport direction to the carry-in area MIN . It is brought in.

Carrying region M IN is also a region levitation transportation of the substrate G is started, a relatively large rough flying height H beta (standard value: 200 to 2000) the substrate G as described above in this region in In order to make it float, many jet nozzles 12 which spout high pressure air are provided by fixed density or arrangement pattern. In the carry-in area MIN , an alignment mechanism (not shown) for aligning the substrate G on the stage 10 may be provided.

The coating region M CT set at the center in the longitudinal direction of the levitation stage 10 is a resist solution supply region, and the substrate G receives the supply of the resist solution R from the upper resist nozzle 60 when passing through the coating region M CT. . As described above, in the coating area M CT, large precision flying height H alpha (standard value: 30 to 60 m) of the floating rigid substrates G to float stably in, spout 12 and the negative pressure spewing the high-pressure air The suction ports 14 for sucking air are mixedly provided at a constant density or arrangement pattern.

The carry-out area M OUT at the other end of the levitation stage 10 located on the downstream side of the application area M CT is an area where the levitation transfer of the substrate G ends. Substrate G having received a coating process in the coating region M CT is transferred to the downstream side next to the sorter unit from the unloading area M OUT, for example, flat flow vacuum drying unit via a (not shown) (not shown) . The unloading area M OUR, relatively large substrates G by rough flying height H beta (standard value: 200 to 2000) spout 12 for float in are provided a number at a constant density or arrangement pattern.

  The resist nozzle 60 has a slit-like discharge port 60a that can cover the substrate G on the floating stage 10 from one end to the other end in the longitudinal direction (Y direction), and has a gate-shaped or inverted U-shaped frame (not shown). ) And can be moved up and down by driving a nozzle lifting / lowering section (not shown) having a ball screw mechanism, for example, and is connected to a resist solution supply pipe 62 from a resist solution supply section (not shown).

In the resist coating process in the resist coating apparatus, the substrate G moves on the floating stage 10 by floating transportation while changing the flying height in the order of the carry-in area M IN , the coating area M CT, and the carry-in area M IN . At this time, as shown in FIG. 5, uniformly applied resist liquid R supplied to the strip from above the resist nozzle 60 while the substrate G passes through the coating region M CT precision flying height H alpha is on the substrate G Then, a coating film RM of the resist solution R is formed with a constant film thickness from the front end to the rear end of the substrate G.

Next, the action of specific in this embodiment, i.e. stage block SB conveying direction (X-direction) at both ends in the application region M CT and adjacent to the substrate collision avoidance region of (push-up floating region) M P of B, and M Q The effect | action based on the structure to mount is demonstrated.

First, as a comparative example corresponding to the prior art, as shown in FIG. 6, a configuration (stage block SB B ) in which only the coating region MCT is mounted and the substrate collision prevention region (push-up floating region) M P and MQ is not mounted. Explain the action and its problems.

In this case, in the conveying direction (X direction), the loading area M IN at the downstream side of the loading stage block SB A is assumed to directly followed, as shown in FIG. 7 (a), the substrate G is rough flying height H to later stage block SB a while maintaining the standard value of beta. On the other hand, if even coating area M CT upstream of the coating stage block SB B 'is assumed to extend, as shown in FIG. 7 (b), the substrate G is already accurate flying height standard value of H alpha Entering onto the stage block SB B 'while keeping

Therefore, when the stage block SB A and the stage block SB B ′ are connected, the profile of the flying height of the substrate G in the transport direction (X direction) is as shown in FIG. That is, in the carrying region M IN of the stage block SB A, the substrate G may only floated by high-pressure air from the ejection port 12, also the rough flying height H beta large in size flying-rigidity is very small. In contrast, in the stage block application region (Precision floating region) of the SB B 'M CT, vertical downward force due to the negative pressure suction attraction from the high-pressure air by a vertical upward force suction port 14 from the spout 12 and Are controlled against each other and the balance is controlled to keep a small precision flying height stable, and the flying height is very large. For this reason, the rough flying height H β on the loading stage block SB A yields to the precise flying height H α on the coating stage block SB B ′ regardless of the size of the standard value. SB a, is lowered to the same height as the precision flying height H alpha at a location upstream of the boundary (seam) of SB B '. Thus, the flying height H P near the boundary (joint) between both stage blocks SB A and SB B ′ depends on the precise flying height H α , and usually H P = H α .

