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Method and apparatus for monitoring plasma processing operations

United States Patent

May 7, 2002
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The invention generally relates to various aspects of a plasma process, and more specifically the monitoring of such plasma processes. One aspect relates in at least some manner to calibrating or initializing a plasma monitoring assembly. This type of calibration may be used to address wavelength shifts, intensity shifts, or both associated with optical emissions data obtained on a plasma process. A calibration light may be directed at a window through which optical emissions data is being obtained to determine the effect, if any, that the inner surface of the window is having on the optical emissions data being obtained therethrough, the operation of the optical emissions data gathering device, or both. Another aspect relates in at least some manner to various types of evaluations which may be undertaken of a plasma process which was run, and more typically one which is currently being run, within the processing chamber. Plasma health evaluations and process identification through optical emissions analysis are included in this aspect. Yet another aspect associated with the present invention relates in at least some manner to the endpoint of a plasma process (e.g., plasma recipe, plasma clean, conditioning wafer operation) or discrete/discernible portion thereof (e.g., a plasma step of a multiple step plasma recipe). Another aspect associated with the present invention relates to how one or more of the above-noted aspects may be implemented into a semiconductor fabrication facility, such as the distribution of wafers to a wafer production system. A final aspect of the present invention relates to a network a plurality of plasma monitoring systems, including with remote capabilities (i.e., outside of the clean room).
Smith, Jr.; Michael Lane (Albuquerque, NM), Ward; Pamela Denise Peardon (Rio Rancho, NM), Stevenson; Joel O'Don (Albuquerque, NM)
Sandia Corporation (Albuquerque, NM)
09/ 290,903
April 12, 1999
GOVERNMENT RIGHTS The U.S. Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. DE-AC04-94AL85000 between the Department of Energy and Sandia Corporation.