Inventor’s Corner

Air cleaner

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The air cleaner can be installed in the ceiling of a cleanroom that is used for semiconductor or liquid crystal components manufacturing. It has a housing with upper and side walls and a fan with a supporting plate that extends between the two side walls to support the fan. A first airflow directional member not only provides reinforcement to the supporting plate and the upper wall, but also pushes air from the fan. The second airflow directional member has a horizontal plate and vertical plates for directing airflow at the horizontal edges of the housing. The airflow directional members are adapted to equalize the velocity of airflow that is distributed across the fan's output area. The supporting plate and the first airflow directional member maintain preset spacing between a predetermined portion of the fan and the first airflow directional member. The air cleaner can reduce energy consumption by improving efficiency of the fan.

Patent number: 6,019,808
Date granted: February 1, 2000
Inventors: Tominori Ishikawa; Yuji Toyama; Masayuki Terano;
Yoshihiro Takada; Keiichi Honma, Hitachi Ltd. (Tokyo, Japan)

Face and respiratory mask

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The system protects healthcare providers as well as patients from infectious diseases. It includes a face shield, coupled with a head cradle for supporting the face shield on the wearer's head. The face shield and a wearer's face substantially define a breathing zone charged by a battery-powered blower carried on the head cradle. A bag-like inlet filter element encompasses the blower to provide filtered air to the breathing zone, and an outlet filter element works in conjunction with the face shield.

Patent number: 6,014,971
Date granted: January 18, 2000
Inventors: Susann G. Danisch, Michael R. Berrigan,
Patrick H. Carey Jr., 3M Innovative Properties Co. (St. Paul, MN)

Film growth system and method

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The invention takes up a relatively small space, reducing or eliminating the need for a cleanroom. The apparatus and method deposits thin films on the surface of a device. The apparatus includes an enclosure that has several apertures and a conductor coil. The apertures connect to conduits for device input and output and inject and release various gases and/or processing ingredients. A chamber is formed within the enclosure and is configured to be coaxial with the conductor coil. Devices move through the input conduit where they are preheated by a resistance-type furnace. The preheated devices then move into the chamber where they are heated further by radio frequency energy from the conductor coil. Then, gases and processing ingredients react with the heated device to grow a thin film on the outer surface.

Patent number: 6,015,464
Date granted: January 18, 2000
Inventors: Changfeng Xia and Yanwei Zhang,
Ball Semiconductor Inc. (Allen, TX)

Powder-free gloves

The gloves have a silicon-treated outer surface. The inside is bonded with an anti-sticking composition layer, which is made of a polymer or copolymer that is mixed with a high-density polyethylene and wax, which improves lubrication for donning and prevents gloves from sticking together. The invention is an alternative to natural rubber latex gloves that can be difficult to put on. Moreover, the powder that is used to lubricate the inside of the natural rubber latex glove is feared to cause post-operative complications.

Patent number: 6,019,922
Date granted: February 1, 2000
Inventors: Noorman Abu Hassan and Chak Choy Yuen,
of Johnson & Johnson Mfg. Sn Bhd (Malaysia)

Ammonia purification

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Liquid ammonia contains solid and volatile impurities, which can damage electronic components. Highly purified ammonia is distilled for high-precision electronic components production by drawing ammonia vapor from a liquid ammonia reservoir. Vapor passes through a filter that traps particles of less than 0.005 microns. The filtered vapor, which is controlled by a pressure regulator, flows to a scrubbing column, where mist is removed. Saturated liquid ammonia flows downward and is circulated, while vapor flows upward. Waste is periodically drawn from the retained liquid in the bottom of the scrubber.

Patent number: 6,015,477
Date granted: January 18, 2000
Inventors: Joe G. Hoffman and R. Scot Clark,
of Air Liquide America Corp. (Houston, TX)

Wafer processing system

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The system processes integrated circuit wafers, semiconductor substrates and data disks that require a very low particle. The processor has an interface section, which receives wafers in standard carriers. The interface section transfers the wafers from carriers onto novel trays. The interface unit can hold multiple groups of trays. A conveyor having an automated arm moves wafers that are supported on a tray. The conveyor moves the trays from the interface along a track to several processing stations. The processing stations are accessed from an enclosed area adjoining the interface section.

Patent number: 6,014,817
Date granted: January 18, 2000
Inventors: Raymon F. Thompson, Robert W. Berner,
Gary L. Curtis, Stephen P. Culliton, Blaine G. Wright,
Semitool Inc. (Kalispell, MO)

Molecular contamination control system

Standard mechanical interface (SMIF) boxes or pods provide a minienvironment for wafers and substrates. Although mechanisms trap particles, natural changes in the environment can increase the presence of oxygen, halogens and nitrogen, degrading semiconductor materials. The invention is a system that purges the SMIF pod to maintain desired levels of relative humidity, oxygen, or particles. The SMIF pod has an inlet port with a check valve and filter assembly for supplying a clean, dry gaseous working fluid to maintain low levels of moisture, oxygen, and particles around materials contained within the pod. The pod outlet port, which also has a check valve and filter assembly, is connected to an evacuation system. Flow of purge gas inside the pod can be directed with one or more nozzle towers to encourage laminar flow inside the pod. One or more outlet towers, which function like an inlet tower, may also be provided. The purge gas can be dried by exposure to a desiccant, heated 100 to 120 degrees Celsius, and can be tested for baseline constituent levels prior to or after introduction into a SMIF pod. A single contamination control base unit can also purge multiple SMIF pods.

Patent number:5,879,458
Date granted:March 9, 1999
Inventors:Glenn A. Roberson, Jr.; Robert M. Genco;
Robert B. Eglinton; Wayland Comer; Gregory K. Mundt, Semifab Inc. (Hollister, CA)

Send your inventions

Information on the patents highlighted above was obtained through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Inventors who have been granted patents within the last six months for new cleanroom and contamination technology are encouraged to submit them to CleanRooms magazine for publication. Send a brief description of the invention along with a detailed drawing to Mark A. DeSorbo, associate editor, CleanRooms, 98 Spit Brook Road, Nashua, NH 03062, or e-mail at [email protected]

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