Here, a case is considered where there is a step or height difference δH at the boundary (joint) between both stage blocks SB A and SB B ′. In this step δH, when the air bearing surface of the coating stage block SB B ′ is higher (SB A <SB B ′) and lower (SB A > SB B ) than the air bearing surface of the loading stage block SB A. ') There are two ways.

When a step δH that satisfies SB A <SB B ′ occurs, the rough flying height H β on the loading stage block SB A is higher than the precise flying height H α on the coating stage block SB B ′ as described above. As shown in FIG. 8, the substrate G does not hit or rub against both the stage blocks SB A and SB B ′, and the step δH is not extremely large (for example, as shown in FIG. (If it is not 1000 μm or more), there will be no trouble in the floating transportation through both blocks SB A and SB B ′.

However, when a step δH that satisfies SB A > SB B ′ occurs, the rough flying height H β on the loading stage block SB A yields to the precise flying height H α on the coating stage block SB B ′. by being pulled, when the level difference δH exceeds precise flying height H alpha (30 to 60 m), as shown in FIG. 9, the substrate G is rubbing the corners K P of the rear end of the loading stage block SB a. If it becomes so, the board | substrate G may be damaged, and it may be broken or cracked. In this case, although the front end of the substrate G is passed over the without rubbing the corners K P, with the progress into the application area (Precision floating region) M CT of the substrate G, the front end of the substrate G precision floating high H toward α G (1) → G ( 2) → G (3) → G (4) and gradually decreases, rear corner K of the back surface loading stage block SB a substrate G in the process Touching P.

In contrast, in this embodiment, the substrate collision avoidance region (upthrust floating region) M P is provided in the starting end of the coating stage block SB B. As shown in FIG. 10, this region M P has a precise flying height H α (30 to 60 μm) even though there is an application region (precise flying region) M CT having a very large flying rigidity adjacent to the downstream side thereof. ) stage higher against the (for example, about 120 [mu] m) flying height H P third flying height that is the push-up is to be obtained. For this reason, in this region MP , a layout (FIG. 2) in which only the ejection port 12 is arranged is adopted, and the ejection pressure is considerably higher, that is, higher than the ejection pressure on the coating region MCT , and is carried in. ejection pressure is set higher than the ejection pressure on the use stage block SB a.

In this embodiment, when the carry-in stage block SB A and the application stage block SB B are connected, a step δH that satisfies SB A > SB B is formed at the boundary (joint) between the two stage blocks SB A and SB B. Suppose that it occurred. In this case, the rough flying height H β on the loading stage block SB A is lowered so as to yield to the precise flying height H α on the coating region M CT of the coating stage block SB B , as shown in FIG. , the coating area M since the flying height H P pushing up on the front of the substrate anticollision region (upthrust floating region) M P is one step higher than it won the precision flying height H alpha than CT, the flying height H step δH is push-up if the size of more than P substrate G through the over it without rubbing the rear corners K P of the loading stage block SB a.

If a step δH where SB A <SB B occurs at the boundary (joint) between the two stage blocks SB A and SB B , the profile is basically similar to that in FIG. If neither the block SB A nor SB B hits nor rubs, and the step δH is not extremely large (for example, 1000 μm or more), there is no floating transport on both stage blocks SB A , SB B There will be no hindrance.

