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1. (WO2019032252) ULTRA-HIGH VACUUM TRANSPORT AND STORAGE
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CLAIMS

What is claimed is:

1. An apparatus for transporting or storing at least one semiconductor wafer in a vacuum, comprising:

a portable vacuum transfer pod, comprising:

an internal wafer storage chamber for storing one or more wafers; and a wafer support for supporting at least one wafer within the internal wafer storage chamber;

a passively capable vacuum pump capable of passive vacuum pumping in fluid connection with the internal wafer storage chamber, and mechanically connected to the portable vacuum transfer pod; and

a shut off valve for opening and closing the fluid connection between the passively capable vacuum pump and the internal wafer storage chamber.

2. The apparatus recited in claim 1 , wherein the portable vacuum transfer pod further comprises at least one sealing element for creating a vacuum seal with a vacuum transfer pod docking station.

3. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the passively capable vacuum pump comprises at least one of a titanium sublimation pump, a getter pump, or a sorption pump.

4. The apparatus recited in claim 1 , further comprising an inert gas source for preventing air from leaking into the internal wafer storage chamber.

5. The apparatus recited in claim 1, further comprising:

a quick release connector in fluid connection with the portable vacuum transfer pod; and

a high vacuum pump mechanically connected to the quick release connector. 6. The apparatus recited in claim 5, wherein the high vacuum pump is a turbo pump or a cryogenic pump.

7. The apparatus recited in claim 1, wherein the fluid connection between the passively capable vacuum pump and the internal wafer storage chamber has a cross-sectional area of at least 2 cm2.

8. The apparatus recited in claim 1, wherein the internal wafer storage chamber comprises aluminum containing parts.

9. The apparatus recited in claim 1, further comprising a high vacuum gauge in fluid connection with the internal wafer storage chamber and mechanically connected to the portable vacuum transfer pod.

10. The apparatus recited in claim 9, wherein the high vacuum gauge is an ion gauge. 11. The apparatus recited in claim 1 , wherein the portable vacuum transfer pod further comprises a door adapted to provide passage of at least one semiconductor wafer into or out of the internal wafer storage chamber and to seal the portable vacuum transfer pod.

12. A method for transporting a wafer from a first wafer processing device to a second wafer processing device, comprising:

docking a portable vacuum transfer pod to a first docking station;

pumping down pressure in the portable vacuum transfer pod;

transferring at least one wafer through the first docking station to the portable vacuum transfer pod;

sealing the portable vacuum transfer pod and removing the portable vacuum transfer pod from the first docking station;

using a passively capable vacuum pump to passively maintain pressure in the portable vacuum transfer pod at a pressure less than lxlO"3Torr;

moving the portable vacuum transfer pod to a second docking station;

docking the portable vacuum transfer pod to the second docking station; and transferring the at least one wafer from the portable vacuum transfer pod through the second docking station.

13. The method of claim 12, wherein the passively capable vacuum pump is at least one of a titanium sublimation pump, a getter pump, or a sorption pump.

14. The method of claim 13, wherein the using the passively capable vacuum pump, comprises:

closing a shut off valve between the passively capable pump and the portable vacuum transport pod;

activating the passively capable vacuum pump;

opening the shut off valve;

actively pumping;

stopping the actively pumping; and

passively pumping.

15. The method of claim 12, further comprising:

mechanically connecting a high vacuum pump to the portable vacuum transfer pod through a quick release connector, which is in fluid connection with the portable vacuum transfer pod;

using the high vacuum pump to pump down the portable vacuum transfer pod; and

disconnecting the high vacuum pump through the quick release connector.

16. The method of claim 12, further comprising creating an air leak seal between the portable vacuum transport pod and the second docking station.

17. The method of claim 12, wherein the using the passively capable pump to passively maintain pressure provides passive pumping without the use of external power for at least one day.