Title:
System for purging high purity interfaces
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
In one embodiment, a system for purging high purity interfaces comprises a first manifold in flow communication with a high purity container and a second manifold. The first manifold comprises a first diaphragm valve connected to the container, to a first end of the second manifold and to sources of vacuum and vent. The first manifold further comprises a second diaphragm valve connected to the container and to second and third ends of the second manifold. A third diaphragm valve is interposed between the second diaphragm valve and the third end, and a fourth diaphragm valve is interposed between the first diaphragm valve and the sources of vacuum and vent.



Inventors:
Silva, David James (San Diego, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/470687
Publication Date:
01/25/2007
Filing Date:
09/07/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65B31/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
MAUST, TIMOTHY LEWIS
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Themis Law (La Jolla, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A system for purging high purity interfaces, the system comprising: a first manifold in flow communication with a high purity container and with a second manifold; the high purity container comprising an inlet port and an outlet port; the first manifold comprising, a first diaphragm valve in flow communication with the inlet port at one side, the first diaphragm valve being further in flow communication with a first end of the second manifold and with sources of vacuum and vent at the other side, a fourth diaphragm valve being interposed between the first diaphragm valve and the sources of vacuum and vent, and a second diaphragm valve in flow communication with the outlet port at one side, and with a second and a third ends of the second manifold at the other side, a third diaphragm valve being interposed between the second diaphragm valve and the third end; the first end being connected to sources of a high purity chemical, push gas, and purge gas, one or more diaphragm valves being interposed between the first end and the sources of the high purity chemical, push gas, and purge gas; the second end being connected to a manufacturing tool and to sources of vacuum and vent, one or more diaphragm valves being interposed between the second end and the manufacturing tool and the sources of vacuum and vent; and the third end being connected to the sources of vacuum and vent, one or more diaphragm valves being interposed between the third end and the vacuum and vent sources.

2. The system of claim 1, wherein the first manifold is detachably connected to the high purity container.

3. The system of claim 1, wherein each of the diaphragm valves has a seat side and a diaphragm side, wherein the seat side of the first diaphragm valve is oriented in the direction of the first end, wherein the seat side of the second diaphragm valve is oriented in the direction of the second end, and wherein the seat side of the fourth diaphragm valve is oriented in the direction of the first diaphragm valve.

4. The system of claim 3, wherein the third diaphragm valve is connected to the diaphragm side of the second diaphragm valve.

5. The system of claim 3, wherein the fourth diaphragm valve is connected to the seat side of the first diaphragm valve.

6. The system of claim 1, wherein the fourth diaphragm valve is connected to the diaphragm side of the first diaphragm valve.

7. The system of claim 1, wherein the first and the second manifolds are detachably connected at the first, second, and third ends.

8. The system of claim 7, wherein the first and the second manifolds are detachably connected with low dead space fittings.

9. The system of claim 1, wherein the second manifold comprises, a fifth diaphragm valve in flow communication with the first end at one side and to the sources of push gas, purge gas, vent, and vacuum at the other side, the fifth diaphragm valve being further in flow communication with the source of the high purity chemical at the one side and to a sixth diaphragm valve at the other side, a seventh diaphragm valve in flow communication with the source of push gas and the fifth diaphragm valve at one side, and to the sources of purge gas and the sources of vacuum and vent at the other side, an eighth diaphragm valve being interposed between the seventh diaphragm valve and the source of push gas, the sixth diaphragm valve being connected with the fifth diaphragm valve and the sources of vent and vacuum at one side, and the second end and the manufacturing tool at the other side, a ninth diaphragm valve being interposed between the sixth diaphragm valve and the sources of vent and vacuum, a tenth diaphragm valve connected to the source of purge gas and the seventh diaphragm valve at one side, and with the ninth diaphragm valve and the sources of vent and vacuum at the other side, a flow constrictor being in flow communication with the tenth diaphragm valve at one side, and to the sources of purge gas and the seventh diaphragm valve at the other side, and an eleventh diaphragm valve in flow communication with the sources of vent and vacuum at one side, and with the third end and the tenth diaphragm valve at the other side, a twelfth diaphragm valve being interposed between the third end and the eleventh diaphragm valve, a thirteenth diaphragm valve being interposed between the tenth and the eleventh diaphragm valves.

10. The system of claim 9, wherein the seat side of the fifth valve is oriented in the direction of the source of the seventh valve, wherein the seat side of the sixth diaphragm valve is oriented in the direction of the third end, and wherein the seat side of the eleventh diaphragm valve is oriented in the direction of the twelfth and thirteenth diaphragm valves.

11. The system of claim 10, wherein a pressure transducer is positioned between the seventh and the eighth diaphragm valves, and wherein a vacuum transducer is positioned between the tenth and the thirteenth diaphragm valves.

12. The system of claim 9, wherein a chemical inflow diaphragm valve regulates the flow of the high purity chemical from the source of the high purity chemical to the second manifold, and wherein a chemical outflow diaphragm valve regulates the flow of the high purity chemical from the second manifold to the manufacturing tool.

13. The system of claim 12, wherein the chemical inflow valve has the diaphragm side oriented in the direction of the source of the high purity chemical, and wherein the chemical outflow valve has the diaphragm side oriented in the direction of the manufacturing tool.

14. The system of claim 9, wherein the high purity container stores the high purity chemical, wherein a fourteenth valve is interposed between the sixth diaphragm valve and the second end, regulating delivery of the high purity chemical to the manufacturing tool, wherein the high purity chemical is further stored in an intermediate container situated between the high purity container and the manufacturing tool, wherein a third manifold is in flow communication with the intermediate container and with a fourth manifold, the third manifold comprising a plurality of diaphragm valves disposed in relation to the intermediate container and the fourth manifold as the diaphragm valves in the first manifold in relation to the high purity container and the second manifold, and wherein the fourth manifold is in flow communication with the manufacturing tool and to sources of push gas, purge gas, vacuum, and vent.

