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1. (WO2017136058) APPARATUS AND METHOD FOR PLANARIZING MULTIPLE SHADOW MASKS ON A COMMON CARRIER FRAME
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THE INVENTION CLAIMED IS

1. A multi-mask alignment system comprising:

a carrier including first and second sides and a plurality of apertures extending through the carrier from the first side to the second side, wherein each aperture has associated therewith a combination frame and shadow mask including alignment features, wherein the shadow mask is supported via the frame on the first side of the carrier with the shadow mask in alignment with the aperture;

an alignment system positioned on the second side of the carrier; a controller operative for controlling the alignment system to individually align each combination frame and shadow mask such that the alignment features of said combination align with reference alignment features associated with said combination but not part of the carrier or said combination; and

spacers positioned on the carrier and configured to support each combination frame and shadow mask above a surface of the first side of the carrier.

2. The system of claim 1, wherein the spacers are configured to planarize each combination frame and shadow mask.

3. The system of claim 1, wherein the spacers are configured to planarize all of the combination frames and shadow masks with respect to each other.

4. The system of claim 1 , wherein:

the spacers comprise leveling pins projected through openings in the carrier; and

the leveling pins are secured in the openings in the carrier.

5. The system of claim 4, wherein the leveling pins are secured in the openings in the carrier via bonding or press fit.

6. The system of claim 1, further including at least one camera operative for acquiring images that include the alignment features, wherein the controller is operative for controlling the alignment system based on the acquired images.

7. The system of claim 6, wherein:

the reference alignment features comprise reference coordinates stored in a memory; and

the controller controls the alignment system to align the alignment features in the acquired images to the reference coordinates.

8. The system of claim 6, further including an alignment substrate, including the reference alignment features, positioned between the at least one camera and the combination frame and shadow mask, wherein the acquired images also include the reference alignment features.

9. The system of claim 1, further including:

an alignment substrate, including the reference alignment features, positioned to a side of the combination frame and shadow mask opposite the carrier, wherein the alignment features and the reference alignment features include a first plurality of holes and a second plurality of holes, respectively; and

the controller is operative for controlling the alignment system to individually align each combination frame and shadow mask until a predetermined amount of light passes through the first plurality of holes of said combination and the second plurality of holes associated with said combination in alignment with said first plurality of holes of said combination.

10. The system of claim 9, wherein:

each hole of the first plurality of holes aligned with one hole of the second plurality of holes are positioned along a light path;

each light path comprises a light receiver; and

the controller determines from the outputs of the light receivers when the predetermined amount of light passes through the first plurality of holes and the second plurality of holes in alignment with said first plurality of holes.

11. The system of claim 10, wherein each light path further comprises a light source.

12. The system of claim 1, wherein:

the alignment system includes an alignment stage operative for moving at least one combination frame and shadow mask from a position in contact with the carrier to a position spaced from the carrier and vice versa, and for adjusting the combination frame and shadow mask in two or more of the X, Y, and Θ directions;

the X and Y directions are parallel to the first side of the carrier; and the Θ direction is rotational around a Z direction which is normal of the first side of the carrier.

13. The system of claim 12, wherein:

the alignment stage includes a plurality of pins extending through holes in the carrier;

when extended, the pins position the combination frame and shadow mask spaced from the carrier; and

when the pins are retracted the combination frame and shadow mask is in contact with the spacers.

14. The system of claim 1, wherein the controller is operative for controlling the alignment system to simultaneously align each combination frame and shadow mask.

15. A multi-mask alignment method comprising:

(a) providing a carrier that includes a plurality of apertures therethrough;

(b) for each aperture, positioning a combination frame and shadow mask that includes alignment features on spacers supported by the carrier with the shadow mask of said combination in coarse alignment with the aperture;

(c) following step (b), an alignment system moving each combination frame and shadow mask to a position spaced from the spacers;

(d) following step (c), the alignment system individually fine or precision aligning each combination frame and shadow mask to align the alignment features of said combination with reference alignment features associated with said combination and not part of the carrier or the combination;

(e) following step (d), returning each combination frame and shadow mask to a position on the spacers; and

(f) following step (e), securing each combination frame and shadow mask to the carrier, wherein at least step (d) is automatically performed under the control of a controller.

16. The method of claim 15, wherein step (d) further includes simultaneously fine or precision aligning each combination frame and shadow mask.

17. The system of claim 15, wherein the spacers are configured to planarize (i) each combination frame and shadow mask or (ii) all of the combination frames and shadow masks with respect to each other.

18. The system of claim 15, wherein:

the spacers comprise leveling pins projected through openings in the carrier; and

the leveling pins are secured in the openings in the carrier.

19. The method of claim 15, wherein:

the reference alignment features associated with said combination comprise predetermined coordinates stored in a memory;

a camera is operative for acquiring images of the alignment features of said combination; and

step (d) includes the controller controlling the alignment system to align the alignment features of said combination to the predetermined coordinates based on the acquired images.

20. The method of claim 15, wherein:

an alignment substrate positioned between a camera and the combination frame and shadow mask includes the reference alignment features associated with said combination;

the camera is operative for acquiring images of the alignment features of said combination and the reference alignment features associated with said combination; and step (d) includes the controller controlling the alignment system to align the alignment features associated with said combination and the reference alignment features associated with said combination based on the acquired images.

21. The method of claim 15, wherein:

an alignment substrate, including the reference alignment features, is positioned to a side of the combination frame and shadow mask opposite the carrier, wherein the alignment features and the reference alignment features include a first plurality of holes and a second plurality of holes, respectively; and

step (d) includes the controller controlling the alignment system to individually align each combination frame and shadow mask until a predetermined amount of light passes through the first plurality of holes of said combination and the second plurality of holes associated with said combination in alignment with said first plurality of holes of said combination.

22. The method of claim 21, wherein:

each hole of the first plurality of holes aligned with one hole of the second plurality of holes are positioned along a light path;

each light path comprises a light receiver; and

step (d) includes the controller determining from the outputs of the light receivers when the predetermined amount of light passes through the first plurality of holes of said combination and the second plurality of holes associated with said combination in alignment with said first plurality of holes of said combination.