WO2001058644A1 - Method and apparatus for controlling a pad conditioning process of a chemical-mechanical polishing apparatus - Google Patents

Method and apparatus for controlling a pad conditioning process of a chemical-mechanical polishing apparatus Download PDF

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Publication number
WO2001058644A1
WO2001058644A1 PCT/US2001/004359 US0104359W WO0158644A1 WO 2001058644 A1 WO2001058644 A1 WO 2001058644A1 US 0104359 W US0104359 W US 0104359W WO 0158644 A1 WO0158644 A1 WO 0158644A1
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WO
WIPO (PCT)
Prior art keywords
polishing pad
conditioning
pad
down force
polishing
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/US2001/004359
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Jayakumar Gurusamy
Lawrence M. Rosenberg
Original Assignee
Applied Materials, Inc.
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Priority to US50256000A priority Critical
Priority to US09/502,560 priority
Application filed by Applied Materials, Inc. filed Critical Applied Materials, Inc.
Publication of WO2001058644A1 publication Critical patent/WO2001058644A1/en

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Classifications

    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B24GRINDING; POLISHING
    • B24BMACHINES, DEVICES, OR PROCESSES FOR GRINDING OR POLISHING; DRESSING OR CONDITIONING OF ABRADING SURFACES; FEEDING OF GRINDING, POLISHING, OR LAPPING AGENTS
    • B24B53/00Devices or means for dressing or conditioning abrasive surfaces
    • B24B53/017Devices or means for dressing, cleaning or otherwise conditioning lapping tools
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B24GRINDING; POLISHING
    • B24BMACHINES, DEVICES, OR PROCESSES FOR GRINDING OR POLISHING; DRESSING OR CONDITIONING OF ABRADING SURFACES; FEEDING OF GRINDING, POLISHING, OR LAPPING AGENTS
    • B24B49/00Measuring or gauging equipment for controlling the feed movement of the grinding tool or work; Arrangements of indicating or measuring equipment, e.g. for indicating the start of the grinding operation
    • B24B49/02Measuring or gauging equipment for controlling the feed movement of the grinding tool or work; Arrangements of indicating or measuring equipment, e.g. for indicating the start of the grinding operation according to the instantaneous size and required size of the workpiece acted upon, the measuring or gauging being continuous or intermittent
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B24GRINDING; POLISHING
    • B24BMACHINES, DEVICES, OR PROCESSES FOR GRINDING OR POLISHING; DRESSING OR CONDITIONING OF ABRADING SURFACES; FEEDING OF GRINDING, POLISHING, OR LAPPING AGENTS
    • B24B49/00Measuring or gauging equipment for controlling the feed movement of the grinding tool or work; Arrangements of indicating or measuring equipment, e.g. for indicating the start of the grinding operation
    • B24B49/16Measuring or gauging equipment for controlling the feed movement of the grinding tool or work; Arrangements of indicating or measuring equipment, e.g. for indicating the start of the grinding operation taking regard of the load

Abstract

A method and apparatus (130) for improving the pad conditioning process of a polishing pad (120) in a chemical-mechanical polishing apparatus employs closed loop control of the polishing pad conditioning process. An arrangement includes a pad conditioning head carried (134) by an arm that is coupled to an arm support (300) located remotely from the conditioning head. A down force sensor in the pad conditioning head measures the down force exerted by a disk carrier (320) through a conditioning disk on a polishing pad (120). A controller receives the down force measurements from the down force sensor and controls the position of the disk carrier (320) to controllably vary the down force exerted by the disk carrier (320) and conditioning disk. The conditioning apparatus is thus controlled in response to the feedback from the down force measurements in a closed loop control to modify the conditioning process and control the pad wear uniformity.

Description

METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR CONTROLLING A PAD

CONDITIONING PROCESS OF A CHEMICAL-MECHANICAL

POLISHING APPARATUS

RELATED APPLICATIONS This application contains subject matter similar to that disclosed in U.S. Patent

Application No. (Attorney Docket No. 003717/PDD/CMP/RKK) entitled METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR CONTROLLING PROCESS OF A CHEMICAL-MECHANICAL POLISHING APPARATUS.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION The invention relates to chemical mechanical polishing of substrates, and more particularly to an apparatus for optimizing a polishing pad conditioning process.

BACKGROUND ART

Integrated circuits are typically formed on substrates, particularly silicon wafers, by the sequential deposition of conductive, semiconductive or insulative layers. After each layer is deposited, the layer is etched to create circuitry features. As a series of layers are sequentially deposited and etched, the outer or uppermost surface of the substrate, i.e., the exposed surface of the substrate, becomes successively more non-planar. This occurs because the distance between the outer surface and the underlying substrate is greatest in regions of the substrate where the least etching has occurred, and least in regions where the greatest etching has occurred. Within a single patterned underlying layer, this non-planar surface comprises a series of peaks and valleys wherein the distance between the highest peak and the lowest valley may be on the order of 7000 to 10,000 Angstroms. With multiple patterned underlying layers, the height difference between the peaks and valleys becomes even more severe, and can reach several microns. This non-planar outer surface presents a problem for the integrated circuit manufacturer. If the outer surface is non-planar, then photolithographic techniques to pattern photoresist layers might not be suitable, as a non-planar surface can prevent proper focusing of the photolithography apparatus. Therefore, there is a need to periodically planarize this substrate sur ace to provide a planar layer surface. Planarization, in effect, polishes away a non-planar, outer surface, whether a conductive, semiconductive, or insulative layer, to form a relatively flat, smooth surface. Following planarization, additional layers may be d p sited on the outer layer to form interconnect lines between features, or the outer layer may be etched to form vias to lower features.

Chemical mechanical polishing is one accepted method of planarization. This planarization method typically requires that the substrate be mounted on a carrier or polishing head, with the surface of the substrate to be polished exposed. The substrate is then placed against a rotating polishing pad. In addition, the carrier head may rotate to provide additional motion between the substrate and polishing surface. Further, a polishing slurry, including an abrasive and at least one chemically-reactive agent, may be spread on the polishing pad to provide an abrasive chemical solution at the interface between the pad and substrate.

Important factors in the chemical mechanical polishing process are: the finish (roughness) and flatness (lack of large scale topography) of the substrate surface, and the polishing rate. Inadequate flatness and finish can produce substrate defects. The polishing rate sets the time needed to polish a layer. Thus, it sets the maximum throughput of the polishing apparatus.

