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Nano Fabrication and Characterization Facility

For more information about the Nano Fabrication and Characterization Facility capabilities and usage please contact:
Dr. Damon Smith
4.116 NST
1 University Station A5500
Austin, TX 78712
(512) 232-3694

Located in the NST building, the fabrication and characterization facility consists of 3,000 square feet of Class 100/1000 clean room facility.

Current instruments include:


FEI Strata™ DB235 SEM/FIB

SEM micrograph showing array of 115 holes drilled into a silicon wafer using the FEI Strata™ DB235 SEM/FIB located in the NST. Each hole is 500 nm in diameter. Color has been added for better visualization. Image courtesy of Damon Smith.

The FEI Strata™ DB235 is a dual beam SEM/FIB system combing a scanning electron microscope (SEM) with thermal emission tip for high resolution imaging and a focused ion beam (FIB) with gallium metal ion beam source for nanoscale cutting. The system is capable of:

·High Resolution SEM image with resolution ~3 nm (only to be used in conjunction with milling or other applications)

·Nanoscale cutting of structures using focused ion beam while simultaneously monitoring the progress using SEM.

·gas injection system for metal deposition (electron or ion beam induced deposition)

·TEM sample preparation

Gas injection SEM micrograph (with added color for visualization) of a germanium nanowire (green) connected to large gold electrodes with ion-beam deposited platinum wires. The platinum wires were directly written onto the substrate by cracking a platinum organo-metallic precursor with the gallium ion beam. Image courtesy Damon Smith

Raith 50 Electron Beam Lithography Tool

RAITH50 is a general purpose electron beam lithography tool used for research and develop- ments in the fields of MEMS and diffractive optical elements. The Raith 50 system is a research tool that can be used to pattern wafers of up to 2 inch. It uses finely focused beam of electrons to define structures with dimensions of 20 nm. It is equipped with a laser interferometer stage which facilitates precise multilevel lithography with automatic mark recognition and patterns to be stitched together. The nanolithography system can be used for mesoscopic and quantum device fabrication, or other ultra high resolution patterning.
·beam energy selectable between 500V-30kV

·LaB6 source with electrostatic beam blanker

·SEM operating mode for high resolution imaging

·fast pattern generator with up to 4MHz writing speed


Zyvex S100

SEM micrograph of a Germanium nanowire (blue) vibrating in response to an AC field applied from a Zyvex tungsten nanoeffector (top). The bottom nanoeffector is used to make contact to the nanowire. Image courtesy of Damon Smith.
The Zyvex S100 is a manipulation and testing tool used with a focused ion beam (FIB) system for micro- and nanoscale research and development applications.
The system consists of a state-of-the-art Zyvex Nanomanipulator, a control cabinet housing the PC and electronics, a joystick, and Windows based software to control the system. The S100 is specifically designed for research and development labs in universities, national facilities, and industry. The system is easily installed and removed by the user allowing the SEM/FIB to be quickly converted between imaging only and nanoscale manipulation applications. The system is also flexible enough to work with a wide range of electrical, mechanical, and other test equipment through the patch panel on its control cabinet.

The S100 has a coarse mode which provides controlled cartesian motion over large distances (12 mm of travel with 100 nm resolution) and a fine mode for extremely smooth and precise motion (100 microns of travel with 5 nm resolution) . Zyvex NanoEffector® Probes have a tip radius of 50 nm or better and a smooth taper to tip that allows multiple probes within a small area. Each positioner contains 5 I/O channels, for a total of 20 independent electrical connections inside the SEM.

Oxford Instruments Plasma Lab 80+

flexible, compact and economical solution for plasma etching and deposition processes. Allowing maximum process flexibility for compound semiconductor, optoelectronics, photonics, MEMS and microfluidics applications, the Plasmalab80Plus can be configured for inductively coupled plasma (ICP) etching and deposition (ICP-PECVD), reactive ion etching (RIE), plasma etching (PE) or plasma enhanced chemical vapour deposition (PECVD). The open load design allows for fast loading and unloading, ideal for prototyping and low volume production environments.

·Si cryo etch and Bosch deep Si etch for MEMS, microfluidics, Si waveguides, etc

·SiO2, SiNx NH3-free SiNx deposition and etch for hard mask, passivation, etc

·RIE of III-V photonics

·ICP-PECVD for low-temperature deposition of SiO2 and SiNx

Suss MA6 Mask Aligner

The Suss MA6 mask aligner provides several modes of contact that can be selected when exposing a photoresist coated wafer to the UV light source. Contact can be light, heavy or vacuum assisted. Additionally the user may expose with no contact at all using special mask holders equipped with precision machined stand-off flags. The 350W lamp provides even illumination with computer controlled intensity modulation to produce reliable exposures. Configured for top side alignment tooling for this system has been specified as the following:

·Mask sizes from 4-7 inches

·Substrates from 1"x1" to 6"/150mm in diameter

·Substrates to .25" thickness

J.A. Woollam M2000 Spectroscopic Ellipsometer

Very fast data acquisition with large spectral range. The M-2000D model can measure from 193nm to 1000nm. Measures enough wavelengths to obtain thickness from thick photoresists (up to 10 microns thick). The ideal instrument for fast thickness uniformity mapping and in-situ applications, such as real-time dissolution rate monitoring. This ellipsometer is capable of scanning areas ranging from 1cm2 to 6 in2 and patterns from single point scans to a 32+ point profile.