15. The system of claim 14, wherein the third manifold is detachably connected to the intermediate container.

16. The system of claim 1, wherein the fourth diaphragm valve is connected to the sources of vacuum and vent by being in flow communication with the third diaphragm valve.

17. The system of claim 16, wherein the fourth diaphragm valve is connected to the sources of vacuum and vent by being in flow communication with the third diaphragm valve and with the side of the second diaphragm valve oriented in the direction of the high purity container.

18. The system of claim 16, wherein the fourth diaphragm valve is connected to the sources of vacuum and vent by being in flow communication with the side of the third diaphragm valve oriented in the direction of the third end.

19. The system of claim 1, wherein the fifth diaphragm valve is further in flow communication with a solvent delivery system, and wherein the twelfth and thirteenth diaphragm valves are further in flow communication with a solvent recovery system.

20. The system of claim 19, wherein the solvent delivery system is mobile or stationary.

21. The system of claim 19, wherein the solvent delivery system is refill capable.

22. The system of claim 1, wherein the system is adapted for delivering a high purity chemical in liquid form to the manufacturing tool.

23. The system of claim 1, wherein the system is adapted for delivering a high purity chemical in vapor form to the manufacturing tool.

24. The system of claim 23, wherein the second diaphragm valve is in flow communication with the outlet port at one side, and with the third end and the third diaphragm valve at the other side.

25. The system of claim 23, wherein the fourth diaphragm valve is in flow communication at one side with the side of the first diaphragm valve oriented in the direction of the inlet port, and at the other side with the side of the second diaphragm valve oriented in the direction of the second end.

26. The system of claim 1, wherein two or more diaphragm valves are structured as multi-valve blocks.

27. The system of claim 1, wherein one or more diaphragm valves are surface mounted on a component block.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

The present application is a continuation-in-part of patent applications Ser. No. 10/890,550 filed on Jul. 13, 2004 and titled “Purgeable Manifold System,” Ser. No. 10/909,854 filed on Aug. 2, 2004 and titled “System and Method for Purging High Purity Interfaces,” and Ser. No. 11/160,801 filed on Jul. 10, 2005 and titled “Method for Purging a High Purity Manifold,” all of which are incorporated herein by reference.

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

Not applicable.

REFERENCE TO A COMPUTER LISTING, A TABLE, OR A COMPUTER PROGRAM LISTING COMPACT DISK APPENDIX

Not applicable.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention is related to a system for purging high purity interfaces. More specifically, the present invention is related to a manifold system connected to a container for storing a high purity, low vapor pressure chemical, wherein the disposition of the various components within the manifold system causes potential areas of entrapment of the chemical to be substantially eliminated.

2. Description of Related Art

Certain manufacturing processes require the use of chemicals having high purity levels. One example is semiconductor manufacturing, which requires the distribution of chemicals under high purity conditions, in order to avoid unwanted contamination during the semiconductor fabrication process and to maintain desired quality levels, increasing process yields.

High purity chemicals employed in semiconductor fabrication may be low pressure chemicals, pyrohoric chemicals, or flammable chemicals such as tetrakis(dimethylamido) titanium (TDMAT), tetrakis(diethylamino) titanium (TDEAT), tantalum pentaethoxide (TAETO), copper hexafluoroacetylacetonate-trimethylvinylsilane (Cu(hfac)TMVS), tetramethyltetracyclosiloxane (TMCTS), tetraethyl ortosilicate (TEOS), and trimethylphosphate (TMP). These chemicals are typically stored in containers having a capacity varying from 100 milliliters to 200 liters and known in the industry by a variety of common and trade names such as “canisters,” “ampoules,” or “hosts.” The high purity chemical may be delivered to manufacturing tools either through a liquid process or through a chemical vapor process, also known as a “bubbler” process.

With the liquid process, the high purity chemical is delivered to the manufacturing tool by injecting a push gas (generally, an inert gas such as nitrogen, helium or another noble gas) through a manifold system having a plurality of diaphragm valves and then into the container of the chemical, entering the container through an inlet port and becoming housed inside the container in the headspace above the low vapor pressure chemical, which is stored in liquid state. This inflow of push gas generates an increase in gas pressure inside the container and causes the liquid chemical to be ejected from the container through a diptube immersed in the high purity chemical, exiting the container through an outlet port and entering the manifold system connected to the container. The high purity chemical is eventually delivered to the manufacturing tool, either directly or by entering an intermediate, “refill” container, from which it is eventually ejected through the injection of push gas.

With the chemical vapor process, a push gas (generally, an inert gas such as nitrogen, helium or another noble gas) is injected into the container through a manifold system connected to the container and bubbles out of a diptube immersed in the low vapor pressure chemical. The container is heated, in order to favor evaporation of the chemical, and the bubbling mixture of gas and high purity chemical exits the container through a second manifold to be delivered to a process tool.

From time to time, it is necessary to replace and clean the container storing the liquid chemical, for instance, due to maintenance requirements, or due to decomposition of the low vapor chemical within the container, or for other reasons. Before detaching the container from the delivery lines connected to the manufacturing tools, the high purity chemical must be completely removed from the points of connection between the manifold valves and the delivery lines. Typically, the high purity chemical is evacuated and purged through a multi-step procedure comprising sequences of blow cycles, which push the residual chemical into the container, and of vacuum cycles, which vaporize and remove the chemical particles trapped into the manifolds. In some instances, a solvent is also injected into the manifold system during the purge cycle. Because of the high level of decontamination required, and because some of the chemical may remain trapped within the interstices, or dead spaces, of the system, this procedure is extremely time consuming and affects process yields considerably.

