Lab Equipment


Reactive Ion Etcher (RIE): Trion Minilock III

Key Features:

  • Generates plasma for dry etching a wide range of materials
  • An ICP source allows higher density plasma to increase etch rate and anisotropy
  • A load lock allows users to exchange samples without venting the chamber, increasing safety and decreasing the chance of contamination
  • The system is fitted for 100 mm wafers, but can accommodate smaller samples mounted on a 100 mm wafer or up to 200 mm wafers with a simple modification
  • Process gases include argon, oxygen, chlorine, boron trichloride, carbon tetrafluoride, and sulfur hexafluoride

Key Applications:

  • Etching silicon-based materials (e.g., silicon oxide, silicon nitride, polysilicon), metal films (e.g., aluminum), and other substrate materials (e.g. gallium arsenide)
  • Using a photoresist mask, can transfer an etched pattern to the substrate
  • Stripping resist or other organic material using oxygen plasma

Plasma Cleaner: Plasmatic Systems Plasma-Preen

Key Features:

  • Generates oxygen plasma with variable power (50-700 W)
  • Timing and microwaves for generating plasma provided by a conventional microwave oven
  • Water cooled

Key Applications:

  • Plasma removes organic material from a surface
  • Typical for cleaning a substrate prior to, or following, fabrication steps to ensure proper deposition, bonding, etc.


Electron Beam Lithography System: Raith Pioneer

Key Features:

  • Beam size (resolution) ≤ 2.5 nm (≤ 1.6 nm)
  • Minimum feature size ≤ 20 nm
  • Field stitching ≤ 50 nm (mean+2σ)
  • Overlay accuracy (alignment) ≤ 50 nm (mean+2σ)
  • Laserstage travel range 50x50x25 mm
  • High-resolution SEM imaging

Key Applications:

  • Quantum physics, e.g. transport measurement of nanostructures
  • Nanoelectronics, e.g. spintronics
  • Nanophotonics & integrated optics, e.g. defect mode photonic crystals and quantum cascade laser
  • Plasmonics
  • Metamaterials
  • Nanofluidics
  • Nanobiotechnological or nanomedical devices, e.g. sensors, diagnostics, lab-on-a-chip

Maskless Lithographic System: Intelligent Micro-Patterning SF-100 XPress

Key Features:

  • Mercury arc lamp with 6-position filter wheel provides 365 nm or 434 nm exposure for compatibility with most commercial photoresists, polyimides, and SU-8
  • Integrated CCD camera for standard optical functions and autofocussing
  • Fully automated XYZ stage
  • Labwindows™-based software integrates all system functions
  • Rapid prototyping of new designs and ideas without the need for costly photomasks
  • 0.5 μm direct-write resolution

Key Applications:

  • Patterning sub-micron features
  • Photomask fabrication
  • Standard lithography processes

Photolithography Mask Aligner: Neutronix-Quintel NxQ4006

Key Features:

  • A 350 W UV lamp (Hg arc) exposes photoresist on a substrate through a standard glass mask down to sub-micron resolution
  • Accepts 100 mm wafers, 50 mm wafers, or smaller pieces (including glass slides) down to 2 mm
  • Accepts 5” square masks (can accommodate larger masks, but not substrates)
  • Can expose in pressure contact, vacuum contact, or separation (proximity) modes
  • Semi-automated sample loading brings the substrate into contact with the mask and self-levels with the push of a button
  • Lamp power can be adjusted to control light intensity
  • Dual monitors allows easy alignment of mask and substrate

Key Applications:

  • Patterning photoresists with sensitivity in the g-, h-, and i-lines (365-436 nm), which includes most common types (e.g. Shipley 1800 series, AZ nLOF2000 series, and SU-8 series)

Lithography Sample Preparation: laminar flow hood, spin coater, and baking plates

Key Features:

  • the Design Filtration Inc. Laminar Flow Hood houses a Polos SPIN150i Table Top Spin Coater, a PMC Dataplate digital hot plate, and a Torrey Pines Echoterm HS61A Programmable hot plate
  • Laminar flow hood:
    • 6-ft hood with overhead HEPA filter and modular deck plates
    • nitrogen spray gun in deck
    • deionized water from a faucet fed by a continuously recirculating water purification system
  • Spin coater:
    • unlimited number of programs with unlimited steps
    • 1-12,000 rpm in 1 rpm steps, ± 0.1 rpm accuracy
    • CW or CCW spin direction
    • 30,000 rpm/s max spin acceleration
    • polypropylene body with full-size touchscreen display, drain tube, and air purge
    • up to 160 mm diameter or 4”x4” square substrate
  • PMC hot plate:
    • 7”x7” aluminum plate
    • up to 1500 rpm magnetic stirring
    • up to 375 ˚C plate temperature
    • digital display
  • Torrey Pines hot plate:
    • 12”x12” aluminum plate
    • up to 1500 rpm magnetic stirring
    • up to 400 ˚C plate temperature
    • built-in timer with alarm and auto shut-off
    • fully programmable with multiple steps and temperature ramping
    • digital display