Thus, according to this embodiment, the starting end of the coating stage block SB B, precision flying height H stage (e.g. about twice) than α high push-up fly height H P is the substrate anticollision region obtained ( the configuration in which the push-up floating region) M P, be increased one step (e.g. about twice) than the conventional capacity of may occur step δH between the loading stage block SB a and coating stage block SB B it can. Thus, in the assembly or reassembly of the floating stage 10, a conveniently short time working height adjustment to align the height position of the air bearing surface between the loading stage block SB A and coating stage block SB B I can do it. Even if an undesirable step δH in which SB A > SB B occurs between both stage blocks SB A and SB B due to changes over time or other maintenance, the allowable amount of δH is large. The number of times can be reduced.

Further, in this embodiment, it can solve the problems of the prior art in between the coating stage block SB B and unloading stage block SB C. That is, in the comparative example corresponding to the prior art, between the unloading stage block SB C a coating stage block SB B ', a small rough flying height H beta of levitation stiffness on the unloading stage block SB C is its 'in greater precision flying height H form succumb to α levitation stiffness on both stages block SB B' coating stage block SB B regardless of the size of the standard value, the downstream side of the SB C boundary (seam) It lowered to the same height as the precision flying height H alpha in position. Thus, the blocks SB B ', the flying height H Q near SB C boundary (seam) is dependent on the precision flying height H alpha, usually becomes H Q = H α.

If a step δH in which SB B ′> SB C occurs when the two stage blocks SB B ′, SB C are connected, the rough flying height H β on the unloading stage block SB C is greater than the coating stage. block SB B 'be pulled down to succumb to precise flying height H alpha on, as shown in FIG. 12, the substrate G is both stages block SB B', never or rub hit with any of SB C , (unless for example 1000μm or more) if there is no extremely large level difference δH both blocks SB B ', no any trouble in levitation transportation through SB C.

However, when a step δH that satisfies SB B ′ <SB C occurs, the flying height on the unloading stage block SB C is lowered so as to yield to the precise flying height H α of the coating stage block SB B ′. when the level difference δH exceeds precise flying height H alpha (30 to 60 m), as shown in FIG. 13, the substrate G is impinging on the corners K Q of the starting end of the unloading stage block SB C. If so, the substrate G may be damaged and cracked. In this case, the front end portion of the substrate G is towards the rough flying height H beta after passing through the upper corner K Q G (1) → G (2) → G (3) → G (4) gradually emerged is increased to high, but the front end of the substrate G before the rising to head-on collision at the starting end corners K Q of the unloading stage block SB C.

In contrast, in this embodiment, the substrate collision avoidance region (upthrust floating region) M Q is provided at the end of the coating stage block SB B. As shown in FIG. 14, this region M Q has a precise flying height H α (30 to 60 μm) even though there is a coating region (precise flying region) M CT having a very large flying rigidity adjacent to the upstream side. 3), a third flying height that is higher than that (for example, about 120 μm), that is, a lifted flying height H Q is obtained. Therefore, in this region MQ , a layout (FIG. 2) in which only the ejection port 12 is arranged is adopted, and the ejection pressure is considerably higher, that is, higher than the ejection pressure on the coating region MCT , and is carried out. ejection pressure is set higher than the ejection pressure on the use stage block SB C.

In this embodiment, when that connects the a coating stage block SB B and unloading stage block SB C, both stages block SB B, step δH is to be SB B <SB C in SB C boundary (seam) Suppose that it occurred. In this case, the rough flying height H beta on the unloading stage block SB C is lowered to succumb to precise flying height H alpha on the coating region M CT coating stage block SB B, as shown in FIG. 15, since flying height H Q push-up on the coating region M CT board collision avoidance region adjacent to the downstream side (push-up floating region) M Q is one step higher than it won the precision flying height H alpha, flying height level difference δH is push-up if the size of more than H Q substrate G through the over it without colliding with the leading end corner portion K Q of the unloading stage block SB C.

