Removable pellicle for lithographic mask protection and handling

Patent Number: 6492067
Issued: 12/10/2002
Official Filing: View the Complete Patent
Abstract: A removable pellicle for a lithographic mask that provides active and robust particle protection, and which utilizes a traditional pellicle and two deployments of thermophoretic protection to keep particles off the mask. The removable pellicle is removably attached via a retaining structure to the mask substrate by magnetic attraction with either contacting or non-contacting magnetic capture mechanisms. The pellicle retaining structural is composed of an anchor piece secured to the mask substrate and a frame member containing a pellicle. The anchor piece and the frame member are in removable contact or non-contact by the magnetic capture or latching mechanism. In one embodiment, the frame member is retained in a floating (non-contact) relation to the anchor piece by magnetic levitation. The frame member and the anchor piece are provided with thermophoretic fins which are interdigitated to prevent particles from reaching the patterned area of the mask. Also, the anchor piece and mask are maintained at a higher temperature than the frame member and pellicle which also prevents particles from reaching the patterned mask area by thermophoresis. The pellicle can be positioned over the mask to provide particle protection during mask handling, inspection, and pumpdown, but which can be removed manually or robotically for lithographic use of the mask.
Filed: 12/3/1999
Application Number: 9/454,674
Government Interests: STATEMENT OF GOVERNMENT INTEREST This invention was made with Government support under Contract No. DE-NA0003525 awarded by the United States Department of Energy/National Nuclear Security Administration. The Government has certain rights in the invention.