Each polishing pad provides a surface which, in combination with the specific slurry mixture, can provide specific polishing characteristics. Thus, for any material being polished, the pad and slurry combination is theoretically capable of providing a specified finish and flatness on the polished surface. The pad and slurry combination can provide this finish and flatness in a specified polishing time. Additional factors, such as the relative speed between the substrate and pad, and the force pressing the substrate against the pad, affect the polishing rate, finish and flatness.

Because inadequate flatness and finish can create defective substrates, the selection of a polishing pad and slurry combination is usually dictated by the required finish and flatness. Given these constraints, the polishing time needed to achieve the required finish and flatness sets the maximum throughput of the polishing apparatus. An additional limitation on polishing throughput is "glazing" of the polishing pad. Glazing occurs when the polishing pad is heated and compressed in regions where the substrate is pressed against it. The peaks of the polishing pad are pressed down and the pits of the polishing pad are filled up, so the surface of the polishing pad becomes smoother and less abrasive. As a result, the polishing time required to polish a substrate increases. Therefore, the polishing pad surface must be periodically returned to an abrasive condition, or "conditioned", to maintain a high throughput.

Another consideration in the production of integrated circuits is process and product stability. To achieve a low defect rate, each successive substrate should be polished under similar conditions. Each substrate should be polished by approximately the same amount so that each integrated circuit is substantially identical.

An apparatus for measuring the profile of a polishing pad in a chemical-mechanical polishing system has been described in U.S. Patent 5,875,559. The apparatus generates pad profiles that include the measurement of the thickness of the polishing pad which may be used to optimize the polishing process parameters or to select a conditioning process. The pad profiler generates plots of the surface profile of the polishing pad. These plots may be used by machine operators to select a conditioning process. There is no automatic control or closed loop control of the conditioning process. Hence, if any changes need to be made to the conditioning process based on the surface profiles generated by the pad profiler, these changes would be made in a separate operation by the machine operator.

Another apparatus for measuring the profile of a pad has been discussed in U.S. Patent No. 5,618,447. In an unshown embodiment, a processor is described as being operatively coupled to a pad conditioning device. The processor selectively controls the pad conditioning device according to the contour measurements from the sensor to change the contour of the polishing surface of the pad. After the pad has been selectively conditioned, the contour of the new polishing surface is preferably re-measured to determine whether the new polishing surface has the desired post-conditioning contour.

One of the drawbacks to the process discussed in U.S. Patent No. 5,618,447 is that the measurement of the pad profile is not preformed in-situ such that the pad conditioning process can be changed during the conditioning process. It is only after the conditioning process is complete that a re-measurement of the pad profile is performed. Hence, since there is no immediate feedback and closed loop control of the conditioning process, it is possible for the pad to be improperly conditioned at any given time.

In view of the foregoing, there is a need for a chemical-mechanical polishing apparatus that provides precise and immediate control of the pad conditioning process.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

These and other needs are met by embodiments of the present invention which provide an arrangement for conditioning a polishing pad of a chemical-mechanical polishing apparatus. The arrangement includes a pad conditioning head and a disk carrier carried on the pad conditioning head. The disk carrier is controllably expandable from the pad conditioning head towards a polishing pad and is retractable towards the pad conditioning head. The disk carrier is configured to receive and carry a polishing pad conditioning disk. The arrangement also includes an arm having first and second distal ends, the pad conditioning head being coupled to the first distal end. An arm support is coupled to the second distal end of the arm. The arm support is configured to carry the pad conditioning head and position the pad conditioning head over a polishing pad. The down force sensor measures the down force exerted by the disk carrier through a conditioning disk against the polishing pad. A controller receives down force measurements from the down force sensor and controls the extension and retraction of the disk carrier to controllably vary the down force exerted by the disk carrier against the polishing pad.

By providing a down force sensor in an arrangement having a disk carrier that is extendable and retractable from the pad conditioning head, the present invention provides an in situ arrangement for controlling the conditioning of the polishing pad. In certain preferred embodiments, the down force sensor is a load cell arranged in the pad conditioning head. The arrangement of the invention produces a precise control of the conditioning since the down force exerted through the disk carrier may be accurately controlled in response to the down force measurements and the movement of the disk carrier relative to the pad conditioning head. The earlier stated needs are also met by other embodiments of the present invention which provide a chemical-mechanical polishing apparatus comprising a platen for supporting a polishing pad, and a wafer carrier for carrying a wafer and positioning the wafer against a polishing pad to polish the wafer. The polishing apparatus also comprises a polishing pad conditioning arrangement for conditioning a polishing pad. This arrangement includes a pad conditioning head and a disk carrier that is carried on the pad conditioning head. The disk carrier is controllably extendable from the pad conditioning head towards a polishing pad and is retractable towards the pad conditioning head. The disk carrier is configured to receive and carry a polishing pad conditioning disk. The conditioning arrangement also includes an arm having first and second distal ends, the pad conditioning head being coupled to the first distal end. An arm support is coupled to the second distal end of the arm, the arm support configured to carry the pad conditioning head and position the pad conditioning head over a polishing pad. A down force sensor measures the down force exerted by the disk carrier through a conditioning disk against the polishing pad. A controller receives down force measurements from the down force sensor and controls the extension and retraction of the disk carrier to controllably vary the down force exerted by the disk carrier against the polishing pad.

The earlier stated needs are also met by other embodiments of the present invention which provide a method of conditioning a polishing pad of a chemical- mechanical polishing apparatus, comprising the steps of: determining a wear condition of a polishing pad, positioning a conditioning head over a polishing surface of the polishing pad through on arm arrangement connected to the apparatus and to which the conditioning head is coupled. A conditioning disk carried by the conditioning head is positioned onto the polishing pad with a controlled down force of the conditioning disk against of the polishing surface. The down force is measured with a sensor located in the conditioning head. The polishing pad is conditioned and a down force of the conditioning disk is controlled during the conditioning of the polishing pad as a function of the determined wear condition of the polishing pad and the measured down force of the conditioning disk on the polishing pad. The earlier stated needs are also met by other embodiments of the present invention which provide i conditioning head for conditioning a polishing pad of a chemical-mechanical polishing apparatus. The conditioning head includes a stationary housing attachable to an arm support and having an opening.. A travel housing is slidably and rotatably coupled within the stationary housing opening so as to be slidable to extend from and retract towards the stationary housing opening. The travel housing is also rotatable within the stationary housing opening. A load cell is coupled between the stationary housing and a travel housing and measures the down force exerted by the travel housing. A disk carrier is coupled to the travel housing to rotate with the travel housing and carry a conditioning disk to condition a polishing pad. The down force exerted by the travel housing is a function of the down force exerted by the disk carrier against the polishing pad.