Therefore, there is a need for a manifold system that can be purged with reduced cycle times.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention teaches a system for purging interfaces in high purity chemical delivery systems and may be embodied in a variety of forms.

In one embodiment, a system for purging high purity interfaces comprises a first manifold detachably connected to a high purity container and to a second manifold. The high purity container comprises an inlet port and an outlet port and the first manifold comprises a plurality of diaphragm valves.

In particular, the first manifold comprises a first diaphragm valve connected to the inlet port of the high purity container at one side, and to a first end of the second manifold and to sources of vacuum and vent at the other side. The first manifold further comprises a second diaphragm valve connected to the outlet port of the high purity container at one side and to a second and a third ends of the second manifold at the other side.

A third diaphragm valve is interposed between the second diaphragm valve and the third end, and a fourth diaphragm valve is interposed between the first diaphragm valve and the sources of vacuum and vent. In turn, the first end is connected to sources of a high purity chemical, push gas, and purge gas, and one or more diaphragm valves are interposed between the first end and the sources of the high purity chemical, push gas, and purge gas.

The second end is connected to a manufacturing tool and to sources of vacuum and vent, while one or more diaphragm valves are interposed between the second end, the manufacturing tool, and the sources of vacuum and vent. At the same time, the third end is connected to the sources of vacuum and vent, and one or more diaphragm valves are interposed between the third end and the vacuum and vent sources.

A primary aspect of the present invention is to teach a system for purging high purity interfaces system that is simple to construct and that does not require the use of costly specialty valves.

Another aspect of the present invention is to teach a method for purging high purity interfaces that is simple to perform and that is faster and more economical that the methods in the prior art.

A further aspect of the present invention is to teach a system for purging high purity interfaces, in which potential areas of entrapment of the low vapor pressure chemical within the system are substantially eliminated.

Yet another aspect of the present invention is to teach a system for purging high purity interfaces that is compact and that is suitable for use both with existing liquid and chemical vapor processes, as well as with solvent purge refill systems.

These and other aspects of the present invention will become apparent from a reading of the following description, and may be realized by means of the instrumentalities and combinations particularly pointed out in the appended claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS

The drawings constitute a part of this specification and include exemplary embodiments of the invention, which may be embodied in various forms. It is to be understood that in some instances various aspects of the invention may be shown exaggerated or enlarged to facilitate an understanding of the invention.

FIG. 1 illustrates a schematic diagram of a first embodiment of the invention, related to an embedded liquid system equipped with a refill capable purge path.

FIG. 2 illustrates a schematic diagram of a second embodiment of the invention, also related to an embedded liquid system equipped with a refill capable purge path.

FIG. 3 illustrates a schematic diagram of a third embodiment of the invention, also related to an embedded liquid system equipped with a refill capable purge path.

FIG. 4 illustrates a schematic diagram of the embodiment of FIG. 1 with the addition of auxiliary components.

FIGS. 5A-5C illustrate respectively a fourth, fifth, and sixth embodiments of the invention, each related to an embedded chemical vapor delivery system.

FIGS. 6A-6C illustrate respectively a seventh, eighth, and ninth embodiments of the invention, each related to an embedded solvent purge refill system.

FIGS. 7A-7C illustrate respectively a tenth, eleventh, and twelfth embodiments of the invention, each related to chemical delivery systems that include bulk and process containers.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Detailed descriptions of embodiments of the invention are provided herein. It should be understood, however, that the present invention may be embodied in various forms. Therefore, the specific details disclosed herein are not to be interpreted as limiting, but rather as a representative basis for teaching one skilled in the art how to employ the present invention in virtually any detailed system, structure, or manner.

In accordance with the present invention, there is shown in FIG. 1 a first embodiment 10 of the invention. An adapter manifold, identified hereinafter as first manifold 12, is connected to a high purity container 14, which is suited for storing a high purity chemical, for instance, one of the high purity chemicals used in the semiconductor manufacturing industry such as tetrakis(dimethylamido) titanium (TDMAT), tetrakis(diethylamino) titanium (TDEAT), tantalum pentaethoxide (TAETO), copper hexafluoroacetylacetonate-trimethylvinylsilane (Cu(hfac)TMVS), tetramethyltetracyclosiloxane (TMCTS), tetraethyl ortosilicate (TEOS), and trimethylphosphate (TMP). First embodiment 10 is particularly suited for use with a liquid manufacturing process, but one skilled in the art will appreciate that the present embodiment finds application in different types of industries using both different varieties of high purity chemicals and different types of manufacturing processes.

A container manifold 16 enables and regulates flow communication between container 14 and first manifold 16, and typically includes a first portion 18, which is connected to inlet port 20 of container 14, and a second portion 22, which is connected to outlet port 24 of container 14. Container valves 26 and 28 regulate flow respectively through first portion 18 and second portion 22. The connection between container manifold 16 and first manifold 12 may be detachable and be provided by a first low dead space connector 30, which enables flow communication between first manifold 12 and first portion 18, and by a second low dead space connector 32, which enables flow communication between first manifold 12 and second portion 22.

Low dead space connectors 30 and 32, and any other low dead space connectors described herein, may be of the VCR type, or of any other types available in the industry, including low obstruction design connectors such as Hy-Tech's Full Bore 002 and Fujikin's UPG connectors. Alternatively, container manifold 16 and first manifold 12 may be integrally joined, for instance, with welded joints or with uninterrupted conduits.

