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Browse Prior Art Database

Particulate-Free Vacuum Handler and Transfer System

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000035857D
Original Publication Date: 1989-Aug-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Jan-28
Document File: 3 page(s) / 61K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Hickey, TR: AUTHOR

Abstract

By performing all transfer and handling operations in a vacuum environment and by having no rubbing, sliding, or gripping motions inside the evacuated region, particulate-free transfer of parts, e.g., semiconductor wafers, is achieved.

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Particulate-Free Vacuum Handler and Transfer System

By performing all transfer and handling operations in a vacuum environment and by having no rubbing, sliding, or gripping motions inside the evacuated region, particulate-free transfer of parts, e.g., semiconductor wafers, is achieved.

Fig. 1 is a top cross section view of a transfer system comprised of five processor chambers 2,4,6,8,10, a sender elevator chamber 12 and a receiver elevator chamber 14. Each of the foregoing chambers 2 through 14 may be individually evacuated, and each has an isolation valve between it and the main vacuum chamber wall 16. Circular parts W2 and W4 are on individually rotatable transfer arms 18 and 20 inside the evacuated chamber. A rotatable shaft solidly affixed to transfer arm 18 goes to a FERROFLUIDIC* vacuum feedthrough (not shown) on one end of rotatable main beam 22. Transfer arm 20 is similarly affixed to and supported by a shaft going to a second ferrofluidic vacuum feedthrough on the other end of main beam 22. The vacuum feedthroughs are constructed to have no rubbing or sliding surfaces on the vacuum (transfer arm) side. Support and servo rotary positioning of the shafts is provided in the interior of main beam 22 which is maintained at atmospheric pressure. Main beam 22 is affixed to and supported on a large shaft and ferrofluidic feedthrough such that its support and rotary positioning equipment is also external to the vacuum environment and has no rubbing or sliding parts in the evacuated region.

The chambers 2 through 14 provide precision vertical motion and positioning of parts. Appropriate vacuum feedthroughs for linear motion, e.g., bellows, are provided to exclude lift mechanisms and vertical positioning controls from the vacuum environment. Sender and receiver chambers 12 and 14 accommodate a cassette or parts carrier on an elevator stage capable of vertical displacement the full height of the cassette. Process chambers, e.g., 2 through 10, are tailored to the needs of specific processors but always present and accept parts at a precise location in the horizontal plane and provide the vertical precision movement of parts necessary to loading or unloading either transfer arm.

Each chamber 2 through 14 has a gate isolation valve 24 which, when open, permits a transfer arm with a part resting on it to be moved through it. By using a bellows around the driving and closing mechanism of valves 24, the vacuum integrity of the system is maintained. Valves 24 have the added feature that they may be sealed against either an inner or outer sealing surface....