Additional advantages of the present invention will become readily apparent to those skilled in this art from the following detailed description, wherein embodiments of the present invention are described, simply by way of illustration of the best mode contemplated for carrying out the present invention. As will be realized, the present invention is capable of other and different embodiments, and its several details are capable of modifications and various obvious respects, all without departing from the present invention. Accordingly, the drawings and description are to be regarded as illustrative in nature, and not as restrictive.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Figs. 1A-1E are schematic diagrams illustrating the deposition and etching of a layer on a substrate.

Figures 2A-2C are schematic diagrams illustrating the polishing of a non-planar outer surface of a substrate.

Figure 3 is a schematic perspective view of a chemical-mechanical polishing apparatus.

Figure 4 is a schematic exploded perspective view of the chemical-mechanical polishing apparatus of Figure 3. Figures 5A-5F are schematic top views of the polishing apparatus illustrating the progressive movements of wafers as they are sequentially loaded and polished.

Figure 6 is a schematic side view of a polishing pad.

Figure 7 is a schematic perspective view, with a partial cross-section, of a worn polishing pad.

Figure 8 is a schematic side view of a conditioning apparatus constructed in accordance with embodiments of the present invention.

Figure 9 is a detailed cross-sectional view of the pad conditioning head of the conditioning apparatus of Figure 8. Figure 10 is a flow chart of an exemplary embodiment of the method of the present invention to control the pad conditioning process.

Figure 11 is a top view of a disk with a depiction of zones of the disk.

Figures 12A-12C are schematic graphics illustrating pad profile measurements.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION Figs. 1 A-E illustrate the process of depositing a layer onto a planar surface of a substrate. As shown in Fig. 1A, a substrate 10 might be processed by coating a flat semiconductive silicon wafer 12 with a metal layer 14, such as aluminum. Then, as shown in FIG. IB, a layer of photoresist 16 may be placed on metal layer 14. Photoresist layer 16 can then be exposed to a light image, as discussed in more detail below, producing a patterned photoresist layer 16' shown in FIG. IC. As shown in FIG. ID, after patterned photoresist 5 layer 16' is created, the exposed portions of metal layer 14 are etched to create metal islands 14'. Finally, as shown in FIG. IE, the remaining photoresist is removed.

FIGS. 2A-2B illustrate the difficulty presented by deposition of subsequent layers on a substrate. As shown in FIG. 2A, an insulative layer 20, such as silicon dioxide, may be deposited over metal islands 14'. The outer surface 22 of insulative layer 20 almost exactly replicates the underlying structures of the metal islands, creating a series of peaks and valleys so outer surface 22 is non-planar. An even more complicated outer surface would be generated by depositing and etching multiple layers on an underlying patterned layer.

If, as shown in FIG. 2B, outer surface 22 of substrate 10 is non-planar, then a photoresist layer 25 placed thereon is also non-planar. A photoresist layer is typically patterned by a photolithographic apparatus that focuses a light image onto the photoresist. Such an imaging apparatus typically has a depth of focus of about 0.2 to 0.4 microns for sub-halfmicron feature sizes. If the photoresist layer 25 is sufficiently non-planar, that is, if the maximum height difference h between a peak and valley of outer surface 22 is greater than the depth of focus of the imaging apparatus, then it will be impossible to properly focus the light image onto the entire surface 22. Even if the imaging apparatus can accommodate the non-planarity created by a single underlying patterned layer, after the deposition of a sufficient number of patterned layers, the maximum height difference will exceed the depth of focus.

It may be prohibitively expensive to design new photolithographic devices having an improved depth of a focus. In addition, as the feature size used in integrated circuits becomes smaller, shorter wavelengths of light must be used, resulting in further reduction of the available depth of focus.

A solution, as shown in FIG. 2C, is to planarize the outer surface. Planarization wears away the outer surface, whether metal, semiconductive, or insulative, to form a substantially smooth, flat outer surface 22. As such, the photolithographic apparatus can then be properly focused. Planarization could be performed only when necessary to prevent the peak-to-valley difference from exceeding the depth of focus, or planarization could be performed each time a new layer is deposited over a patterned layer.

Polishing may be performed on metallic, semiconductive, or insulative layers. The particular reactive agents, abrasive particles, and catalysts will differ depending on the surface being polished. The present invention is applicable to polishing of any of the above layers.

As shown in FIG. 3, a chemical-mechanical polishing system according to the present invention includes a loading apparatus 60 adjacent to a polishing apparatus 80. Loading apparatus 60 includes a rotatable, extendable arm 62 hanging from an overhead track 64. In the figure, overhead track 64 has been partially cut-away to more clearly show polishing apparatus 80. Arm 62 ends in a wrist assembly 66 which includes a blade 67 with a vacuum port and a cassette claw 68.

Substrates 10 are brought to polishing system 50 in a cassette 70 and placed on a holding station 72 or directly into a tub 74. Cassette claw 68 on arm 64 may be used to grasp cassette 70 and move it from holding station 72 to tub 74. Tub 74 is filled with a liquid bath 75, such as deionized water. Blade 67 fastens to an individual substrate from cassette 70 in tub 74 by vacuum suction, removes the substrate from cassette 70, and loads the substrate into polishing apparatus 80. Once polishing apparatus 80 has completed polishing the substrate, blade 67 returns the substrate to the same cassette 70 or to a different one. Once all of the substrates in cassette 70 are polished, claw 68 may remove cassette 70 from tub 74 and return the cassette to holding station 72.

Polishing apparatus 80 includes a lower machine base 82 with a table top 83 mounted thereon and removable upper outer cover (not shown). As best seen in FIG. 4, table top 83 supports a series of polishing stations 100a, 100b and 100c, and a transfer station 105. Transfer station 105 forms a generally square arrangement with the three polishing stations 100a, 100b and 100c. Transfer station 105 serves multiple functions of receiving individual substrates 10 from loading apparatus 60, washing the substrates, loading the substrates into carrier heads (to be described below), receiving the substrates from the carrier heads, washing the substrates again, and finally transferring the substrates back to loading apparatus 60 which returns the substrates to the cassette.

