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1. EP0789788 - IN SITU GETTER PUMP SYSTEM AND METHOD

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Claims

1. A wafer processing apparatus comprising:

a processing chamber;

a first pump effective to pump gases to achieve a vacuum of at least 133·10-7 Pa (10-7 Torr) selected from the group including molecular pumps, ion pumps, cryopumps, and turbo pumps, said first pump being coupled to said processing chamber by a throttle plate that reduces the conductance of said first pump, said first pump being operative to pump a noble gas from said chamber;

a valve mechanism coupling a source of noble gas to said processing chamber such that said noble gas can flow continuously into said processing chamber and be continuously pumped from said chamber by said first pump;

an in situ getter pump disposed within said processing chamber which can pump a non-noble gas during the flow of said noble gas into said chamber, said in situ pump pumping essentially none of said noble gas, wherein said getter pump includes a getter module and a heater disposed proximate to said getter module such that said getter module can be heated, said getter pump further including a heat shield effective to shield thermally said getter pump module from at least some surfaces within said processing chamber;

a gas analyzer coupled to said chamber; and

a controller coupled to said gas analyzer and operative to selectively control a temperature of said heater based upon the gas composition within said chamber.


  2. A wafer processing apparatus as recited in claim 1 further comprising a second pump effective to pump gases to achieve a vacuum of at least 6,65 Pa (0.05 Torr) coupled to said processing chamber to pump said noble gas from said chamber.
  3. A wafer processing apparatus as recited in claim 1 wherein a first temperature of said getter module, as controlled by said controller, is chosen to pump at least one non-noble gas other than hydrogen, and a second temperature of said getter module is chosen to pump hydrogen.
  4. A wafer processing apparatus as recited in claim 3 wherein said heater is further capable of heating said getter module to a third temperature to regenerate said module.
  5. A wafer processing apparatus as recited in claim 3 wherein said getter material comprises Zr-Al, and wherein said first temperature is in the range of 300-400 °C, and wherein said second temperature is in the range of 25-100 °C.
  6. A wafer processing apparatus as recited in claim 1 wherein said getter pump includes a plurality of getter modules and a number of heaters associated with a respective number of said getter modules to control the temperatures of said respective number of getter modules.
  7. A processing apparatus comprising:

a sealable enclosure having a plurality of interior surfaces therein; and

an in situ getter pump system having getter material disposed within said enclosure which is capable of operating at more than one temperature, such that different non-noble gasses are pumped preferentially by said getter pump system at different temperatures of said getter material when said enclosure is sealed, wherein said in situ getter pump includes a heater, and a heat shield for shielding thermally said getter material from at least some of said interior surfaces wherein a first temperature is chosen to pump at least one non-noble gas other than hydrogen, and a second temperature is chosen to pump hydrogen, and further comprising:

a gas analyzer coupled to said enclosure; and

a controller having an input coupled to said gas analyzer and an output coupled to said heater;

   whereby said temperature is controlled by said heater based upon an analysis of a gas mixture within said chamber.
  8. An in situ getter pump module comprising:

getter elements that are spaced apart such that adjacent getter elements do not abut, where each getter element is provided with a centrally located aperture;

a heater disposed through the apertures of said getter elements to support and heat said getter elements; and

a heat shield for shielding thermally said getter elements, said heat shield being made of stainless steel and having a thermally reflective surface facing the getter elements and heater.


  9. An in situ getter pump module as recited in claim 8 wherein each getter element is substantially disk shaped with an axial bore forming said centrally located aperture.
  10. A method for processing a wafer comprising the steps of:

placing a wafer within a processing chamber and sealing said chamber;

flowing a noble gas into said chamber while simultaneously pumping said chamber with an external pump effective to pump gases to achieve a vacuum of at least 133·10-7 Pa (10-7 Torr) which pumps noble gasses and with an in situ pump disposed within said chamber which pumps non-noble gasses, said in-situ pump having active elements which have a pumping speed with respect to the chamber of at least 75% of their theoretical maximum pumping speed; and

processing said wafer within said chamber while said noble gas continues to flow, further comprising, before the step of flowing a noble gas, the step of: simultaneously pumping said chamber with an external pump effective to pump gases to achieve a vacuum of at least 133·10-7 Pa (10-7 Torr) which pumps noble gasses and with said in situ pump which pumps non-noble gasses to achieve a base pressure, and before the step of simultaneously pumping said chamber to achieve a base pressure, the step of: pumping said chamber with a second pump effective to pump gases to achieve a vacuum of at least 6,65 Pa (0.05 Torr), wherein said active elements of said in situ pump include getter material, and said in situ getter pump further includes a heater for heating said getter material and a heat shield for shielding thermally said active elements, and further comprising the step of: controlling the temperature of said getter material to preferentially pump a selected gas and further comprising the step of:monitoring the composition of a gas within said chamber, and controlling the temperature of said getter material based upon an analysis of said composition.


  11. A method for pumping a chamber comprising the steps of:

sealing an enclosure; and

pumping said enclosure with an in situ getter pump system including getter material and a heat shield for shielding thermally the getter material disposed within said enclosure which is capable of operating at more than one temperature, such that different non-noble gasses are pumped at different temperatures when said enclosure is sealed, further comprising the step of:controlling the temperature of said getter pump system to preferentially pump at least one gas and the step of:monitoring the composition of a gas within said chamber, and controlling the temperature of said getter pump system based upon an analysis of said composition.


  12. A wafer processing system comprising:

a processing chamber;

a first pump effective to pump gases to achieve a vacuum of at least 133·10-7 Pa (10-7 Torr) coupled to said processing chamber which can pump a noble gas from said chamber;

a valve mechanism coupling a source of noble gas to said processing chamber such that said noble gas can flow continuously into said processing chamber;

an in situ pump including getter material disposed within said processing chamber which can pump a non-noble gas during the flow of said noble gas into said chamber, said in situ pump pumping essentially none of said noble gas, said in situ pump including a heat shield for shielding thermally said getter material from at least some heated surfaces inside said processing chamber; and

a processing mechanism for processing a wafer disposed within said processing chamber, wherein said in situ pump is a getter pump and said getter pump includes a getter module and a heater disposed proximate to said getter module such that said getter module can be heated to at least two different temperatures and further comprising:

a gas analyzer coupled to said chamber; and

a controller having an input coupled to said gas analyzer and an output coupled to said heater;

whereby said respective temperatures of said getter module is controlled based upon an analysis of a gas mixture within said chamber.