First manifold 12 is interposed between container manifold 16 and a second manifold 34. Connected to second manifold 34 are also a source of high purity chemical 36 and a source of push gas 38, such as nitrogen, helium or another noble gas, which is employed to push the high purity chemical from container 14 to a manufacturing tool 40. As shown, first manifold 12 provides chemical delivery system 10 with a refill capability, by providing for delivery of the high purity chemical from source 36 through a chemical inflow valve 70 into container 14. Further, second manifold 34 is connected to a source of purge gas 42, typically nitrogen, and to sources of vacuum and vent 44, which are used during the purge cycle of the first embodiment 10, as described in greater detail below.

All the connections between first manifold 12 and second manifold 34, namely, first connection 46, second connection 48, and third connection 50, are detachable and may be implemented by using of low dead space connectors.

Within first manifold 12, a first diaphragm valve 52 regulates flow communication (including flow of a pressurized gas during a purge cycle) between first segment 18, which is connected to one side of the first diaphragm valve 52, preferably the diaphragm side, and first connection 46 and a fourth diaphragm valve 58, which are connected to the other side of the first diaphragm valve 52, preferably the seat side. In turn, fourth diaphragm valve 58 regulates flow communication between first diaphragm valve 52, which is connected to one side of fourth diaphragm valve 58, preferably the seat side, and sources of vacuum and vent 44, which are connected to the other side of fourth diaphragm valve 58, preferably the diaphragm side.

It should be understood that flow communication between fourth valve 58 and sources of vacuum and vent 44 may be a direct communication, by which fourth diaphragm valve 58 is directly connected to sources of vacuum and vent 44 through one or more appropriate conduits, or an indirect communication, by which fourth diaphragm valve 58 is in flow communication with the conduit interposed between a third diaphragm valve 60 (described below) and third connection 50.

First manifold 12 further comprises a second diaphragm valve 62, which is in flow communication with second low dead space connector 32 and third diaphragm valve 60, connected to one side of second diaphragm valve 62, preferably the diaphragm side, and with second connection 48, connected to the other side of second diaphragm valve 62, preferably the seat side. In particular, third diaphragm valve 60 may be connected directly with one side of second diaphragm valve 62, or be connected with the conduit interposed between second diaphragm valve 62 and second low dead space connector 32.

A description of second manifold 34 follows. A fifth diaphragm valve 64 regulates flow communication between first connection 46 and also source of high purity chemical 36, which are connected to one side of fifth diaphragm valve 64, preferably the seat side, and with ninth diaphragm valve 80 and a seventh diaphragm valve 68, which are connected to the other side of fifth diaphragm valve 64, preferably the diaphragm side. Flow communication between source of high purity chemical 36 at the one side and first connection 46 and fifth diaphragm valve 64 at the other side is regulated by chemical inflow valve 70, which is a diaphragm valve preferably having the diaphragm side oriented in the direction of source of chemical 36 and the seat side oriented in the direction of fifth diaphragm valve 64 and first connection 46.

Seventh diaphragm valve 68 regulates flow communication between fifth diaphragm valve 64, which is connected to one side of seventh diaphragm valve 68, and source of purge gas 42, which is connected to the other side. Further, an eighth diaphragm valve 72 is interposed between fifth diaphragm valve 64 and source of push gas 38, regulating the flow of the push gas between source 38 and fifth diaphragm valve 64. A pressure transducer may be connected to the conduit between seventh diaphragm valve 68 and eighth diaphragm valve 72, while flow to pressure transducer 76 may be regulated by first transducer valve 78.

Sixth diaphragm valve 66 is in flow communication with fifth diaphragm valve 64 and a ninth diaphragm valve 80, which are connected to one side of sixth diaphragm valve 66, preferably the diaphragm side, and to manufacturing tool 40 and to second connection 48, which are connected to the other side of sixth diaphragm valve 66, preferably the seat side. A chemical outflow valve 82 regulates flow to manufacturing tool 40, and is preferably a diaphragm valve having the diaphragm side connected to manufacturing tool 40, and the seat side connected to sixth diaphragm valve 66 and second connection 48.

Tenth diaphragm valve 74 is in flow communication with source of purge gas 42 and with seventh diaphragm valve 68, which are connected to one side of tenth diaphragm valve 74, and with ninth diaphragm valve 80 and with sources of vacuum and vent 44, which are connected to the other side of tenth diaphragm valve 74. A flow constricting valve 84 (which may constrict flow of gas during a purge cycle) is interposed between tenth diaphragm valve 74 at one side, and with seventh diaphragm valve 68 and source of purge gas 42 at the other side. A thirteenth diaphragm valve 86 is also interposed between tenth diaphragm valve 74 at one side, and a twelfth diaphragm valve 90 and sources of vacuum and vent 44 at the other side. An eleventh diaphragm valve 88 is further interposed between thirteenth diaphragm valve 86 and sources of vacuum and vent 44, and preferably has the diaphragm side oriented in the direction of twelfth diaphragm valve 90.

Additionally, thirteenth diaphragm valve 86 is in flow communication with third end 50, while twelfth diaphragm valve 90 is interposed between third end 50 at one side, and eleventh valve 88 and thirteenth valve 86 at the other side. Therefore, when eleventh diaphragm valve 88 is in closed condition and twelfth diaphragm valve 90 is in open condition, flow can still move between third end 50 and thirteenth diaphragm valve 86, and vice versa.

A vacuum transducer 92 is positioned between ninth diaphragm valve 80 and thirteenth diaphragm valve 86, with a diaphragm valve 94 regulating flow between valves 80 and 86 and vacuum transducer 92.