When a step δH where SB B > SB C occurs at the boundary (joint) between both stage blocks SB B and SB C , the profile is basically similar to that in FIG. There is no contact with or rubbing with any of the blocks SB B , SB C , and if the step δH is not extremely large (for example, 1000 μm or more), there is nothing for floating transport on both stage blocks SB B , SB C There will be no hindrance.

Thus, according to this embodiment, the end portion of the coating stage block SB B, precision flying height H stage (e.g. about twice) than α high push-up fly height H Q is a substrate anticollision region obtained ( the configuration in which the push-up floating region) M Q, be increased one step (e.g. about twice) than the conventional capacity of may occur step δH between the coating stage block SB B and unloading stage block SB C it can. Thus, in the assembly or reassembly of the floating stage 10, in a short time convenient working height adjustment to align the height position of the air bearing surface between the coating stage block SB B and unloading stage block SB C I can do it. Even if an undesirable step δH where SB B <SB C occurs between both stage blocks SB B and SB C due to changes over time or other maintenance, the allowable amount of δH is large, so the frequency of readjustment or The number of times can be reduced.

[Other Embodiments or Modifications]

  The preferred embodiment of the present invention has been described above, but the present invention is not limited to the above-described embodiment, and various modifications can be made within the scope of the technical idea.

For example, regarding the configuration of the air bearing surface in the substrate collision prevention region (push-up floating region) M P , M Q, in the configuration example shown in FIG. 2, one row of the jets 12 is arranged in each region M P , M Q. You may arrange the jet nozzle 12 in multiple rows.

Alternatively, as shown in FIG. 16, the ejection port 12 and the suction port 14 are mixed in each of the regions M P and M Q , and the balance between the ejection pressure and the suction pressure is controlled to obtain a desired lift height H P. , H Q can also be realized. In this case, although the consumption amount of the high-pressure gas in each of the regions M P and M Q increases, the floating rigidity or stability of the thrust flying heights H P and H Q can be increased. In addition, conventional coating region was included in the M CT spout 12 and as substrate anti-collision area hardware suction ports 14 (push-up floating region) M P, can also be used for M Q.

In the above embodiment, the levitation stage 10 is divided into three stage blocks SB A , SB B , and SB C that can be physically separated for each of the carry-in area M IN , the coating area M CT , and the carry-out area M OUT . However, physically separable two stages block floating stage 10 SB A, divided into SB D, equipped with a loading area M IN the preceding stage block SB A, coating area M to the subsequent stage block SB D A configuration in which the CT and the carry-out area M OUT are integrally mounted is also possible. In this case, it is only providing the M P substrate anticollision region (floating region upthrust) next upstream side of the coating region M CT, M Q downstream next to the substrate anticollision region (floating region upthrust) is not required.

Alternatively, the floating stage 10 physically separable two stages blocks SB E, is divided into SB C, integrally equipped with a loading area M IN and coating area M CT in front of the stage block SB E, subsequent configuration of the stage block SB C mounting the unloading area M OUT is also possible. In this case, it is only providing the M Q board collision avoidance region (floating region upthrust) next downstream of the application region M CT, upstream adjacent the substrate anticollision region of (push-up floating region) M P is not required.

The first flying height in the embodiment described above (precision flying height) H alpha, the second flying height (rough flying height) H beta, the value of the third fly height (upthrust flying height) H P, H Q is This is an example, and various values can be taken according to the specifications of the coating process.
Also, no effect on the coating quality (e.g. does not cause uneven coating) as far as the rear corners K P and / or the starting angle section K Q of the unloading stage block SB C of the loading stage block SB A chamfered May be.

  Although the above-described embodiment relates to a resist coating apparatus for manufacturing an LCD, the present invention can be applied to any coating apparatus that coats a processing liquid on a substrate to be processed. Therefore, as the processing liquid in the present invention, in addition to the resist liquid, for example, a coating liquid such as an interlayer insulating material, a dielectric material, and a wiring material can be used, and a developing liquid or a rinsing liquid can also be used. The substrate to be processed in the present invention is not limited to an LCD substrate, and other flat panel display substrates, semiconductor wafers, CD substrates, glass substrates, photomasks, printed substrates, and the like are also possible.