Each polishing station 100a, 100b, or 100c includes a rotatable platen 1 10 on which is placed a polishing pad 120. Each polishing station 100a, 100b and 100c may further include an associated pad conditioner apparatus 130. Each pad conditioner apparatus 130 has a rotatable arm 132 holding an independently rotating conditioner head 134 and an associated washing basin 136. The conditioner apparatus maintains the condition of the polishing pad so it will effectively polish any substrate pressed against it while it is rotating. Two or more intermediate washing stations 140a and 140b are positioned between neighboring polishing stations 100a, 100b, 100c and transfer station 105. The washing stations rinse the substrates as they pass from one polishing station to another.

A rotatable multi-head carousel 150 is positioned above lower machine base 82. Carousel 150 is supported oy a center post 152 and rotated thereon about a carousel axis 154 by a carousel motor assembly located within base 82. Center post 152 supports a carousel support plate 156 and a cover 158.

Multi-head carousel 150 includes four carrier head systems 160a, 160b, 160c, and 160d. Three of the carrier head systems receive and hold a substrate, and polish it by pressing it against the polishing pad 120 on platen 110 of polishing stations 100a, 100b and 100c. One of the carrier head systems receives substrates from and delivers substrates to transfer station 105.

In the preferred embodiment, the four carrier head systems 160a-160d are mounted on carousel support plate 156 at equal angular intervals about carousel axis

154. Center post 152 supports carousel support plate 156 and allows the carousel motor to rotate the carousel support plate 156 and to orbit the carrier head systems 160a-160d, and the substrates attached thereto, about carousel axis 154.

Each carrier head system 160a-160d includes a polishing or carrier head ISO. Each carrier head ISO independently rotates about its own axis, and independently laterally oscillates in a radial slot 182 formed in support plate 156. A carrier drive shaft 184 connects a carrier head rotation motor 186 to carrier head 180 (shown by the removal of one-quarter of cover 158). There is one carrier drive shaft and motor for each head.

The substrates attached to the bottom of carrier heads 180 may be raised or lowered by the polishing head systems 160a-160d. An advantage of the overall carousel system is that only a short vertical stroke is required of the polishing head systems to accept substrates, and position them for polishing and washing. An input control signal (e.g., a pneumatic, hydraulic, or electrical signal), causes expansion or contraction of carrier head 180 of the polishing head systems in order to accommodate any required vertical stroke. Specifically, the input control signal causes a lower carrier member having a wafer receiving recess to move vertically relative to a stationary upper carrier member. During actual polishing, three of the carrier heads, e.g., those of polishing head systems 160a- 160c, are positioned at and above respective polishing stations I 00a- 1 00c. Each rotatable platen 110 supports a polishing pad 120 with a top surface which is wetted with an abrasive slurry. Carrier head 180 lowers a substrate to contact polishing pad 120, and the abrasive slurry acts as the media for both chemically and mechanically polishing the substrate or wafer.

After each substrate is polished, polishing pad 120 is conditioned by conditioning apparatus 130. Arm 132 sweeps conditioner head 134 across polishing pad 120 in an oscillatory motion generally between the center of polishing pad 120 and its perimeter. Conditioner head 134 includes an abrasive surface, such as a nickel-coated diamond surface. The abrasive surface of conditioner head 134 is pressed against rotating polishing pad 120 to abrade and condition the pad. In use, the polishing head 180, for example, that of the fourth carrier head system

160d, is initially positioned above the wafer transfer station 105. When the carousel 150 is rotated, it positions different carrier head systems 160a, 160b, 160c, and 160d over the polishing stations 100a, 100b and 100c, and the transfer station 105. The carousel 150 allows each polishing head system to be sequentially located, first over the transfer station 105, and then over one or more of the polishing stations lOOa-lOOc, and then back to the transfer station 105.

FIGS. 5A-5F show the carousel 150 and its movement with respect to the insertion of a substrate such as a wafer (W) and subsequent movement of carrier head systems 160a-160d. As shown in FIG. 5 A, a first wafer W#l is loaded from loading apparatus 60 into transfer station 105, where the wafer is washed and then loaded into a carrier head 180, e.g., that of a first carrier head system 160a. Carousel 150 is then rotated counter-clockwise on supporting center post 152 so that, as shown in FIG. 5B, first carrier head system 160a with wafer W# 1 is positioned at the first polishing station 10a, which performs a first polish of wafer W#l . While first polishing station 100a is polishing wafer W#l, a second wafer W#2 is loaded from loading apparatus 60 to transfer station 105 and from there to a second carrier head system 160b, now positioned over transfer station 105. Then carousel 150 is again rotated counter-clockwise by 90 degrees so that, as shown in FIG. 5C, first wafer W#l is positioned over second polishing station 100b and second wafer W#2 is positioned over first polishing station 100a. A third carrier head system 160c is positioned over transfer station 105, from which it receives a third wafer W#3 from loading system 60. In a preferred embodiment, during the stage shown in FIG. 5C, wafer W#l at second polishing station 100b is polished with a slurry of finer grit than wafer W#l at the first polishing station 100a. In the next stage, as illustrated by FIG. 5D, carousel 150 is again rotated counter-clockwise by 90 degrees so as to position wafer W#l over third polishing station 100c, wafer W#2 over second polishing station 100b, and wafer W#3 over first polishing station 100a, while a fourth carrier head system 160d receives a fourth wafer W#4 from loading apparatus 60. The polishing at third polishing station 100c is presumed to be even finer than that of second polishing station 100b. After the completion of this stage, carousel 150 is again rotated. However, rather than rotating it counter-clockwise by 90 degrees, carousel 150 is rotated clockwise by 270 degrees. By avoiding continuous rotation in one direction, carousel 150 may use simple flexible fluid and electrical connections rather than complex rotary couplings. The rotation, as shown in FIG. 5E, places wafer W#4 over transfer station 105, wafer W#2 over third polishing station 100c, wafer W#3 over second polishing station 100b, and wafer W#4 over first polishing station 100a. While wafers W#l-W#3 are being polished, wafer W#l is washed at transfer station 105 and returned from carrier head system 160a to loading apparatus 60. Finally, as illustrated by FIG. 5F, a fifth wafer W#5 is loaded into first carrier head system 160a. After this stage, the process is repeated. As shown in FIG. 6, a carrier head system, such as system 160a, lowers substrate

10 to engage a polishing station, such as polishing station 100a. As noted, each polishing station includes a rigid platen 110 supporting a polishing pad 120. If substrate 10 is an eight-inch (200 mm) diameter disk, then platen 110 and polishing pad 120 will be about twenty inches in diameter. Platen 1 10 is preferably a rotatable aluminum or stainless steel plate connected by stainless steel platen drive shaft (not shown) to a platen drive motor (not shown). For most polishing processes, the drive motor rotates platen 120 at thirty to two-hundred revolutions per minute, although lower or higher rotational speeds may be used.

