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Lab Overview

 

Physical Laboratory

SNF is housed in the Paul G. Allen building. Originally constructed in 1985 with generous funding from the twenty founding industrial members of the CIS program, the facility added 52,000 square feet in a dramatic 1996 expansion funded by the Paul G. Allen Foundation.

The lab and its infrastructure extend over three floors. The class 100 cleanroom is 10,500 square feet in area and is vibration-isolated from the rest of the building. Air handlers and head exchangers are located in the floor above the cleanroom. Support equipment, such as chilled water, vacuum pumps, air compressors, and acid waste neutralizers, are remotely located in the basement below. Corrosive and toxic gases are located in a monitored gas pad, away from the main laboratory. The DI water plant, liquid gas storage tanks, and emergency power generators are located in an outdoor area adjacent to the building. Support facilities, such as the stockroom, semiclean labs and maintenance work areas, and staff offices, are located near the cleanroom.

In recent years, as the facility approached the 30 year mark, its ability to meet research needs was becoming increasingly hampered by the capacity and age of the physical structure. In late 2010, the Stanford Nanofabrication Facility was awarded funding from the National Science Foundation, and matched by contributions from the University, to begin a renovation program that addresses these infrastructure shortcomings. Construction on the SNF Renovation began in mid-December of 2011 and was completed in mi-February, 2012. Construction activities included complete replacement of the Toxic Gas monitoring system, expansion and updating of the following subsystems: electrical distribution, solvent exhaust, humidity control, HF waste, process gas lines. Additional funding from the University now supports Renovation II, an ongoing, 3-year project comprised of tasks aimed improving safety and security of the lab.

 

Brief History

SNF is descended from the Integrated Circuit Laboratory, established in the mid-60's at Stanford. By the mid-70's, the ICL became well-known for device and process model simulators which had led to the development of innovative devices and process test structures.

Although the ICL was conceived for the fabrication of integrated circuits, applications in MEMS and related devices quickly followed. Early research in medical systems resulted in pioneering work in the areas of image sensors, image processing, bio probes, pressure sensors, accelerometers, implantable electronics, and high voltage drivers. A novel silicon micro-machined gas chromatograph, recognized as being the first MEMS device, was produced in this lab in 1979 (Terry, Jerman, and Angell.) By the early 80’s, the facility was expanded and upgraded, which enabled it to support development of larger, more complex chips, such as the MIPS chip and the Geometry Engine.

In the 80's, the Center for Integrated Systems (CIS) partnership was formed between Stanford University and a founding group of 20 industrial member companies, with the goal of providing infrastructure and financial support for an "integrated systems" approach to electronics engineering research and education. Through the generous support of this partnership, the Center for Integrated Systems was built. Completed in 1985, the IC lab was moved into this building and renamed CIS, both in recognition of its benefactors and for the new program focus. (The CIS partnership, although no longer directly involved in the lab, is still strongly active today, in supporting academic research at Stanford.)

Throughout this time, the facility served primarily as a teaching laboratory, and was used almost exclusively by Stanford researchers. In 1994, the laboratory became a founding member of the NSF-funded initiative, the National Nanofabrication Users' Network. Renamed the "Stanford Nanofabrication Facility", the lab opened its doors to researchers from non-Stanford organizations, including industry as well as other government and academic institutions, and thus creating the dynamic and diverse community of researchers who comprise SNF today.

Over the years, the equipment set and staff expertise has expanded to accommodate the ever-changing research needs of its labmembers, whose research topics currently extend over a wide range of disciplines, such as optics, MEMS, biology, chemistry, as well as the more traditional areas of electronics device fabrication and process characterization.

Over the years, the equipment set and staff expertise has expanded to accommodate the ever-changing research needs of its labmembers, whose research topics currently extend over a wide range of disciplines, such as optics, MEMS, biology, chemistry, as well as the more traditional areas of electronics device fabrication and process characterization.

 

Program Sponsorship

SNF is a member of the National Science Foundation's National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network (NNIN) a consortium of 14 University shared-use facilities with the directive of providing nanofabrication resources to industrial and government, as well as academic researchers, across the country. The Network provides a platform for sharing expertise as well as resources and thus broadens the scope of tools available to our labmembers. The SNF also receives partial support from the Stanford University Center for Integrated Systems (CIS) and is a member of the CNRI-sponsored MEMS Exchange.