The operation of first manifold 12 during a purge cycle will be appreciated by referring to the following Table I, which details a method of purging manifold 12. In Table I, the diaphragm valves are identified by the same reference numerals as in FIG. 1. In this table and in the following tables, “on” will identify an open condition of a valve, and “off” a closed condition.

TABLE I
E
ValveABCDEvaluate Rate
NumberBlowVacuumBlowEvacuateof Rise
74offoffoffoffoff
80offonoffonon
68onoffonoffoff
94offonoffonon
72offoffoffoffoff
66ononononon
64offoffoffoffoff
70offoffoffoffoff
82offoffoffoffoff
62ononononoff
58offoffoffoffoff
52offoffoffoffoff
60ononononoff
90ononononoff
88ononononoff
86offonoffonoff
28offoffoffoffoff
26offoffoffoffoff
J
ValveFGHIEvaluate Rate
NumberBlowVacuumBlowEvacuateof Rise
74offoffoffoffoff
80offonoffonon
68onoffonoffoff
94offonoffonon
72offoffoffoffoff
66offoffoffoffoff
64ononononon
70offoffoffoffoff
82offoffoffoffoff
62offoffoffoffoff
58ononononoff
52offoffoffoffoff
60offoffoffoffoff
90ononononoff
88ononononoff
86offonoffonoff
28offoffoffoffoff
26offoffoffoffoff

With specific reference to the above-described cycles A-J, the initial cycle's A-C is directed to purging the chemical delivery network through the use of purge gas received from source 42. Cycles A-C may be repeated as many times as deemed necessary according to the type of chemical being purged and the desired cleanliness level that is to be achieved. In particular, purge gas is injected into different branches of the manifold network in cycles A and C, venting through vent source 44, while vacuums is drawn from the manifold network from vacuum source 44. It should be observed that, when pressurized purge gas enters second manifold 34 and first manifold 12 at cycle C, first and second manifolds 12 and 34 are still essentially under vacuum conditions, due to the performance of previous cycle B. Consequently, because essentially no positive pressure is present in the system, the purge gas accelerates as it progresses through the system, increasing cleaning efficiency dramatically.

Cycles D-E are directed instead to verifying cleanliness. If the rate of rise (that is, the speed at which a pressure increase is measured within the system, due to the presence of residual chemical) is higher than a predetermined level, cycles A-C (and, consequently, D-E) are repeated as many times as required to obtain the desired cleanliness of the chemical delivery network.

Cycles F-H are directed to purging the pressurization network, and may also be repeated as many times as deemed necessary according to the type of chemical being purged and the level of cleanliness that is desired, in similar manner to cycles A-C. Cycles I-J are also directed to verifying cleanliness. If the rate of rise during these cycles exceeds a predetermined around, cycles F-H (and, consequently, I-J) are repeated as many times as necessary to obtain the desired degree of cleanliness, in similar manner to cycles D-E.

Referring now to FIG. 2, in which the same components are indicated with the same reference numerals as in FIG. 1, there is shown a second embodiment 96 of the invention. The difference between embodiments 10 and 96 resides in the first manifold, which is indicated by reference numeral 12 in embodiment 10 (FIG. 1) and by reference numeral 98 in embodiment 96 (FIG. 2). As will be apparent by comparing FIG. 1 with FIG. 2, the difference between embodiments 10 and 96 relates to the connection between fourth diaphragm valve 58 and the portion of the first manifold that is connected to first low dead space connector 30. In particular, in embodiment 10, fourth diaphragm valve 58 is in flow communication at one side with sources of vacuum and vent 44, and at the other side with that side of first diaphragm valve 52 that is oriented toward first connection 46. Instead, in embodiment 96, fourth diaphragm valve 58 is in flow communication with sources of vacuum and vent 44 at one side, and with the conduit that connects first diaphragm valve 52 with first low dead space connector 30 at the other side.

The operation of embodiment 96 is comparable to the operation of embodiment 10, and is also summarized in Table II.

TABLE II
E
ValveABCDEvaluate Rate
NumberBlowVacuumBlowEvacuateof Rise
74offoffoffoffoff
80offonoffonon
68onoffonoffoff
94offonoffonon
72offoffoffoffoff
66ononononon
64offoffoffoffoff
70offoffoffoffoff
82offoffoffoffoff
62ononononoff
58offoffoffoffoff
52offoffoffoffoff
60ononononoff
90ononononoff
88ononononoff
86offonoffonoff
28offoffoffoffoff
26offoffoffoffoff
J
ValveFGHIEvaluate Rate
NumberBlowVacuumBlowEvacuateof Rise
74offoffoffoffoff
80offonoffonon
68onoffonoffoff
94offonoffonon
72offoffoffoffoff
66offoffoffoffoff
64ononononon
70offoffoffoffoff
82offoffoffoffoff
62offoffoffoffoff
58ononononoff
52ononononoff
60offoffoffoffoff
90ononononoff
88ononononoff
86offonoffonoff
28offoffoffoffoff
26offoffoffoffoff

Referring now to FIG. 3, there is shown a third embodiment 100 of the invention, in which the same components are also indicated with the same reference numerals as in embodiment 10 depicted in FIG. 1. The difference between embodiment 10 and embodiment 100 still resides in the first manifold, indicated by reference numeral 12 in embodiment 10 and by reference numeral 102 in embodiment 100. In particular, in both embodiments 10 and 100, fourth diaphragm valve 58 is connected to first diaphragm valve 52 and first connection 46 at one side. Instead, in embodiment 10, fourth diaphragm valve 58 is directly connected to sources of vacuum and vent 44 in embodiment 10, while it is connected to third diaphragm valve 60 (either by being in flow communication with one side of second diaphragm valve 62 or not) in embodiment 100, becoming connected to the sources of vent and vacuum 44 only indirectly through third diaphragm valve 60.