Polishing pad 120 is a hard composite material with a roughened surface 122. Polishing pad 120 may have a fifty mil thick hard upper layer 124 and a fifty mil thick softer lower layer 126. Upper layer 124 is preferably a material composed of polyurethane mixed with other fillers. Lower layer 126 is preferably a material composed of compressed felt fibers leached with urethane. A common two-layer polishing pad, with the upper layer composed of IC-1000 and the lower layer composed of SUBA-4, is available from Rodel, Inc., located in Newark, Del. (IC-1000 and SUBA-4 are product names of Rodel, Inc.). In one embodiment, polishing pad 120 is attached to platen 110 by a pressure-sensitive adhesive layer 128.

Each carrier head system includes a rotatable carrier head. The carrier head holds substrate 10 with the top surface 22 pressed face down against outer surface 122 of polishing pad 120. For the main polishing step, usually performed at station 100a, carrier head 180 applies a force of approximately four to ten pounds per square inch (psi) to substrate 10. At subsequent stations, carried head 180 may apply more or less force. For example, for a final polishing step, usually performed at station 100c, carrier head 180 applies about three psi. Carrier drive motor 186 (see FIG. 4) rotates carrier head 180 at about thirty to two-hundred revolutions per minute. In a preferred embodiment, platen 110 and carrier head 180 rotate at substantially the same rate.

A slurry 190 containing a reactive agent (e.g., deionized water for oxide polishing), abrasive particles (e.g., silicon dioxide for oxide polishing) and a chemically reactive catalyzer (e.g., potassium hydroxide for oxide polishing), is supplied to the surface of polishing pad 120 by a slurry supply tube 195. Sufficient slurry is provided to cover and wet the entire polishing pad 120.

Chemical-mechanical polishing is a fairly complex process, and differs from simple wet sanding. In a polishing process the reactive agent in slurry 190 reacts with the surface 22 of top layer 20, which may be a conductive, semiconductive, or insulative layer, and with the abrasive particles to form reactive sites. The interaction of the polishing pad, abrasive particles, and reactive agent with the substrate results in polishing.

As mentioned aboΛ e, the surface of polishing pad 120 becomes "glazed" during the chemical mechanical polishing process. This glazing is primarily caused by pressure and heat applied to the portion of the pad beneath the carrier head. The heat (about 70°C for IC-1000) causes the polishing pad to lose its rigidity and flow so that, under pressure, the peaks flatten out and the depressions fill up. A glazed polishing pad has a lower coefficient of friction, and thus a substantially lower polishing rate, than a "fresh" or un-glazed pad. As the polishing rate drops, the time required to polish a substrate increases, and the throughput of substrates through the polishing apparatus falls. In addition, because the polishing pad becomes slightly more glazed after each successive polishing operation, each successive substrate may be polished to a slightly different extent. Therefore, the polishing pad must be periodically conditioned to provide a consistently rough pad surface. Conditioning deforms the surface of the polishing pad so that it is no longer planar. The conditioning process physically abrades surface 122 of polishing pad 120 to restore its roughness (see FIG. 7). This abrasion "wears" the pad; i.e., it removes material from the surface of the polishing pad. The wear on the polishing pad is often non-uniform. This is because conditioning apparatus 130 (see FIG. 3) may remove more material from polishing pad 120 in some regions than in others.

The non-uniform thickness of the pad affects the substrate polishing rate. When surface 22 of substrate 10 (see FIG. 6) is pushed against surface 122 of polishing pad 120, the thinner areas of the polishing pad are compressed less, and therefore exert less pressure on substrate 10. Consequently, the thinner areas of the polishing pad will polish a substrate at a slower rate than the thicker areas. Therefore, the non-uniform thickness of a polishing pad may generate a non-uniform substrate outer layer.

An unused polishing pad usually has a flat surface. However, as shown schematically by FIG. 7, a used polishing pad 120 has a thickness 'T' that varies across the diameter "d" of the polishing pad. A polishing pad typically wears more in a ring area 121 than at the center 123 or edge 125 of the polishing pad. The radius of ring 121 is about half the radius "R" of the polishing pad.

Conditioning apparatus 130 eventually wears away polishing pad 120 until it is too thin to effectively polish. However, the polishing pad is usually discarded, due to non-uniformities, long before it is worn away. A typical polishing pad has a lifetime of about three-hundred and fifty wafers, assuming the pad is conditioned after each wafer is processed.

Because the polishing pad rotates, the conditioning and polishing processes tend to create a radially symmetric wear pattern, as shown in FIG. 7. Since the thickness of the pad is radially symmetric, the operator of a polishing apparatus may evaluate a conditioning process by measuring the pad profile, which is the pad thickness along a diameter. The operator can measure the profile after a number n, e.g., one to twenty, conditioning operations to determine which parts of the pad have degraded the most and whether the wear rate has changed. In prior art methods, an operator tries to find the "best" conditioning process, i . e., the conditioning process that creates the least non-uniformity in pad thickness, by comparing the pad profiles of polishing pads subjected to different conditioning processes.

In addition, an operator can compensate for non-planarity or non-uniformity in the polishing pad by appropriately selecting polishing processing parameters, such as the pressure applied to the substrate, the polishing pad rotation rate, the substrate rotation rate, and the dwell time, which is the duration that a substrate remains at a specific pad location. For example, by selectively sweeping a substrate over both thick and thin regions of the pad, a substrate outer layer may be substantially evenly polished.

Alternately, an operator always has the option of simply discarding the polishing pad if the variation in thickness across its surface 122 exceeds some predetermined value.

Although it is possible for an operator to evaluate a conditioning process by measuring the pad profile, as described above, the present invention provides an automatic measuring process and closed loop control of the pad conditioning process.

