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(12) United States Patent
Suntola et al.
(io) Patent No.: (45) Date of Patent:
US 7,404,984 B2 Jul. 29, 2008
(54) METHOD FOR GROWING THIN FILMS
(75) Inventors: Tuomo Suntola, Espoo (FI); Sven Lindfors, Espoo (FI)
(73) Assignee: ASM America, Inc., Phoenix, AZ (US)
( * ) Notice: Subject to any disclaimer, the term of this patent is extended or adjusted under 35 U.S.C. 154(b) by 200 days.
(21) Appl.No.: 09/855,321
(22) Filed: May 14, 2001
(65) Prior Publication Data
US 2002/0041931 Al Apr. 11, 2002
Related U.S. Application Data
(63) Continuation of application No. 09/482,625, filed on Jan. 14, 2000, now Pat. No. 6,572,705, which is a continuation of application No. 08/682,705, filed as application No. PCT/FI95/00658 on Nov. 28, 1994, now Pat. No. 6,015,590.
(30) Foreign Application Priority Data
Nov. 28, 1994 (FI) 945611
(51) Int. CI.
(52) U.S. CI 427/248.1; 427/255.23;
(58) Field of Classification Search 427/248.1,
427/255.23, 255.26, 255.28 See application file for complete search history.
(56) References Cited
U.S. PATENT DOCUMENTS
3,662,583 A * 5/1972 Moore, Sr 72/370.08
The invention relates to a method and apparatus for growing a thin film onto a substrate, in which method a substrate placed in a reaction space (21) is subjected to alternately repeated surface reactions of at least two vapor-phase reactants for the purpose of forming a thin film. According to the method, said reactants are fed in the form of vapor-phase pulses repeatedly and alternately, each reactant separately from its own source, into said reaction space (21), and said vapor-phase reactants are brought to react with the surface of the substrate for the purpose of forming a solid-state thin film compound on said substrate. According to the invention, the gas volume of said reaction space is evacuated by means of a vacuum pump essentially totally between two successive vapor-phase reactant pulses. By virtue of transporting the different starting material species at different times through the apparatus effectively isolates the starting materials from each other thus preventing their premature mutual reactions.
5 Claims, 2 Drawing Sheets
Suntola, "Atomic Layer Epitaxy," Thin Solid Films, vol. 216, pp. 84-89 (1992).
Patent Abstracts of Japan, vol. 12, No. 358, C-531, abstract of JP A 63-112495 (May 17, 1988).
Patent Abstracts of Japan, vol. 8, No. 225, C-247, abstract of JP A 59-111997 (Jun. 28, 1984).
Claim Construction of United States Patents Nos. 6,015,590, 5,916,365 and 5,294,568; filed Aug. 15, 2002. ASM America, Inc. and Arthur Sherman and ASM International, N. V., v. Genus, Inc., United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, Mar. 16, 2005.
Lei et al., "Real-time observation and optimization of tungsten atomic layer deposition process cycle", American Vacuum Society, 2006, pp. 780-789.
Ritala et al., "Atomic Layer Deposition", Handbook of Thin Film Materials, 2002, pp. 103-159, vol. 1.
Manual for the F-120 ALE reactor, "F-120 ALE Reactor Specification, Rev. 01", Advanced Thin Film Technology and Surface Chemistry by Atomic Level Control, Microchemistry LTD, 16 pages.