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Automated Modular Substrate Handling and Processing System    

Automation system for handling and processing substartes in multi-chamber systems

Overview

Automation system used for handling and performing a process on substrates. The systems provides both hardware and software solution to transfer substrates between various process flow steps. The flow path may be a closed continuous loop or through consecutive separate processing islands. Processing may include combination of various processing and inspection stations in a modular assembly-line like system. The apparatus and method can be used for processing any size and materials based substrates, such as wafers, flat display panels, as well as solar panels. Portfolio includes a robotic system that either translationally or rotationally aligns the substrate using imaging capture devices for exact sequential processing of the substrates.

Primary Application of the Technology

Flat panel, Solar, Semiconductor

The seller would like to be granted a license back.

Patent Summary

U.S. Patent Classes & Classifications Covered in this listing:

Class 414: Material Or Article Handling

Apparatus, device, implement or method for placing or displacing particular articles in a particular manner or with reference to a particular support, for loading or unloading vehicles with materials or objects in general, charging or discharging furnaces, bins, chambers, or other receptacles, stacking or piling articles or materials, also combinations of general types of carriers or forwarding mechanisms, which types, per se, are separately classified elsewhere, and general types of elevators, cranes, or hoists when associated with special means for handling the load to place it on the carrier or remove it therefrom.

Subclass 217: APPARATUS FOR MOVING MATERIAL BETWEEN ZONES HAVING DIFFERENT PRESSURES AND INHIBITING CHANGE IN PRESSURE GRADIENT THEREBETWEEN
Subclass 280: Device includes push-pull mechanism
Subclass 281: Charging or discharging means includes elevating device, movable in horizontal direction (e.g., portable, etc.), having load-sustaining surface

Class 198: Conveyors: Power-Driven

A power-driven conveyor is an assemblage of elements for moving a load over a predetermined path or path section. The assemblage generally includes a single frame structure mounting a power-driven load-advancing means which is used to advance the load over the predetermined path.

Subclass 346.2: Means to transfer a load back and forth between the mainline conveyor and the work station

Class 438: Semiconductor Device Manufacturing: Process

This class provides for manufacturing a semiconductor containing a solid-state device for the following purposes: (a) conducting or modifying an electrical current, (b) storing electrical energy for subsequent discharge within a microelectronic integrated circuit, or (c) converting electromagnetic wave energy to electrical energy or electrical energy to electromagnetic energy. Also operations involving: (1) coating a substrate with a semiconductive material, or (2) coating a semiconductive substrate or substrate containing a semiconductive region. It also provides for operations involving etching a semiconductive substrate or etching a substrate containing a semiconductive region. The class provides for packaging or treatment of packaged semiconductor.

Subclass 680: Utilizing chemical vapor deposition (i.e., CVD)

Class 118: Coating Apparatus

pparatus for applying or obtaining a surface coating on a base and/or apparatus for impregnating base materials and takes all such apparatus not provided for in other classes. The coating obtained may be permanent or transitory. The coating may be supplied solely by extraneous materials, as in a painting or waxing operation, or may be supplied wholly or in part by the base materials as in the formation of an oxide coating on a metal base. The coating may consist of an emulsion, dispersion, solution, admixture or oil which is clearly disclosed as leaving a residual film, layer or continuous deposit on the base.

Subclass 715: GAS OR VAPOR DEPOSITION
Subclass 719: Multizone chamber
Subclass 724: By means to heat or cool
Subclass 725: Substrate heater
Subclass 728: Work support
Subclass 729: Moving work support

Class 204: Chemistry: Electrical And Wave Energy

This class includes, where not provided for elsewhere: A. Processes (1) involving the use of electrolysis (as provided for in Class 205); (2) of preparing or purifying compounds or elements involving chemical reaction brought about by electrical or wave energy in a magnetic field; (3) of treating materials involving chemical reaction brought about by wave energy; (4) of preparing or purifying compounds or elements involving chemical reaction brought about by an electrostatic field or electrical discharge; (5) involving the use of electrophoresis or electro-osmosis; (6) of treating a liquid (a) to separate or purify the liquid using electric and magnetic fields simultaneously, (b) to separate or purify the liquid using an electric field, or (c) using a magnetic field to obtain some effect other than mere separation or purification of the liquid; (7) involving coating, forming, or etching by the use of sputtering; and (8) involving coating by the use of vacuum arc discharge.

