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1. (WO2019050507) METHODS OF HANDLING A MASK DEVICE, APPARATUS FOR EXCHANGING A MASK DEVICE, MASK EXCHANGE CHAMBER, AND VACUUM SYSTEM
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CLAIMS

1. A method of handling a mask device, the method comprising:

loading the mask device on a holding arrangement for holding the mask device; moving the holding arrangement from a first state into a second state, the second state being a non-horizontal state;

aligning the holding arrangement with a mask carrier; and

transferring the mask device from the holding arrangement to the mask carrier.

2. A method of handling a mask device, the method comprising;

aligning a holding arrangement with a mask carrier holding the mask device, the holding arrangement being in a second state;

transferring the mask device from the mask carrier to the holding arrangement; and moving the holding arrangement from the second state into a first state, the second state being a non-horizontal state.

3. The method according to claim 1 or 2, wherein aligning the holding arrangement with the mask carrier comprises moving one or more alignment elements relative to the holding arrangement.

4 The method according to any of claims 1 to 3, wherein aligning the holding arrangement with the mask carrier comprises engaging one or more alignment elements with the mask carrier.

5. The method according to any of claims 1 to 4, wherein aligning the holding arrangement with the mask carrier comprises lifting the mask carrier, particularly by using an electromagnetic arrangement for generating a magnetic force acting on the mask carrier.

6. The method according to any of claims I to 5, wherein transferring the mask device comprises using one or more electromagnetic elements for providing a magnetic force acting on the mask device.

7. The method according to any of claims 1 to 6, wherein the first state is a substantially horizontal state, particularly die first state being a state in which an angle between a main surface of the mask device and a horizontal plane is 30° or less.

8. The method according to any of claims 1 to 7, wherein the second state is a substantially vertical state, particularly the second state being a state in which an angle between a main surface of the mask device 10 and a gravity vector is between +10° and -10°.

9. The method according to any of claims 1 to 8, wherein moving the holding arrangement comprises rotating the holding arrangement around a rotation axis, particularly the rotation axis being in a horizontal plane.

10. A method of exchanging a mask device from a mask carrier, the method comprising: conducting the method of handling a mask device according to any of claims 2 to 9, the mask device being a first mask device; and

conducting the method of handling a mask device according to any of claims 1 and 3 to 9, the mask device being a second mask device.

11. An apparatus for exchanging a mask device from a mask carrier , the apparatus comprising:

a holding arrangement for holding the mask device;

a mechanism for moving the holding arrangement between a first state and a second state, the second state being a non-horizontal state; and

an alignment assembly for aligning the holding arrangement with the mask carrier.

12. The apparatus according to claim 11 , wherein the alignment assembly comprises one or more alignment elements being moveable relative to the holding arrangement.

13. The apparatus according to claim 11 or 12, wherein the holding arrangement comprises one or more electromagnetic elements for holding the mask device by magnetic force.

14. The apparatus according to my of claims 11 to 13, wherein the first state is a substantially horizontal state, particularly the first state being a state in which an angle between a main surface of the mask device and a horizontal plane is 30° or less.

15. The apparatus according to any of claims 10 to 13, wherein the second state is a state is a substantially vertical state, particularly the second state being a state in which an angle between a main surface of the mask device 10 and a gravity vector is between +10° and -10°.

16. A mask exchange chamber, comprising

a magnetic levitation system configured for holding a mask carrier; and

an apparatus for exchanging a mask device from a mask carrier according to any of claims 11-15.

17. A vacuum system for depositing a material on a substrate, comprising:

a mask exchange chamber according to claim 16;

at least one deposition chamber, and

a mask transportation system configured for transporting mask devices to be used and used mask devices in a non-horizontal orientation between the mask exchange chamber and the at least one deposition chamber.