This increases the throughput from the wafers through the chemical-mechanical polishing process, and reduces the need for human intervention and tweaking of the conditioning process.

Figure 8 is a schematic side view of a conditioning apparatus 130 constructed in accordance with embodiments of the present invention. One of the significant advantages of the disk conditioning apparatus 130 of the invention is provided by the location of the down force sensor that senses the down force pressure exerted on the polishing pad. In this embodiment, the down force sensor is located within the pad conditioning head 134. A precise down force measurement is achieved as the down force sensor is positioned near the site where the down force is being exerted on the polishing pad. The down force sensor may be used with existing designs that employ pad conditioning heads in which the disk carrier is extendable from the pad conditioning head.

The conditioning apparatus 130 of the present invention includes an arm support 300 that is located remotely from the polishing pad 120. For example, the arm support 300 may be attached to the tabletop 83 of the machine base 82. However, this connection is exemplary only as the arm support 300 may be affixed to another stationary object. The connection of the arm support 300 to the table top 83 is depicted in Figures 3 and 4.

The arm support 300 rotatably and vertically supports arm 132 on which conditioning head 134 is mounted. The arm support 300 includes a rotary actuator 302 that rotates in the arm 132 in the direction indicated by arrow 303. By rotating the arm 132, the conditioning head 134 may be moved to any radial location on the polishing pad 120. Since polishing pad 120 rotates while conditioned, is only necessary for the arm 132 to be swung in an amount equal to the radius of the polishing pad 120.

The conditioning head 134 carries a disk carrier 320 that extends from and retracts towards the polishing pad 120. This movement is in a direction 326 that is normal to the plane of the polishing pad 120. In addition to being extendable and retractable, the disk carrier 320 is rotatable, as indicated by arrow 324. A conditioning disk 322 is carried by the disk carrier 320. For conditioning the polishing pad surface 122 of the polishing pad 120, the arm 132 is swung over the polishing pad 120. The disk carrier 320 is extended so that the conditioning disk 322 touches the polishing pad surface 122 with a controlled amount of down force. The disk carrier 320 is rotated, causing the conditioning of the polishing pad surface 122 by the conditioning disk 322. Additionally, the conditioning disk 322 may be swung back and forth by the arm 132 over the polishing pad surface 122 as the conditioning disk 322 is also rotated. A controller 330 controls the operation of the conditioning apparatus 130. For example, the controller 330 controls the swinging action of the arm 132 through the arm support 300 and rotary actuator 302. The controller 330 also controls the rotational speed of the disk carrier 320 and the amount of down force applied in the direction 326 of the conditioning disk 322 against the polishing pad surface 122. The arm 132 may also have a displacement sensor 328 mounted on it to measure precisely the distance between the sensor 328 and the polishing pad surface 122. Changes in the distance between the sensor 328 and the polishing pad surface 122 provide a measurement of the wear of the polishing pad 120. The controller 330 receives signals from the sensor 328 and the down force sensor (not shown in Figure 8) and controls the conditioning process based on these feedback signals. In preferred embodiments of the present invention, the sensor 328 is a laser displacement sensor. Other types of sensors, such as a contact displacement sensor, may be used.

A cross-section of a pad conditioning head 134 constructed in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention is depicted in Figure 9. The pad conditioning head 134 is coupled to the arm 132 and includes a stationary housing 342 affixed to the end of the arm 132. A travel housing 340 is positioned within an opening 380 in the stationary housing 342. The travel housing 340 is able to extend from and retract into the opening 380 in the stationary housing 342. The opening 380 is also sized to allow the travel housing 340 to rotate within the opening 380. Rotary bearings 302 between the stationary housing 342 and the outer clamp 372 permit rotation of the travel housing 340 and disk carrier 322.

The travel housing 340 is drivingly coupled to a drive pulley 346 through a key 382, ball sleeve 384, a travel shaft 360, and a travel shaft housing 358. The pulley 346 is driven by a pulley belt (not shown) located in the arm 132. The travel shaft housing 358 is firmly connected to an outer clamp 372. A diaphragm 352 is connected between the travel housing 340 and the travel shaft housing 358. The diaphragm 352 provides a barrier to slurry that may enter the pad conditioning head 134 through the opening 380 from reaching other internal components. A purge fitting 356, connected to air supply tube 364, provides purge air when needed to purge the pad conditioning head 134 of slurry particles.

The extension and retraction of the travel housing 340 is achieved, in the preferred embodiment, by pneumatics. An air chamber rotary fitting 354 is coupled to the top of the travel shaft housing 358. Air is supplied into a chamber 384 formed between the travel housing 340 and the end of the travel shaft 360. Control of the air pressure within the chamber 384 causes the travel housing 340 to be vertically positioned within the opening 380.

The disk carrier 322 carries a pad conditioning disk (not shown) and is attached to the end of the travel housing 340 to rotate with the travel housing 340. The disk carrier 322 is attached to the travel housing 340 by a gimbal base 366. A seal 368 covers the top of the gimbal base 366 and is held in place by a seal clamp 370.

A bearing arrangement 348 is attached to the top of a rotating portion within the pad conditioning head 134. In the illustrated embodiment, the bearing arrangement 348 is attached to the travel shaft housing 358. The bearing arrangement 348 includes a first track 374 located on the travel shaft housing 358. A second track 376 is located above the first track 374, with bearings 378 between the two tracks.

The down force sensor in the exemplary embodiment of Figure 9 is formed by a load cell 350 attached between the stationary housing 342 of the pad conditioning head 134 and the bearing arrangement 348. In particular, one component of the load cell 350 is attached to the top of the second track 376, while the other component is coupled to the top of the arm 132. The down force exerted by the disk carrier 320 and the conditioning disk 322 against the polishing pad 120 is measured by this load cell 350. The measurement is derived from the measurements of the force in the bearing arrangement 348. The measurements of the down force of the load cell 350 are provided to the controller 330. The controller 330 uses these down force measurements, in conjunction with the pad wear measurements provided by the displacement sensor 328, to control the amount of do vn force exerted by the disk carrier 320. The down force may be varied, along with the rotational speed of the disk carrier 320, and the sweep rate of the arm 132 across the polishing pad 120. These actions have the effect of changing the conditioning of the polishing pad 120. Since the measurements and the control of the down force are provided at the pad conditioning head itself, a precise adjustment of the pad conditioning process may be achieved.