DESCRIPTION OF SYMBOLS 10 Ascending stage 12 Jet outlet 14 Suction port 60 Long type resist nozzle 64L, 64R Transfer part SB A loading stage block SB B coating stage block SB C unloading stage block M IN loading area M CT coating area M OUT unloading area M P, M Q board collision avoidance region (upthrust floating region)

Claims (6)

  1. Rough levitation areas and precision levitation areas are respectively mounted on the first and second stage blocks that are physically separated and connected to each other, and in the precision levitation area, most of the areas are suitable for coating processing. A levitation stage that floats in the air with a precise first flying height, and floats the substrate in the air with a second flying height that is larger and rougher than the first flying height in the rough flying region;
    A substrate transport unit that holds the substrate in a detachable manner and transports the floating stage in order of the rough floating region and the precise floating region;
    A treatment liquid supply unit having a long nozzle that discharges a treatment liquid for coating toward a surface to be treated of the substrate that is floating at the first flying height at a predetermined position in the precise floating region. And
    In the rough levitation region, a large number of jet outlets for jetting gas exclusively for applying a vertical upward pressure to the substrate are arranged at a constant density,
    In the precise levitation region, a jet port for jetting a gas for applying a vertical upward pressure exclusively to the substrate and a suction port for sucking a gas for applying a vertical downward pressure to the substrate are mixed at a constant density. A lot of them,
    A jet that jets a gas for applying a vertically upward pressure exclusively to the substrate at a jet pressure higher than the jet pressure of the rough levitation region in the vicinity of an end portion of the second stage block in contact with the first stage block. A levitation coating apparatus in which a large number of outlets are arranged with a constant density, and a push-up levitation region is provided adjacent to the precision levitation region to lift the substrate at a third levitation height that is one step higher than the first levitation height.
  2. The levitation-type coating apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the first and second stage blocks are respectively attached to first and second mountable frames.
  3. The levitation coating apparatus according to claim 2 , further comprising a height position adjustment unit that adjusts a height position of an air bearing surface of the stage block on at least one of the first and second mounts.
  4. A precision levitation area and a rough levitation area are respectively mounted on the first and second stage blocks that are physically separated and connected to each other, and in the precision levitation area, the substrate is suitable for the coating process in most of the areas. A levitation stage that floats in the air with a precise first flying height, and floats the substrate in the air with a second flying height that is larger and rougher than the first flying height in the rough flying region;
    A substrate transport unit that detachably holds the substrate and transports the levitation stage in order of the precision levitation region and the rough levitation region;
    A treatment liquid supply unit having a long nozzle that discharges a treatment liquid for coating toward a surface to be treated of the substrate that is floating at the first flying height at a predetermined position in the precise floating region. And
    In the precise levitation region, a jet port for jetting a gas for applying a vertical upward pressure exclusively to the substrate and a suction port for sucking a gas for applying a vertical downward pressure to the substrate are mixed at a constant density. A lot of them,
    In the rough levitation region, a large number of jet outlets for jetting gas exclusively for applying a vertical upward pressure to the substrate are arranged at a constant density,
    A jet that jets a gas for applying a vertically upward pressure exclusively to the substrate at a jet pressure higher than the jet pressure of the rough levitation region in the vicinity of an end portion of the first stage block that contacts the second stage block. A levitation coating apparatus in which a large number of outlets are arranged with a constant density, and a push-up levitation region is provided adjacent to the precision levitation region to lift the substrate at a third levitation height that is one step higher than the first levitation height.
  5. The levitation-type coating apparatus according to claim 4, wherein the first and second stage blocks are respectively attached to first and second mounts that can be transported independently.
  6. The levitation coating apparatus according to claim 5 , further comprising a height position adjusting unit that adjusts a height position of the air bearing surface of the stage block on at least one of the first and second mounts.
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