The method of operation of third embodiment 100 is the same as first embodiment 10, and is also summarized in Table III.

TABLE III
E
ValveABCDEvaluate Rate
NumberBlowVacuumBlowEvacuateof Rise
74offoffoffoffoff
80offonoffonon
68onoffonoffoff
94offonoffonon
72offoffoffoffoff
66ononononon
64offoffoffoffoff
70offoffoffoffoff
82offoffoffoffoff
62ononononoff
58offoffoffoffoff
52offoffoffoffoff
60ononononoff
90ononononoff
88ononononoff
86offonoffonoff
28offoffoffoffoff
26offoffoffoffoff
J
ValveFGHIEvaluate Rate
NumberBlowVacuumBlowEvacuateof Rise
74offoffoffoffoff
80offonoffonon
68onoffonoffoff
94offonoffonon
72offoffoffoffoff
66offoffoffoffoff
64ononononon
70offoffoffoffoff
82offoffoffoffoff
62offoffoffoffoff
58ononononoff
52offoffoffoffoff
60ononononoff
90ononononoff
88ononononoff
86offonoffonoff
28offoffoffoffoff
26offoffoffoffoff

One skilled in the art will recognize that a variety of auxiliary components may be added to the systems described in FIGS. 1-3, and that the inclusion of such different auxiliary components is still within the scope of the present invention. For example, there is shown in FIG. 4 a fourth embodiment 104 of the invention, which relates to the same system as first embodiment 10 of FIG. 1, but in which pressure relief valves 106 and 108, and pressure regulators 110 and 112 are added. Embodiment 104 also illustrates that more than one manufacturing tools may be connected to the system in second embodiment 104, for example, three as shown, flow to which is regulated respectively by diaphragm valves 114, 116, and 1 18.

While the embodiments of FIGS. 1-3 have been described with reference to liquid systems, the structures of the first and second manifolds are equally suitable for use with chemical vapor systems, or in solvent purge refill systems.

With specific reference to FIGS. 5A-5C, there are shown embodiments 120 (FIG. 5A), 112 (FIG. 5B) and 124 (FIG. 5C) that illustrate the same embodiments as in FIGS. 1-3, but that are structured for chemical vapor systems rather than for liquid systems. For ease of reading, like components in FIGS. 5A-5C are indicated with the same reference numbers as in FIGS. 1-3. In these embodiments, second diaphragm valve 62 may be in flow communication with third end 50 at the side oriented in the direction of second end 48 (FIG. 5B), and fourth diaphragm valve 58 may be in flow communication at one side with the side of first diaphragm valve 52 oriented in the direction of inlet port 20, and at the other side with the side of second diaphragm valve 62 oriented in the direction of second end 48.

The invention will be described in detail within the context of a chemical vapor system by using embodiment 120 as an exemplary embodiment. A carrier gas is fed into the high purity chemical delivery system at carrier gas source 38, entering the system through second manifold 34 and successively flowing into container 14 through first connector 46, first manifold 12 and dip tube 126. The carrier gas causes the high purity chemical stored in container 14 to bubble and facilitates the evaporation of the high purity chemical, which is maintained at a temperature suitable for evaporation. In order to achieve and maintain a temperature suitable for evaporation, a heating/insulating jacket 128 is disposed around container 14.

Vapors of the high purity chemical exit container 14 through outlet port 24 and flow through first manifold 12, in particular, through second diaphragm valve 62. These vapors exit first manifold 12 at second connector 48, and eventually flow to the manufacturing tool(s) through chemical outflow valve 82. A pressure controller 136 is optionally disposed between chemical outflow valve 82 and the manufacturing tool(s).

The functions and preferred dispositions of the seat and diaphragm sides of the diaphragm valves within embodiment 120 are the same as within embodiment 10. Likewise, the functions and preferred dispositions of the diaphragm valves in embodiment 122 are the same as in embodiment 96, and the functions and preferred dispositions of the diaphragm valves in embodiment 124 are the same as in embodiment 100.

The following Table IV details the on/off conditions of the diaphragm valves in embodiment 120, depicted in FIG. 5A, during a purge cycle.

TABLE IV
E
ValveABCDEvaluate
Number Blow Vacuum Blow Evacuate Rate of Rise
74offoffoffoffoff
80offonoffonon
68onoffonoffoff
94offonoffonon
72offoffoffoffoff
66ononononon
64offoffoffoffoff
70offoffoffoffoff
82offoffoffoffoff
62offoffoffoffoff
58ononononoff
52ononononoff
60offoffoffoffoff
90ononononoff
88ononononoff
86offonoffonoff
28offoffoffoffoff
26offoffoffoffoff
J
ValveFGHIEvaluate Rate
NumberBlowVacuumBlowEvacuateof Rise
74offoffoffoffoff
80offonoffonon
68onoffonoffoff
94offonoffonon
72offoffoffoffoff
66offoffoffoffoff
64ononononon
70offoffoffoffoff
82offoffoffoffoff
62ononononoff
58offoffoffoffoff
52offoffoffoffoff
60ononononoff
90ononononoff
88ononononoff
86offonoffonoff
28offoffoffoffoff
26offoffoffoffoff

As in the case of embodiment 10 (illustrated in FIGS. 1, 2, and 3), embodiment 120, (illustrated in FIG. 5A) may be purged with cycles A-J of Table IV. In particular, cycles A-C are directed to purging the manifold network through the use of purge gas delivered from source 42. Cycles A-C may be repeated as many times as deemed necessary according to the type of chemical being purged and to the desired level of cleanliness.