Subclass 192.12: Glow discharge sputter deposition (e.g., cathode sputtering, etc.)
Subclass 298.25: Multi-chamber (e.g., including air lock, load/unload chamber, etc.)
Subclass 298.35: Multi-chamber, load/unload means or moving workpiece

Class 62: Refrigeration

(1) processes and apparatus peculiar to removing heat from a substance, usually by a change of phase of a coolant or refrigerant, as by evaporation, melting or sublimation, (2) the resultant product of part (1), e.g., ice, liquefied or solidified gases, and (3) processes and apparatus peculiar to handling the latter as a stored product, not elsewhere provided for.

Subclass 378: ARTICLE MOVING MEANS
Subclass 380: Continuous longitudinal-type conveyor

Class 700: Data Processing: Generic Control Systems Or Specific Applications

This class is structured into two main divisions: (1)for the combination of a data processing or calculating computer apparatus (or corresponding methods for performing data processing or calculating operations) AND a device or apparatus controlled thereby, the entirety hereinafter referred to as a "control system". (2)for data processing or calculating computer apparatus (or corresponding methods for performing data processing or calculating operations) wherein the data processing or calculating computer apparatus is designed for or utilized in a particular art device, system, process, or environment, or is utilized for the solution of a particular problem in a field other than mathematics (arithmetic processing per se is classified elsewhere).

Subclass 230: Having a conveyor
Subclass 245: Robot control
Subclass 254: Compensation or calibration
Subclass 258: Having particular sensor
Subclass 57: Alignment or registration

Class 701: Data Processing:Vehicles, Navigation, And Relative Location

This class provides for electrical computers, digital data processing systems, and data processing processes for transferring data between computers or processes wherein the computers or processes employ the data before or after transferring and the employing affects the transfer of data therebetween. This class is for electricalapparatus and corresponding methods for performing data processing operations in which there is a significant change in the data or for performing calculation operations wherein the electrical data processing system or calculating computer functions to indicate a condition of a vehicle, to regulate the movement of a vehicle, to monitor the operation of a vehicle, or to solve a diagnostic problem with the vehicle. It also provides electrical apparatus and corresponding methods wherein the electrical data processing system or calculating computer function to determine the course, position, or distance traveled. It further provides electrical apparatus and corresponding methods wherein the electrical data processing system or calculating computer functions to determine the relative location of an object (e.g., person or vehicle) and may include communication of the determined relative location to a remote location. In this class there are three main divisions: 1. vehicle control, guidance, operation or indication; 2. navigation; 3. relative location

Subclass 23: Automatic route guidance vehicle

Class 382: Image Analysis

This is the generic class for apparatus and corresponding methods for the automated analysis of an image or recognition of a pattern. Included herein are systems that transform an image for the purpose of (a) enhancing its visual quality prior to recognition, (b) locating and registering the image relative to a sensor or stored prototype, or reducing the amount of image data by discarding irrelevant data, and (c) measuring significant characteristics of the image.

Subclass 145: Inspection of semiconductor device or printed circuit board

Class 348: Television

Generating, processing, transmitting or transiently displaying a sequence of images, either locally or remotely, in which the local light variations composing the images may change with time.

Subclass 125: Flaw detector

European Patent Classes & Classifications Covered in this listing:

Class H01L21: ELECTRICITY - BASIC ELECTRIC ELEMENTS

SEMICONDUCTOR DEVICES; ELECTRIC SOLID STATE DEVICES NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR . Processes or apparatus adapted for the manufacture or treatment of semiconductor or solid state devices or of parts thereof .

Class C23C14: CHEMISTRY; METALLURGY - COATING METALLIC MATERIAL; COATING MATERIAL WITH METALLIC MATERIAL

COATING METALLIC MATERIAL; COATING MATERIAL WITH METALLIC MATERIAL; SURFACE TREATMENT OF METALLIC MATERIAL BY DIFFUSION INTO THE SURFACE, BY CHEMICAL CONVERSION OR SUBSTITUTION; COATING BY VACUUM EVAPORATION, BY SPUTTERING, BY ION IMPLANTATION OR BY CHEMI. Coating by vacuum evaporation, by sputtering or by ion implantation of the coating forming material .

Class C07C227: CHEMISTRY; METALLURGY - ORGANIC CHEMISTRY

ACYCLIC OR CARBOCYCLIC COMPOUNDS. Preparation of compounds containing amino and carboxyl groups bound to the same carbon skeleton .