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Ergonomic Tool For Adjusting The Alignment of Laser Optics Modules

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000146931D
Publication Date: 2007-Feb-27
Document File: 1 page(s) / 26K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Related People

William C. Cray: ATTORNEY

Abstract

Background: Modern lasers such as the high-power excimer lasers used in photolithography include numerous optical modules which must be aligned relative to one another. This alignment must be maintained over the life of the laser, and as a consequence, often requires adjustment in the field. Typically, each module is provided with one or more so-called thru-wall adjusters which allow optics located inside sealed housings to be adjusted externally. As a further complication, the entire laser is typically enclosed behind a plexi-glass shield which prevents laser gas from being released into the nearby environment. Small passageways in the shield allow a technician to reach behind the shield and manipulate the thru-wall adjusters. Heretofore, this manipulation has been performed using a small hand tool such as an allen wrench. Oftentimes, the technician must hold the allen wrench with one hand while making a visual observation of another portion of the laser at a significant distance from the shield passageway. Drawbacks of using a common hand tool in this application include: the hand tool must be constantly held or it may fall from the thru-wall adjuster, small hand tools do not provide an adequate grip surface which may be useful during "awkward" alignments, and the small hand tools do not provide a way to "clock" the adjustment. INVENTION: As shown in the Figure, an ergonomic tool for adjusting the alignment of laser optics modules may be of a generally cylindrical construction having a textured outer surface, e.g. knurled, to improve grip. A bit, e.g. hex bit may be attached to the cylinder and using a pair of set screws, allowing the for easy and inexpensive bit replacement. One end of the tool may be adapted relative to the thru-wall adjuster to allow the tool to self-center on the thru-wall adjuster and maintain its position on the thru-wall adjuster without support from the technician. The tool can include a clocking mark to allow the technician to determine an adjustment rotation relative to the tool's initial position.

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TITLE:  Ergonomic Tool for Adjusting the Alignment of Laser Optics Modules

Background:  Modern lasers such as the high-power excimer lasers used in photolithography include numerous optical modules which must be aligned relative to one another.  This alignment must be maintained over the life of the laser, and as a consequence, often requires adjustment in the field.  Typically, each module is provided with one or more so-called thru-wall adjusters which allow optics located inside sealed housings to be adjusted externally.  As a further complication, the entire laser is typically enclosed behind a plexi-glass shield which prevents laser gas from being released into the  nearby environment.  Small passageways in the shield allow a technician to reach behind the shield and manipulate the thru-wall adjusters.  Heretofore, this manipulation has been performed using a small hand tool such as an allen wrench.  Oftentimes, the technician must hold the allen wrench with one hand while making a visual observation of another portion of the laser at a significant distance from the shield passageway.  Drawbacks of using a common hand tool in this application include: the hand tool must be constantly held or it may fall from the thru-wall adjuster, small hand tools do not provide an adequate grip surface which may be useful during “awkward” alignments, and the small hand tools do not provide a way to “clock” the a...