The CNMS Nanofabrication Research Laboratory houses 10,000 ft2 of class 100/1000 clean room space for carrying out material modification using advanced lithographic, etching, thin-film deposition, and characterization tools.

Process Design

  • Assistance with design of process flow to implement users’ device concepts using the facilities housed in the CNMS Nanofabrication Research Laboratory.

E-Beam Lithography

  • JEOL 9300FS 100kV Electron Beam Lithography System writes at rates up to 50Mhz and has a nominal spot size approaching 4nm. Field sizes up to 1mm can be written without stage movement. Layout BEAMER© is used for file conversion and proximity correction. High speed, large area writes with limited beam drift and variation across a wafer are a highlight of this tool. Operation at high energy (100kV) allows writing on insulated substrates with minimal or no dissipation layer.

Dual-beam SEM/FIB

  • FEI Novalab 600 Dual-Beam (electron/ion) System equipped with multiple gas sources, a gallium ion source and variable energy electron source, is used for scanning electron microscopy, focused ion beam milling, and electron beam induced deposition (EBID) and etching processes. An additional optical source allows high-resolution optical imaging and local heating of samples for in situ purification of EBID deposited materials.

3D Direct-Write Fabrication

  • Nanoscribe Pro GT laser lithography system enables deterministic sculpting of arbitrarily shaped nano- and micro- structures in 3D with spatial resolution as high as 200 nm along each axis within a total volume up to a few mm3. The tool is equipped with an 800-nm femtosecond laser that enables two-photon polymerization of many standard positive-tone photoresists as well as appropriately formulated user supplied photo-crosslinkable precursors. Additional direct write modes of operation include photothermal and photocatalytic transformations in thin films and nanophase materials.

First Nano Rapid Thermal Processor (RTP)

  • This tool is an infrared lamp heating system capable of controlled ramp rates or rapid maximum ramp rates approaching 100ºC per second. Samples can be heated in excess of 1200ºC in various ambient conditions and pressures ranging from 10mTorr to atmospheric pressure. The RTP is used to modify the functional properties of substrates and thin films.

       Specific examples include:

  • Growth of nanomaterials on lithographically defined metal thin-films.
  • Modulation of thin film stress.
  • Modulation of as-deposited thin film stoichiometry via reduction and/or oxidation.
  • Reflow of materials during annealing.
  • Driving of dopants into materials to control electrical behavior and/or etch sensitivity.

Oxford FlexAL Plasma Atomic Layer Deposition System (ALD)

  • The ALD process is a true “nano” technology allowing for precise deposition of ultra-thin films of a few nanometers in thickness. The two defining characteristics of ALD are self-limiting layer by layer growth and highly conformal coating of extreme high aspect ratio topography. The addition of plasma capability allows for ALD processing temperatures as low as 30ºC.
  • ALD Materials Available
  • Aluminum Oxide
  • Aluminum Nitride
  • Hafnium Oxide
  • Hafnium Nitride
  • Silicon Oxide
  • Titanium Oxide
  • Vanadium Oxide

Helium-ion Milling, Microscopy, Imaging

  • Zeiss Orion NanoFab
    The Zeiss Orion Nanofab helium-ion microscope (HIM) features three primary capabilities: imaging, detailed ion-milling/patterning using He-ions, and high-rate milling using heavier Neon ions. It is located in the CNMS cleanroom to facilitate clean transfer of samples.

    This instrument has the ability to image, in the manner of an SEM, at unprecedented resolution and with high surface sensitivity; and the ability to pattern through direct ion-milling and exposure of lithographic resists, down to feature sizes of about 5 nm. The instrument is complementary to a Focused Ion Beam (FIB), but capable of feature sizes 10-20 times smaller. Scientifically, the instrument allows users to explore entirely new types of devices and engineered nanostructures that cannot be fabricated with other techniques.
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General Cleanroom Use