More specifically, purge gas is injected into different branches of the manifold network in cycles A and C, venting through vent source 44. Likewise, vacuum is drawn from the system through vacuum source 44. In cycle C, when pressurized purge gas enters the second and first manifolds, no resistance is essentially encountered by the purge gas, because vacuum was drawn during previous cycle B. Consequently, the purge gas accelerates as it progresses through the system, significantly increasing cleaning efficiency.

Cycles D-E are directed to verifying cleanliness. If the rate of rise (that is, the speed at which a pressure increase is measured within the system, due to the presence of residual chemical) is higher than a predetermined amount, cycles A-C (and, consequently, D-E) are repeated as many times as required to obtain the desired cleanliness of the first and second manifolds.

Cycles F-H are directed to purging the pressurization network, and may also be repeated as many times as deemed necessary according to the type of chemical being purged and of the desired level of cleanliness, in similar fashion to cycles A-C.

Finally, cycles I-J are directed to verifying cleanliness. If the rate of rise exceeds a predetermined amount, cycles F-H (and, consequently, I-J) are repeated as many times as required to obtain the desired cleanliness of the pressurization network, similarly to cycles D-E.

The following Tables V and VI summarize the purge cycles for embodiment 122 depicted in FIG. 5B (Table V), and 124 depicted in FIG. 5C (Table VI).

TABLE V
E
ValveABCDEvaluate
NumberBlowVacuumBlowEvacuateRate of Rise
74offoffoffoffoff
80offonoffonon
68onoffonoffoff
94offonoffonon
72offoffoffoffoff
66ononononon
64offoffoffoffoff
70offoffoffoffoff
82offoffoffoffoff
62offoffoffoffoff
58ononononoff
52ononononoff
60offoffoffoffoff
90ononononoff
88ononononoff
86offonoffonoff
28offoffoffoffoff
26offoffoffoffoff
J
ValveFGHIEvaluate
NumberBlowVacuumBlowEvacuateRate of Rise
74offoffoffoffoff
80offonoffonon
68onoffonoffoff
94offonoffonon
72offoffoffoffoff
66offoffoffoffoff
64ononononon
70offoffoffoffoff
82offoffoffoffoff
62offoffoffoffoff
58offoffoffoffoff
52offoffoffoffoff
60ononononoff
90ononononoff
88ononononoff
86offonoffonoff
28offoffoffoffoff
26offoffoffoffoff

TABLE VI
E
ValveABCDEvaluate Rate
NumberBlowVacuumBlowEvacuateof Rise
74offoffoffoffoff
80offonoffonon
68onoffonoffoff
94offonoffonon
72offoffoffoffoff
66ononononon
64offoffoffoffoff
70offoffoffoffoff
82offoffoffoffoff
62ononononoff
58ononononoff
52ononononoff
60ononononoff
90ononononoff
88ononononoff
86offonoffonoff
28offoffoffoffoff
26offoffoffoffoff
J
ValveFGHIEvaluate Rate
NumberBlowVacuumBlowEvacuateof Rise
74offoffoffoffoff
80offonoffonon
68onoffonoffoff
94offonoffonon
72offoffoffoffoff
66offoffoffoffoff
64ononononon
70offoffoffoffoff
82offoffoffoffoff
62ononononoff
58offoffoffoffoff
52offoffoffoffoff
60ononononoff
90ononononoff
88ononononoff
86offonoffonoff
28offoffoffoffoff
26offoffoffoffoff

Referring now to FIGS. 6A-6C, there are shown embodiments 130, 132, and 134 that relate to the application of the present invention to solvent purge refill systems. Within embodiments 130, 132, and 134, the same components are indicated with the same reference numerals as in embodiments 10, 96, and 100. The structure of embodiment 130 reflects the structure of embodiments 10, except for the solvent purge refill components, and the structures of embodiments 132 and 134 reflect respectively the structures of embodiments 96 and 100, also except the solvent purge refill components.

More particularly, making specific reference to embodiment 130 illustrated in FIG. 6A, solvent inflow diaphragm valve 136 (through which solvent enters the system) is disposed within the delivery system to create flow communication with solvent outflow diaphragm valve 138 (through which solvent exists the system). Preferably, the side of fifth diaphragm valve 64 connected to solvent inflow diaphragm valve 136 is the diaphragm side, and the side of eleventh diaphragm valve 88 connected to solvent outflow valve 138 is the seat side. The solvent is typically delivered from a solvent delivery system, which may be mobile or stationary, and, after flowing through system 130, is recovered in a solvent recovery system. Additionally, the solvent delivery system may be mobile or stationary.

In embodiments 132 and 134, solvent inflow diaphragm valve 136 and solvent outflow diaphragm valve 138 are disposed in the same positions as in embodiment 130.

The purging cycle of embodiment 130 is summarized in the following Table VII, in which cycles A, B, D, E, F, G and J perform the same functions as in Tables I and II, and in which cycles C2 and H2 respectively correspond to cycles C and H in Tables I and II. In cycles C1 and H1, solvent is introduced in the system, to be removed during cycles C2 and H2.