Although the load cell 350 is depicted in Figure 9 as being located on the bearing arrangement 348, in other embodiments the load cell 350 is arranged in other locations in the pad conditioning head 134. For example, the load cell 350 may be located on the travel shaft housing 358.

Exemplary values of the rotational speed of the disk carrier 320 are between 0- 150 rpm in preferred embodiments of the invention. The disk carrier 320 may be adjusted us to exert a down force of between approximately 0-20 Ibsf. The pressure applied by the disk carrier 320 by the conditioning disk 322 on the polishing pad 120 is adjustable between approximately 0-15 psi.

Figure 10 is a flow chart of the method of the present invention in accordance with certain embodiments of the invention. Following the polishing of the wafer, the polishing pad conditioning process is started. The conditioning head 134 is positioned over the polishing pad 120, in step 400. This involves the control of the rotary actuator 302 by the controller 330 to rotate the arm 132 in the rotary direction 303 to the desired radial position over the polishing pad 120.

In step 402, travel housing 340 is extended from the conditioning head 134 to place the conditioning disk 322 against the polishing surface 122 of the polishing pad 120. The conditioning disk 322 exerts a controlled down force against the polishing pad 120. The control of the down force is achieved by the controller 330 operating to extend or retract the travel housing 340. A precise controlling of the down force is readily achievable since the load cell 350 provides down force measurements as feedback to the controller 330 as the vertical position of the arm 132 is changed.

The wear condition of the pad 120 is then determined in travel housing 340 by step 404. As described earlier, this may be achieved through measurements of the position of the arm 132 as sensed by the displacement sensor 328. The measurements are provided to the controller 330 as feedback signals. The down force is continuously measured in step 406 and the pad is conditioned in step 408. This involves the conditioning disk 322 interacting with the polishing surface 122 to configure the polishing surface 122 to a desirable shape.

It is then determined in step 410 whether the pad conditioning is completed. This determination may be achieved by measuring the wear condition of the pad 404 through the sensor measurements, which provide indications of the wear condition of the polishing pad 120. If the pad conditioning is not complete, the conditioning continues and if necessary, the down force is varied as a function of the determined wear condition of the polishing pad 120 and the measured down force of the conditioning disk 322 on the polishing pad 120. This is depicted in step 412. The conditioning then continues until the pad conditioning process is complete, as determined in step 410. Once complete, the polishing of wafers may continue. Alternatively, although not explicitly depicted, the conditioning of pad 120 is carried out during the polishing of a wafer.

A schematic depiction of the top view of a polishing pad 120 is provided in Figure 1 1. The polishing pad 120 is logically provided into radial zones. The number of zones may vary, e.g. between 5 and 20 zones. In the illustrated embodiment, the pad 20 is divided into 5 zones. Assume that the pad profiling performed according to the above- described method indicates that the wear of the polishing pad in zone 4 is greater than the wear in zones 1-3 and 5. Also assume that even wear of the polishing pad 120 throughout the five zones is desirable. The relative down force of the conditioning disk 322 on the polishing pad 120 over the different zones may be changed from an equal amount over each zone to an amount such that the down force is increased over zone 4. This would cause zone 4 to be worn by the conditioning apparatus 130 at a faster rate than zones 1-3 and zone 5. The change in the down force has the effect of producing a more evenly worn surface of the polishing pad 120.

Examples of a base line scan and a measurement scan and a resulting pad profile are illustrated in Figures 12A-12B, in which the position along a radial segment of a polishing pad 120 is on the x-axis and the center is on the y-axis. An example of a resulting pad profile is illustrated in Figure 12C, in which the position along the radial segment is on the x-axis and the change in pad thickness is on the y-axis. As shown in Figure 12A, if the movement of the conditioning disk 322 is not exactly parallel to the surface of the fresh polishing pad 120, then as the conditioning disk 322 traverses the polishing pad 120 the linear position sensor 308 will generate a linear sloped response 450 as the arm 132 is moved to maintain a zero down force measurement. As shown in Figure 12B, if a used polishing pad is on the platen, the linear position sensor 308 will generate a non-linear response 455. To determine the thickness of the pad as a function of distance along the radial segment, response 450 is subtracted from response 455 to create a pad profile 460. In this example, pad profile 460 shows the polishing pad 120 is thinnest in a ring located at about half the radius of the polishing pad (see Figure 7).

The present invention provides an apparatus and method for improving the conditioning of a polishing pad of a chemical-mechanical polishing apparatus. This is achieved, in part, by locating the sensor that senses the amount of force being applied to the pad in a location that is near the polishing pad while providing a precise measurement of the required conditioning parameters.

Although the present invention has been described and illustrated in detail, it is to be clearly understood that same as by way of illustration and example only and is not to be taken by way of limitation, the scope of the present invention being limited only by the terms of the appended claims.

