Title:
RETICLE STORAGE APPARATUS AND SEMICONDUCTOR ELEMENT STORAGE APPARATUS
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention provides a reticle storage apparatus and a semiconductor element storage apparatus each equipped with a filtering device. The reticle storage apparatus or the semiconductor element storage apparatus is constructed from a first cover and a second cover, which are assembled together to form an inner space therebetween for accommodating a reticle or a semiconductor element. The second cover of the reticle storage apparatus or the semiconductor element storage apparatus comprises at least one aperture for communicating the inner space and an outer of the reticle storage apparatus or the semiconductor element storage apparatus and a filtering device for covering the aperture.



Inventors:
Yeh, Po-chien (Shulin City, TW)
Application Number:
12/207905
Publication Date:
05/07/2009
Filing Date:
09/10/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
206/454
International Classes:
B65D85/86; B65D47/32; B65D85/90
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Primary Examiner:
FIDEI, DAVID
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SINORICA, LLC (528 FALLSGROVE DRIVE, ROCKVILLE, MD, 20850, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A reticle storage apparatus, comprising: a first cover; a second cover, for being assembled with the first cover to form an inner space that accommodates a reticle, wherein the second cover comprises a body having at least an aperture and an engaging mechanism; and a filtering device, which is settled on the body for being combined with the aperture on the body, comprises: a first portion, including: a through hole positioned corresponding to the aperture on the body; and a retaining mechanism, for being combined with the engaging mechanism of the body; and a filter, covering the through hole of the first portion.

2. The reticle storage apparatus of claim 1, further comprising a fixing element for fixing the filter.

3. The reticle storage apparatus of claim 2, wherein the fixing element comprises at least one venthole for ventilation.

4. The reticle storage apparatus of claim 2, wherein the fixing element substantially covers the filter.

5. The reticle storage apparatus of claim 2, wherein the fixing element frames the filter.

6. The reticle storage apparatus of claim 2, wherein the fixing element enclosed the first portion.

7. The reticle storage apparatus of claim 2, wherein the fixing element is engaged with the first portion.

8. The reticle storage apparatus of claim 1, wherein the retaining mechanism of the first portion is at least one hook.

9. The reticle storage apparatus of claim 8, wherein the engaging mechanism of the body is at least a pair of recesses for being engaged with the hook so as to combine the body and the first portion.

10. The reticle storage apparatus of claim 8, wherein the engaging mechanism of the body is an annular groove for being engaged with the hook so as to combine the body with the first portion.

11. The reticle storage apparatus of claim 8, wherein the hook is formed as at least a pair of hooks.

12. The reticle storage apparatus of claim 8, wherein the hook is formed as an annular flange.

13. The reticle storage apparatus of claim 1, wherein the second cover further comprises a plate, which is settled upon the body to face the inner space and has a corresponding portion that positioned corresponding to the aperture of the body.

14. The reticle storage apparatus of claim 13, wherein the corresponding portion of the plate comprises at least one venthole.

15. The reticle storage apparatus of claim 13, wherein the plate comprises a substantially flat first surface and the corresponding portion of the plate is raised with respect to, depressed with respect to or coplanar to the first surface.

16. A semiconductor element storage apparatus, comprising: a first cover; a second cover, for being assembled with the first cover to form an inner space that accommodates a reticle, wherein the second cover comprises a body that having at least an aperture and an engaging mechanism; and a filtering device, which is settled on the body for being combined with the aperture on the body, comprises: a first portion, including: a through hole positioned corresponding to the aperture on the body; and a retaining mechanism, for being combined with the engaging mechanism of the body; and a filter, covering the through hole of the first portion.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Technical Field

The present invention relates to reticle storage apparatuses and semiconductor element storage apparatuses and, more particularly, to a reticle storage apparatus and a semiconductor elements storage apparatus each equipped with a filtering device.

2. Description of Related Art

In the rapidly developing semiconductor technology, optical lithography plays an important role and wherever pattern definition is conducted, optical lithography is requisite. As to the application of optical lithography relating to semiconductors, a designed circuit pattern is used to produce a light-transparent reticle. Basing on the principle of exposure, after a light passes silicon wafer, the circuit pattern formed on the reticle can be exposed onto the silicon wafer. Since any dust (such as particles, powders or an organic matter) can adversely affect the quality of such projected pattern, the reticle used to produce the pattern on the silicon wafers is required with absolute cleanness. Thus, clean rooms are typically employed in general wafer processes for preventing particles in air from defiling reticles and wafers. However, absolute dustless environment is inaccessible even in known clean rooms.