Dektak 6M Stylus Profilometer

The Dektak 6M Bench-Top Surface Profiler measures step heights on many surfaces, with a programmable stylus force down to 1 milligram and a Z-height capability up to 1 millimeter. Its low-inertia sensor delivers extremely accurate step height, surface roughness, and waviness measurements on samples up to 6 inches. Software provided with the system allows for sophisticated numerical filtering, and statistical processing. Some capabilities of the profilometer include:

·Computer interface to control operation

·Samples to 6" diameter

·25 micron stylus tip

Disco 321 Wafer Dicing Saw

The Disco dicing saw is automatic dicing saw capable of cutting wafers up to 6” diameter. High speed diamond blade produces accurate cuts with minimal chipping. Ultrapure water is flowed onto the blade to keep blade and sample cool during cutting.

Dicing Saw
Silicon hexadecagon (16-agon) cut using Disco 321 dicing saw in NST. Each cut’s kerf is 200 microns wide. Image courtesy of Adam Libson, Ed Narevicius, and Max Riedel.



Hirox 3d Video Microscope

The Hirox video microscope offers many possibilities for high resolution imaging at magnifications ranging from 35x-7000x. The Hirox is a video only microscope system that can capture single image frames at high resolution. Some capabilities of the Microscope include:

·Lenses and adapters with 3-D rotary head containing

·AD-5040RVS for variable angle view with magnification 50-400x

·AD-5040CS for co-axial lighting with magnification 50-400x

·And MX-10C coaxial zoom lens with interchangeable objective lenses with magnification ranges from 35x to 7000x, containing adapters with optical rotary and polarizer.

March Plasma CS1701F RIE etching system

The reactive ion etcher is capable of etching oxides, nitrides and III-V semiconductors as well as remove organic contamination for sample surfaces. The unit is outfitted with 4 mass flow controllers for reproducible gas flow. Currently the system is using CF4, SF6, O2, N2, and Ar etch chemistry.

Karl Suss PM 5 probe station

The Karl Suss PM 5 probe station consists of a stereo microscope, a 6 inch vacuum chuck which allows single chips as well as up to 6 inch wafers to be probed, 4 micromanipulators, and a light tight enclosure. It can be coupled to various test equipment for device testing such as I-V measurements.

Keithly 4200SCS

The Model 4200-SCS provides a total system solution for DC characterization of semiconductor devices and test structures. This advanced parameter analyzer provides intuitive and sophisticated capabilities for semiconductor device characterization. The 4200-SCS combines unprecedented measurement speed and accuracy with an embedded Windows NT- or XP based PC and the Keithley Interactive Test Environment (KITE) to provide a powerful single-box solution. Model 4200-SCS has:

·four Source-Measure Units, including two high power SMUs with 1A/20W capability

·Two high power SMU's with (200 V max) and two medium power SMU's (20V max)
·Unique remote preamps extend the resolution of SMUs to 0.1fA
·Self-contained PC provides fast test setup, power data analysis, graphing and printing, and onboard mass storage of test results.

Cary 5000UV-VIS NIR

The Cary 5000 UV-VIS NIR Spectrometer is a double beam, rapid scanning, high performance spectrometer with a wavelength range from 175 to 3300 nm useful for studying a variety of solution or semitransparent solids. The variable angle specular reflectance accessory (also known as grazing angle spectroscopy) enables analysis and measurement of films and coatings on metallic surfaces, including monolayers, and is a nondestructive method of analyzing large, bulky samples. The accessory is able to scan angles from 30° to 80° and also includes an optional polarizer to increase sensitivity.

Thermo Mattson Infinity Gold FTIR

Thermo Mattson Infinity Gold FTIR with Spectra-Tech Thermal ARK module. The ARK module is an attenuated total internal reflectance accessory with temperature control up to 100oC with 0.1oC accuracy. Transmission and reflectance spectroscopy accessories are available to collect FTIR spectra. A variety of materials including liquids, pastes, gels, powders, and organic and biological thin films and other opaque samples can easily be analyzed with the attenuated total reflectance (ATR) accessory. The samples can be heated prior to and during data acquisition.

Laurell Technologies Spincoater

The clean room spin coater is for spin coating of polymer materials for creating metal/polymer bilayers and spin coating of photoresist for patterning the photolithography process.


·Speed:100-8000 RPM.

·Can handle substrate sizes within a radius of 6” inch.

Quorum Technologies Critical Point Drier

Critical point drying is a standard method for preparing SEM samples. Specimens are dehydrated in a solvent such as ethanol, then placed in the CPD where the solvent is exchanged with liquid carbon dioxide. Raising the temperature of the sealed "bomb" raises the liquid carbon dioxide past the critical point, where the density of the liquid phase is equal to that of the vapor phase. This process avoids the surface tension effects of normal drying and so preserves the natural structure of the sample.


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