TABLE VII
C1C2E
ValveABInjectRemoveDEvaluate Rate
NumberBlowVacuumSolventSolventEvacuateof Rise
74offoffoffoffoffoff
80offonoffoffonon
68onoffoffonoffoff
94offonoffoffonon
72offoffoffoffoffoff
136 offoffonoffoffoff
64offoffoffoffoffoff
66onononononon
70offoffoffoffoffoff
82offoffoffoffoffoff
62offoffoffoffoffoff
58offoffoffoffoffoff
52ononoffononoff
60ononoffononoff
90ononoffononoff
88ononoffoffonoff
138 offoffoffonoffoff
86offonoffoffonoff
28offoffoffoffoffoff
26offoffoffoffoffoff
H1H2J
ValveFGInjectRemoveIEvaluate Rate
NumberBlowVacuumSolventSolventEvacuateof Rise
74offoffoffoffoffoff
80offonoffoffonon
68onoffoffonoffoff
94offonoffoffonon
72offoffoffoffoffoff
136 offoffonoffoffoff
64onononononon
66offoffoffoffoffoff
70offoffoffoffoffoff
82offoffoffoffoffoff
62offoffoffoffoffoff
58ononoffononoff
52offoffoffoffoffoff
60offoffoffoffoffoff
90ononoffononoff
88ononoffoffonoff
138 offoffoffonoffoff
86offonoffoffonoff
28offoffoffoffoffoff
26offoffoffoffoffoff

The purging cycles of embodiments 132 (depicted in FIG. 6B) and 134 (depicted in FIG. 6C) are summarized instead in the following Tables VIII and IX.

TABLE VIII
C1C2E
ValveABInjectRemoveDEvaluate Rate
NumberBlowVacuumSolventSolventEvacuateof Rise
74offoffoffoffoffoff
80offonoffoffonon
68onoffoffonoffoff
94offonoffoffonon
72offoffoffoffoffoff
136 offoffoffoffoffoff
64offoffoffoffoffoff
66onononononon
70offoffoffoffoffoff
82offoffoffoffoffoff
62offoffoffoffoffoff
58offoffoffoffoffoff
52ononoffononoff
60ononoffononoff
90ononoffononoff
88ononoffoffonoff
138 offoffoffonoffoff
86offonoffoffonoff
28offoffoffoffoffoff
26offoffoffoffoffoff
H1H2J
ValveFGInjectRemoveIEvaluate
NumberBlowVacuumSolventSolventEvacuateRate of Rise
74offoffoffoffoffoff
80offonoffoffonon
68onoffoffonoffoff
94offonoffoffonon
72offoffoffoffoffoff
136 offoffonoffoffoff
64onononononon
66offoffoffoffoffoff
70offoffoffoffoffoff
82offoffoffoffoffoff
62ononoffononoff
58ononoffononoff
52offoffoffoffoffoff
60offoffoffoffoffoff
90ononoffononoff
88ononoffoffonoff
138 offoffoffonoffoff
86offonoffoffonoff
28offoffoffoffoffoff
26offoffoffoffoffoff

TABLE IX
C1C2E
ValveABInjectRemoveDEvaluate Rate
NumberBlowVacuumSolventSolventEvacuateof Rise
74offoffoffoffoffoff
80offonoffoffonon
68onoffoffonoffoff
94offonoffoffonon
72offoffoffoffoffoff
136 offoffonoffoffoff
64offoffoffoffoffoff
66onononononon
70offoffoffoffoffoff
82offoffoffoffoffoff
62offoffoffoffoffoff
58offoffoffoffoffoff
52ononoffononoff
60ononoffononoff
90ononoffononoff
88ononoffoffonoff
138 offoffoffonoffoff
86offonoffoffonoff
28offoffoffoffoffoff
26offoffoffoffoffoff
H1H2J
ValveFGInjectRemoveIEvaluate
NumberBlowVacuumSolventSolventEvacuateRate of Rise
74offoffoffoffoffoff
80offonoffoffonon
68onoffoffonoffoff
94offonoffoffonon
72offoffoffoffoffoff
136 offoffonoffoffoff
64onononononon
66offoffoffoffoffoff
70offoffoffoffoffoff
82offoffoffoffoffoff
62offoffoffoffoffoff
58ononoffononoff
52offoffoffoffoffoff
60ononoffononoff
90ononoffononoff
88ononoffoffonoff
138 offoffoffonoffoff
86offonoffoffonoff
28offoffoffoffoffoff
26offoffoffoffoffoff

The embodiments described hereinbefore relate to “embedded” chemical delivery systems, in which a single container of the high purity chemical is directly connected to the manufacturing tool(s). The present invention is equally applicable to “bulk delivery” systems, which include more that one container for the high purity chemical, and in which the high purity chemical is fed from a bulk storage container (the “bulk container”) to a container supplying the manufacturing tool(s) (the “process container”).

With specific reference to FIGS. 7A-7C, there are shown embodiments 140, 142, and 144, each of which includes a bulk container and a process container. One skilled in the art will recognize that the first and second manifolds in embodiments 140, 142, and 144 are comparable in structure and operation respectively to those of embodiments 10, 96, and 100. For example, first manifolds 146 and 148 in embodiment 140 are comparable in structure and operation to first manifold 12 of embodiment 10, and second manifolds 150 and 152 in embodiment 140 are comparable in structure and operation to second manifold 34 in embodiment 1O. The purge cycle for embodiment 140 is the same as for embodiment 10, except that in embodiment 140 the purge cycle of embodiment 10 is first performed on the manifolds connected to bulk container 154, and then is repeated on the manifolds connected to process container 156. The purge cycles for embodiments 142 and 144 are likewise the same as for embodiments 96 and 100, except that each of those purge cycles are first performed on the manifolds connected to the bulk container and then on the manifolds connected to the process container.

It should be observed that any of the above embodiments may be practiced by using not only a plurality of individual diaphragm valves, but also by grouping some of the above-described valves in blocks, for example, in two or three valve blocks. Likewise, some or all of the diaphragm valves may be surface mounted on blocks that incorporate different system parts.

While the invention has been described in connection with a number of embodiments, it is not intended to limit the scope of the invention to the particular forms set forth, but on the contrary, it is intended to cover such alternatives, modifications, and equivalents as may be included within the scope of the invention.