Hence, reticle storage apparatuses that facilitate protecting reticles from defilement are implemented in current semiconductor processes for the purpose of storage and transportation of reticles so as to ensure cleanness of the reticles. When such reticle storage apparatuses accommodate reticles in semiconductor processes, the reticles can be isolated from the atmosphere when being transferred and conveyed between stations, so as to be secured from defilement caused by impurities that induces deterioration. Similarly, when semiconductor element storage apparatuses accommodate semiconductor elements in semiconductor processes, the semiconductor elements can be isolated from the atmosphere when being transferred and conveyed between stations, so as to be secured from defilement caused by impurities that induces deterioration. Further, in advanced semiconductor factories, the cleanliness of reticle storage apparatuses and semiconductor element storage apparatuses is required to meet Standard Mechanical Interface (SMIF), namely superior to Class 1. One solution for achieving the required cleanliness is to fill gas into reticle storage apparatuses and semiconductor element storage apparatuses.

However, for enhancing the yield of products and reducing manufacturing costs, in addition to meeting the required cleanliness, defilement that is brought to reticles by external gases has to be precluded. Besides the atmosphere, there are still two major resources of the gases that may cause defilement to reticles. One of them is outgasing generated by reticle storage apparatuses and semiconductor element storage apparatuses themselves that are made of macromolecular materials. The other is vapourised gas generated by trace chemical solutions remained on the surfaces of reticle storage apparatuses and semiconductor element storage apparatuses. These unexpected gases can cause foggy surfaces of reticles or semiconductor elements that render the reticles or semiconductor elements becoming rejects. While filling gas into reticle storage apparatuses and semiconductor element storage apparatuses is also a solution for preventing foggy surfaces thereof, it is an important task to maintain the cleanliness of the filled gas.

Therefore, the present invention provides a reticle storage apparatus and a semiconductor elements storage apparatus each equipped with a filtering device to improve the current technology.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

To remedy the problem of the prior arts, the present invention provides a reticle storage apparatus and a semiconductor element storage apparatus each equipped with a filtering device. The reticle storage apparatus or the semiconductor element storage apparatus is constructed from a first cover and a second cover, which are assembled together to form an inner space therebetween for accommodating a reticle or a semiconductor element. The second cover of the reticle storage apparatus or the semiconductor element storage apparatus comprises at least one aperture for communicating the inner space and an exterior of the reticle storage apparatus or the semiconductor element storage apparatus and a filtering device for covering the aperture. The filtering device is constructed from a filter and a first portion, wherein the first portion has a through hole and a retaining mechanism for being fastened to an engaging mechanism on the second cover. The filter is settled on the first portion for filtering the dust and impurities in air. A fixing element may be further provided on the filtering device to fix the filter.

Thereupon, it is one objective of the present invention to provide a reticle storage apparatus and a semiconductor element storage apparatus each equipped with a filtering device to filter the dust in air so as to protect the reticles or semiconductor elements accommodated therein from being defiled.

It is another objective of the present invention to provide a reticle storage apparatus and a semiconductor element storage apparatus each equipped with a filtering device to filter the dust in air so as to maintain cleanliness of reticles or semiconductor elements accommodated therein.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention as well as a preferred mode of use, further objectives and advantages thereof, will best be understood by reference to the following detailed description of an illustrative embodiment when read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a reticle storage apparatus or a semiconductor element storage apparatus according to the present invention;

FIG. 2 is an exploded view of the reticle storage apparatus or the semiconductor element storage apparatus combined with a filtering device according to the present invention;

FIGS. 3A through 3F are schematic drawings showing the first portion engaged with an aperture on a body of the reticle storage apparatus or the semiconductor element storage apparatus according to the present invention;

FIG. 4 is a schematic drawing illustrating the reticle storage apparatus or the semiconductor element storage apparatus of the present invention combined with the filtering device;

FIGS. 5A through 5C are schematic drawings showing a first portion, the filter and a retainer in the reticle storage apparatus or the semiconductor element storage apparatus according to the present invention;

FIGS. 6A through 6B are schematic drawings showing the reticle storage apparatus or the semiconductor element storage apparatus combined with the filtering device according to the present invention in alternative ways; and

FIGS. 7A through 7C are schematic drawings showing a plate and a corresponding portion of the reticle storage apparatus or the semiconductor element storage apparatus according to the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

While the present invention discloses a reticle storage apparatus and a semiconductor element storage apparatus each equipped with a filtering device, it is to be stated first of all that the detailed manufacturing or processing procedures of the disclosed reticle storage apparatuses or semiconductor element storage apparatus relay on known technology and need not be discussed at length herein. Meantime, while the accompanying drawings are provided for purpose of illustration, it is to be understood that the components and structures therein need not to be made in scale.