  • Heidelberg DWL 66 Direct-Write Lithography Tool  primarily used for the production of contact lithographic masks used with a Quintel Contact Lithography Tool, but can also be used for direct-write and grayscale lithographies.  Three writing heads are available to allow both rapid mask production and high resolution.  Features as small as 600 nm have been reproduced using contact lithography.
  • Oxford Plasmalab 100 RIE/ICP Etcher with Chlorine, Fluorine and Cryogenic Processes
    Two tools that can be used for dry etching silicon, silicon dielectrics, metals, and III-V materials.  Conventional RIE and DRIE processes are available.   Additional processes for anisotropic etching of silicon with smooth sidewalls have been refined to use in combination with electron beam lithography to produce nanoporous barriers and high aspect ratio silicon nanostructures
  • Veeco Atomic Force Microscope for the characterization of nanoscale structures and patterns including nanopatterned monolayers and thin films.
  • EDAX energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy  (EDS)
    Attached to the FEI Novalab 600 Dual-Beam System this characterization tool facilitates elemental mapping of nonplanar samples. 
  • Rame-Hart model 590 automated goniometer quantifies changes in surface energy and wettability, providing essential measurement capabilities for preparing surfaces for use in microfluidic experiments.
  • Veeco Optical Profilometer
    Dynamic characterization of patterned materials and nanostructures is enabled by this versatile optical profilometry system with sub-nanometer resolution.
  • Oxford Plasmalab System 100 PECVD
    This tool is a plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition system (PECVD). It is used to deposit silicon oxide and silicon nitride thin films on single wafer samples. The addition of plasma to the CVD process allows for thin film deposition at much lower temperatures, typically 350ºC, although the tool is capable of processing temperatures up to 700ºC. The tool is also capable of dual frequency RF plasma generation which allows for tuning of silicon nitride film stress.
  • Tystar Furnace
    This tool is a batch process three-tube, high-temperature, horizontal furnace stack. The “stack” consists of three independent systems or tubes that can each process up to 50 wafers per run. It is capable of processing samples up to 8” in diameter.  Substrate materials used here are typically limited to clean silicon or quartz.
    • Tube 1 is an atmospheric pressure system dedicated to growing high purity thermal silicon dioxide (SiO2) thin films on silicon substrates. It is capable of processing temperatures up to 1150ºC.
    • Tube 2 is a low pressure chemical vapor deposition (LPCVD) system configured to deposit various high quality silicon nitride thin films. It is capable of processing temperatures up to 900ºC. This tool can deposit stoichiometric silicon nitride (Si3N4) or low stress non-stoichiometric silicon nitride. Film stress and/or stoichiometry can be tuned for specific applications.
    • Tube 3 is a low pressure chemical vapor deposition (LPCVD) system configured to deposit various oxides and silicon thin films. It is capable of processing temperatures up to 700ºC. This tool can deposit intrinsic poly-silicon, doped poly-silicon (N-Type), amorphous silicon, low temperature silicon oxide (LTO), and doped oxides such as borophosphosilicate glass (BPSG) and phosphosilicate glass(PSG).


  • ION-TOF NCS, AFM/FIB-ToF-SIMS consists of a high resolution time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometer (TOF-SIMS) including a 30keV BiMn cluster ion gun, 20keV Ar gas cluster source for dual-beam depth profiling and 3D analysis, dual-source O and Cs ion guns for low energy sputtering and thermal ionization and on-axis FIB tomography for very rough samples with a Ga ion source. The FIB-TOF-SIMS/SPM is capable of surface spectroscopy, surface imaging and depth profiling with co-registered in-situ SPM characterization. The coregistered SPM characterization includes non-contact mode analysis using MFM magnetic force microscopy, EFM electrostatic force microscopy, Kelvin probe microscopy; and in contact mode for topography, nanomechanical properties and conductivity.
  • Zeiss Orion Nanofab Helium Ion Microscope with SIMS features four primary capabilities: imaging, detailed ion-milling/patterning using He and Ne-ions, 3D direct write using gas and liquid precursors and chemical analysis using a doubly focusing magnetic sector secondary ion mass spectrometer (SIMS) with 4 separate detection channels. The microscope has down to 0.5 nm imaging resolution and down to 10 nm lateral chemical imaging resolution. The system is also equipped with Oxygen and Cs gas flooding to enhance SIMS signal.
  • Anasys Instruments NanoIR2-s is equipped with a 4-chip QCL laser and is capable of simultaneously providing AFM topographic imaging with nanometer-scale resolution infrared spectroscopy and IR imaging with sub-100nm spatial resolution, IR-SNOM with sub-20nm resolution. The instrument consists of an atomic force microscope designed for seamless integration with scattering Scanning Near Field Optical Microscopy (s-SNOM) and Atomic Force Microscopy Infrared (AFM-IR) techniques. In addition to nanoscale IR spectroscopy, the instrument can measure contact resonance frequencies of an AFM cantilever using the Lorentz Contact Resonance technique (LCR) in order to map variations in the sample’s mechanical properties; and provide local thermal properties via the nanoTA technique, for quantitative measurements of thermal transition temperatures at nanoscale spatial resolution.
  • Bruker Autoflex Speed II MALDI-ToF Imaging system is capable of imaging mass spectrometry (IMS) with a laser focus size between 10-100 μm with a mass resolution of >10,000 and a mass range of > 30,000.  The instrument is equipped MS/MS capability using (FAST/PSD) method with a mass accuracy of <0.4 Dalton on average. The resulting imaging data is analyzed by SCiLS Lab 2D Software.  The system must be capable of acquiring data in both the linear and reflectron configuration.
  • Zeiss Merlin VP Scanning Electron Microscope
    This SEM features variable-pressure capability to optimize studies of nonconductive samples or samples with low vapor pressures. Equipped with BF-STEM detector, surface profile backscatter imaging, and EDS spectroscopy.