Claims

What is Claimed Is:
1. A system for conditioning a polishing pad of a chemical-mechanical polishing apparatus, comprising:
a pad conditioning head;
a disk carrier carried on the pad conditioning head and controllably extendable from the pad conditioning head towards a polishing pad and retractable towards the pad conditioning head, the disk carrier configured to receive and carry a polishing pad conditioning disk;
an arm having first and second distal ends, the pad conditioning head being coupled to the first distal end;
an arm support coupled to the second distal end of the arm, the arm support configured to carry the pad conditioning head and position the pad conditioning head over a polishing pad;
a down force sensor that measures the down force exerted by the disk carrier through a conditioning disk against the polishing pad; and
a controller that receives down force measurements from the down force sensor and controls the extension and retraction of the disk carrier to controllably vary the down force exerted by the disk carrier against the polishing pad.
2. The system of claim 1 , further comprising a polishing pad wear measurement device coupled to the controller to provide the controller with polishing pad wear measurements.
3. The system Df claim 2, wherein the controller is configured to control the disk carrier to vary the dovn force as a function of the polishing pad wear measurements and the down force measurements.
4. The system of claim 3, wherein the controller is configured to receive down force measurements and control extension and retraction of the disk carrier during conditioning of the polishing pad.
5. The system of claim 4, wherein the arm has a major longitudinal axis that is parallel to the plane of the polishing pad, the arm support has a major longitudinal axis that is normal to the plane of the polishing pad, and the pad conditioning head has a major axis that is normal to the plane of the polishing pad.
6. The system of claim 5, wherein the down force sensor includes a load cell that measures the force of the disk carrier in a direction normal to the plane of the polishing pad.
7. The system of claim 1, wherein the pad conditioning head includes a stationary housing fixed to the arm and a travel housing slidably received within the stationary housing, the disk carrier being attached to one end of the travel housing.
8. The system of claim 7, wherein the travel housing is rotatable within the stationary housing.
9. The system of claim 8, wherein the down force sensor includes a load cell that measures the force of the disk carrier in a direction normal to the plane of the polishing pad.
10. The system of claim 9, wherein the load cell is attached between the stationary housing and the travel housing.
11. The system of claim 10, further comprising a bearing assembly on the travel housing, the load cell being attached between the bearing assembly and the stationary housing, and measuring the force between the bearing assembly and the stationary housing to measure the down force of the disk carrier.
12. The system of claim 1 1, wherein the bearing assembly includes a first track attached to the travel housing to rotate with the travel housing and a second track attached to the stationary housing, with bearings therebetween, the load cell being attached to the second track.
13. A chemical-mechanical polishing apparatus comprising: a platen for supporting a polishing pad; a wafer carrier for carrying a wafer and positioning the wafer against a polishing pad to polish the wafer; and the polishing pad conditioning arrangement for conditioning a polishing pad, the conditioning arrangement including: a pad conditioning head; a disk carrier carried on the pad conditioning head and controllably extendable from the pad conditioning head towards a polishing pad and retractable towards the pad conditioning head, the disk carrier configured to receive and carry a polishing pad conditioning disk; an arm having first and second distal ends, the pad conditioning head being coupled to the first distal end; an arm support coupled to the second distal end of the arm, the arm support configured to carry the pad conditioning head and position the pad conditioning head over a polishing pad; a down force sensor that measures the down force exerted by the disk carrier through a conditioning disk against the polishing pad; and a controller that receives down force measurements from the down force sensor and controls the extension and retraction of the disk carrier to controllably vary the down force exerted by the disk carrier against the polishing pad.
14. The apparatus of claim 13, further comprising a polishing pad wear measurement device coupled to the controller to provide the controller with polishing pad wear measurements.
15. The apparatus of claim 14, wherein a controller is configured to control the disk carrier to vary the down force as a function of the polishing pad wear measurements and the down force measurements.
16. The apparatus of claim 15, wherein the controller is configured to receive a down force measurements and control extension and retraction of the disk carrier during conditioning of the polishing pad.
17. The apparatus of claim 16, wherein the arm has a major longitudinal axis that is parallel to the plane of the polishing pad, the arm support has a major longitudinal axis that is normal to the plane of the polishing pad, and the pad conditioning head has a major axis that is normal to the plane of the polishing pad.
18. The apparatus of claim 17, wherein the down force sensor includes a load cell that measures the force of the disk carrier in a direction normal to the plane of the polishing pad.
19. The apparatus of claim 18, wherein the pad conditioning head includes a stationary housing fixed to the arm and a travel housing slidably received within the stationary housing, the disk carrier being attached to one end of the travel housing.
20. The apparatus of claim 19, wherein the travel housing is rotatable within the stationary housing.
21. The apparatus of claim 20, wherein the down force sensor includes a load cell that measures the force of the disk carrier in a direction normal to the plane of the polishing pad.
22. The apparatus of claim 21, wherein the load cell is attached between the stationary housing and the travel housing.
23. The apparatus of claim 22, further comprising a bearing assembly on the travel housing, the load cell being attached between the bearing assembly and the stationary housing, and measuring the force between the bearing assembly and the stationary housing to measure the down force of the disk carrier.
24. The apparatus of claim 23, wherein the bearing assembly includes a first track attached to the travel housing to rotate with the travel housing and a second track attached to the stationary housing, with bearings therebetween, the load cell being attached to the second track.
25. The method of conditioning a polishing pad of a chemical-mechanical polishing apparatus, comprising the steps of: determining a wear condition of a polishing pad; positioning a conditioning head over a polishing surface of the polishing pad through an arm arrangement connected to the apparatus and to which the conditioning head is coupled; positioning a conditioning disk carried by the conditioning head onto the polishing pad with a controlled the down force of the conditioning disk against the polishing surface, including measuring the down force with a sensor located in the conditioning head; conditioning the polishing pad; and controlling the down force of the conditioning disk during the conditioning of the polishing pad as a function of the determined wear condition of the polishing pad and the measured down force of the conditioning disk on the polishing pad.
26. The method of claim 25, wherein the measuring of the down force is performed during the conditioning of the polishing pad.
27. The method of claim 26. wherein the determining of the wear condition is performed during the condi ioning of the polishing pad.
28. The method of claim 27, wherein the controlling of the down force is performed by a computer controller that receives down force measurements and wear condition measurements as feedback and performs the controlling of the down force in response to the feedback.
29. A conditioning head for conditioning a polishing pad of a chemical- mechanical polishing apparatus, comprising: a stationary housing attachable to an arm support and having an opening; a travel housing slidably and rotatably coupled within the stationary housing opening so as to be slidable to extend from and retract towards the stationary housing opening, and rotatable within the stationary housing opening; a load cell coupled between the stationary housing and the travel housing that measures the down force exerted by the travel housing; and a disk carrier coupled to the travel housing to rotate with the travel housing and carry a conditioning disk to condition a polishing pad, wherein the down force exerted by the travel housing is a function of the down force exerted by the disk carrier against the polishing pad.
30. The conditioning head of claim 29, wherein the travel housing includes a driving element that rotates in the travel housing within the stationary housing, the head further including a bearing arrangement coupled between the driving element and the load cell.
31. The conditioning head of claim 30, wherein the driving element is a pulley and the bearing arrangement includes a first track attached to the pulley and a second track attached to the load cell such that the first track rotates with the pulley and the second track is stationary.
32. The conditioning head of claim 31 , wherein the bearing arrangement includes bearings between the first and second tracks, the load cell measuring the down force exerted by the disk carrier through the bearings.
PCT/US2001/004359 2000-02-10 2001-02-09 Method and apparatus for controlling a pad conditioning process of a chemical-mechanical polishing apparatus WO2001058644A1 (en)

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WO2003043780A2 (en) * 2001-11-20 2003-05-30 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Method for polishing a substrate surface
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WO2002002277A2 (en) * 2000-06-30 2002-01-10 Lam Research Corporation A conditioning mechanism in a chemical mechanical polishing apparatus for semiconductor wafers
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