Key Applications:

  • Coating of substrates with resist for photolithography or e-beam lithography
  • Coating of devices with dielectric or insulating materials
  • Chemical cleaning of devices (e.g. RCA-1 clean)
  • Heat drying of samples


Physical Vapour Deposition (Sputter): Lesker PVD 75

Key Features:

  • Two DC and one RF sputter sources up to 300 W each can deposit up to three different materials without breaking vacuum
  • Argon and/or oxygen process gases
  • Turbo pump can bring the chamber down to <1 μTorr (<0.1 mPa)
  • Deposits thin films (~5-1000 nm, depending on application) on a substrate
  • Substrate heater up to 350 ˚C

Key Applications:

  • Depositing conductive materials for multilayer microchip fabrication, microelectronic circuits, MEMS, etc.
  • Depositing composites to form thin layers of functional materials
  • Common materials are aluminum, chromium, nickel, and titanium, but a wide variety of metallic and non-metallic materials are possible

Physical Vapour Deposition (Evaporator): Thermionics 3 kW Linear e-Gun

Key Features:

  • 3 kW electron-beam source
  • Cryogenic pump can bring the environment to <1 μTorr (<0.1 mPa)
  • Evenly deposits thin films (~5-1000 nm, depending on application) on a substrate
  • Accepts 100 mm wafers or smaller fragments
  • Individually addressable crucibles for depositing up to three different materials without losing vacuum

Key Applications:

  • Depositing conductive materials for multilayer microchip fabrication, microeletronic circuits, MEMS/NEMS, etc.
  • Common materials deposited are aluminum, gold, and chromium, but a wide variety of metallic and non-Metallic materials with appropriate vapour pressure are possible

Chemical Printing System: Sonoplot/GIX Microplotter II Nanoliter Printer

Key Features

  • Noncontact deposition
  • Feature size down to 5 μm
  • Viscosities up to 450 cP
  • True contiguous lines, arcs, and bends
  • Consistent spot size and shape, within 10%
  • 3-axis positional with 5 μm resolution
  • Integrated digital video capture
  • Automated surface calibration
  • Software for full automation and control
  • CAD layout tool

Key Application

  • Printed electronics
  • Rapid prototyping
  • Graphene/carbon nanotube printing
  • Additive repair
  • Polymer microstructure fabrication


Picosecond Laser Micromachining System: Oxford Lasers A Series

Key Features

  • Diode-pumped solid-state laser, 355 nm, 400 Hz, 6 ps pulse
  • Class 1 laser enclosure
  • 150 x 150 mm motorized travel XY stage
  • 10 μm resolution X & Y
  • 50 mm manual travel Z stage
  • 10-15 μm spot size

Key Applications

  • Laser cutting, drilling, and ablation on a variety of materials, such as semiconductors, glass, metal, polymer, and ceramic
  • Rapid prototyping for MEMS and microfluidic devices
  • Post-processing microelectronic and optical components


Stylus Profilometer: Bruker DektakXT

Key Features:

  • Diamond-tipped stylus with user-programmed scan length, speed, and force
  • Step height reproducibility of < 1 nm
  • 100 mm x 100 mm manual stage with up to 55 mm scan length
  • Accommodates samples up to 50 mm thick
  • Digital camera aids in alignment of stylus
  • Vision64 software aids in surface profile characterization

Key Applications:

  • Measuring height of resist on a substrate
  • Measuring thickness of material deposited by physical vapour deposition
  • Measuring the depth of etching by RIE or wet chemical etching
  • Measuring the roughness of a surface

Optical Microscope: Carl Zeiss Axio Imager A1m

Key Features:

  • Fitted with 10x eyepieces and 5x-100x objectives (50-1000x magnification)
  • Brightfield, darkfield, polarization contrast, and differential interference contrast (in circularly polarized light) techniques in a reflected light configuration
  • Camera and associated software allows photo capture and calibrated measurement

Key Applications:

  • Examining substrates and deposited coatings
  • Imaging designs written on a substrate by laser micromachining, photolithography, or e-beam lithography