Please refer to FIG. 1 for a perspective view of a reticle storage apparatus or a semiconductor element storage apparatus of the present invention. The reticle storage apparatus or the semiconductor element storage apparatuses constructed from a first cover 6 and a second cover 7, which are assembled together to form an inner space therebetween for accommodating a reticle or a semiconductor element. The second cover 7 further comprise a body 71 whereon at least one aperture A is formed for communicating the inner space and an exterior of the reticle storage apparatus or the semiconductor element storage apparatus. The aperture A is provided with an engaging mechanism 79 for engaging a filtering device 1 that will be further described below. In this embodiment, the semiconductor element such as FOUP (Front Opening Unified Pod), FOSB (Front Opening Shipping Pod) or any kind of wafer pod.

Now referring to FIG. 2, the filtering device 1 is settled on the second cover 7 of the reticle storage apparatus or the semiconductor element storage apparatus and combined with the aperture A on the body 71 of the second cover 7. The filtering device 1 is constructed from a first portion 2 and a filter 4, in which the first portion 2 has a through hole H that positioned corresponding to the aperture A on the body 71 and a retaining mechanism 21 for being coupled to the engaging mechanism 79 of the body 71. The filter 4 covers the through hole H of the first portion 2 so that when the air flows through the through hole H, the filter 4 functions for filtering dust and impurities in air.

Therein, the retaining mechanism 21 of the first portion 2 is engaged with the engaging mechanism 79 of the body 71, as shown in FIGS. 3A through 3F. Therein, the retaining mechanism 21 may be at least a pair of hooks, as shown in FIG. 3A. Alternatively, the retaining mechanism 21 may be an annular flange, as shown in FIG. 3B. The engaging mechanism 79 may be at least a pair of recesses, as shown in FIG. 3C. Alternatively, the engaging mechanism 79 may be an annular groove, as shown in FIG. 3D. As long as the retaining mechanism 21 and the engaging mechanism 79 can be mutually engaged, the retaining mechanism 21 can be the pair of hooks or the annular flange and the engaging mechanism 79 can be the pair of recesses or the annular groove. In addition, some more embodiments are provided herein for different combination means between the retaining mechanism 21 and the engaging mechanism 79. When the first portion 2 is pierced from an interior 711 facing the inner space toward an exterior 712 opposite to the interior 711 to combine with the aperture A of the body 71, the retaining mechanism 21 and the engaging mechanism 79 are combined mutually in the manner shown in FIG. 3E. Alternatively, when the first portion 2 is pierced from the exterior 712 toward the interior 711 to combine with the aperture A of the body 71, the retaining mechanism 21 and the engaging mechanism 79 are combined mutually in the manner shown in FIG. 3F Directions of the retaining mechanism 21 and the engaging mechanism 79 may be varied with a user's different needs.

Further, a fixing element 5 may be additionally provided on the filtering device 1 to fix the filter 4, as shown in FIG. 4. The fixing element 5 comprises at least one venthole 51 for ventilation. The fixing element 5 may cover the first portion 2, as shown in FIGS. 5A and 5C. Or, the fixing element 5 may engage with the first portion 2, as shown in FIG. 5B. Also, the fixing element 5 may substantially cover the filter 4, as depicted by FIGS. 5B and 5C. Alternatively, the fixing element 5 may just frame the filter 4, as described by FIG. 5A. All the variation may be applied depending on the user's practical needs.

Moreover, according to FIGS. 6A and 6B, the second cover 7 of the reticle storage apparatus or the semiconductor element storage apparatus may be further provided with a plate 72 settled upon the body 71 in the manner that the aperture A of the body 71 maintains communicating the inner space of with the exterior the reticle storage apparatus or the semiconductor element storage apparatus. A corresponding portion 73 having at least one venthole 74 is deposited on the plate 72 corresponding to the aperture A of the body 71. The plate 72 has a substantially flat first surface 721 and the corresponding portion 73 may be raised with respect to the first surface 721, as shown in FIG. 7A; depressed with respect to the first surface 721, as shown in FIG. 7B; or coplanar to the first surface 721, as shown in FIG. 7C.

Although the particular embodiments of the invention has been described in detail for purposes of illustration, it will be understood by one of ordinary skill in the art that numerous variations will be possible to the disclosed embodiments without going outside the scope of the invention as disclosed in the claims.