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MIT.nano is a shared facility that offers users to carry out research relating to both fabrication and metrology on the micro- and nano-scale. Fabrication typically is done on a range of substrates (150-mm Silicon wafers being the most common starting point). Users create a process flow (plan), get trained on equipment, and then carry out their work in the fab.
New User Signup Procedure
If you are a new user, please follow the below steps to get started:
- Register on the billing system (called MUMMS). External users will need an MIT ID and Kerberos login. Contact us for help with that.
- Add the MIT.nano services ("Access to Building 12 5th Floor Packaging Facilities" and "Access to Building 12 Fab.Nano Laboratories").
- Join the Fab.nano Training Group
- Once you joined the training group, you will see a link to the MIT.nano orientation as well as all required EHS training.
- If you have prior fab experience (at MIT or elsewhere), talk to us to get a 6.152 equivalent waiver.
- If you have little or no prior fab experience, you can sign up (link is also part of the training group) for quick-start where you get hands-on practice in the lab.
What's This Site About?
This site has two key goals:
- Listing of Fab tools and descriptions of capabilities
- Searching for tools, by characteristics, abilities, etc.
- Collecting in-depth information such as recipes, SOPs, data sheets, etc.
- Create a process flows (planned sequence of steps & tools to be used in the fab)
- Store process flows in a database, and submit them for review.
- Browse public processes that other users or the staff have created.
- Incorporate process modules, design complex processes by reusing common fabrication sequences.
To use the this website and the process database, you don't need to be a Fab user. Any MIT user can access the site with their MIT certificates (go to "User Login").
What is a Process Flow?
This site is designed to help users browse equipment and capabilities. Users can build list of tools and process steps, describing their fabrication plan: a sequence of steps, the tool(s) used at each step, as well as materials and conditions (e.g. depositing or etching a material, at specific tool conditions). This sequence is called a 'process flow' (or sometimes just 'process').
In many cases, it helps to structure the process flow to consist of multi-step building blocks, or modules. This allows for structure and reuse of sections already developed previously. It also helps with planning and verifying: often, one module can be carried out in a single day or two without much interruption. Ideally, each module ends with characterization and testing steps that verify success or help pinpoint problems.
Building your Process Flow
On this site, you can browse tools and add them to the process flow. The sequence of added tools is shown on the left side, as well as in the "process flow" page linked from the left menu. There, you can modify the sequence, and add further detail such as what recipes or details you expect to accomplish in each step. You can also add headers, which make it easy to break up a process into modules. On the "process flow" page, you can also add a comment line to each step. Comments should be thought of as "extended details", and are perfect during processing when you want to annotate your process with results or further details. If you are logged in (see login button in top right corner), you can save your process to a database and recover it later.
Submitting your Process Flow
All work that used Fab.nano needs to submit a process flow for peer-review by staff & students. This helps us understand how equipment is used and offer process advice. It also helps us avoid errors that can damage equipment or jeopardize other users' work.
In the process database (see tab above), we have a number of modules as well as full processes that show examples of well structured process flow. The modules are designed to be picked up by users when creating a process flow (as a starting point for common processing goals).
The process database allows users store their processes, submit them for review, and find feedback on approved and pending processes. In addition, the database also allows users to make public approved processes (to share their knowledge with the community). Users can also add others to their process, either as active participants in designing the process, or as read-only observers. This is helpful when collaborating or for users within a research group who work on related projects (and thus should share their process flows).
Public Processes and Modules
Any approved process can be made "public" by its owner: first select it in the database, and then click the "make public" button. You can reverse that decision any time, makign a process private again (e.g. if you discovered a flaw with it). A public process can be read (but not edited) by any registered user on this site.
You also can declare a process a "module". This is helpful if you find yourself doing the same steps many times over. A module may not be a full process by itself, but instead is often re-used and inserted into other processes. You can insert any process (module or not) into your existing process. This is done from the database screen, through "insert after current", and copies that process' steps into your current process. In addition, "insers as link" also inserts the steps, but because it is a link, changes (like comments or recipe edits) to the process that was inserted will carry over to your process. It means, however, that you cannot make any edits to the process that was inserted-as-link.
Using Fab.nano Modules in your Process
MIT.nano posts and maintains a number of sample processes and process modules. For example, this makes it easy to include standard lithography steps, with the right tools and process conditions (e.g. spinner recipes, bake temperatures, exposure doeses, ...). We recomment using these modules as much as possible, and incorporating them with "insert as link" into your process. That way, any changes and improvements we make over time will automatically update in your own process. Conditions specific to your process can be added as comments (e.g. "use 10% higher dose").
Tracking Process Submissions
Once a process is submitted, the peer-review members get read access to it, and can add comments or suggestions. Each member can also signal acceptance, which helps speed up the review process. During the weekly committee meeting, the process can then be "approved". Alternatively, a process can be "referred" to a specific person (e.g. a student expert, or a staff member) who can help with advice and clarifications. In the "process flow" page, you can see all of these activities as comments posted below the process. You can also add your own comments (to clarify something) or ask someone a question (e.g. if you like help selecting tools or recipes).
Deactivating and Deleting Processes
When a process you own is no longer relevant, you can either delete it or deactivate it. In both cases, it will disappear from your database view. If you delete a process, it will be permanently removed. De-activating, on the other hand, only removes the process from your view. It remains in the database and you can see all of your deactivated processes by selecting the "inactive" filter at the top. You can then re-activate a process. This feature can be useful when temporarily retiring a process (e.g. if it's a project you no longer work on), while keeping it in an archive to get back to in the future, if needed.
When to Access Resources
MIT.nano provides a number of resources designed to help you with your work in the fab:
Before you start In the planning phases of a project, you can utilize this site to identify critical tools and capabilities, to see how they match up against your requirements. In addition, you can contact firstname.lastname@example.org with general questions, go through the sign-up process for the fab, and discuss project specific questions with equipment and user services staff at MIT.nano.
During planning Once you determined that your work can be accomplished at Fab.nano, you can begin to plan your process. The process builder on this site aims to facilitate this planning, and also allows you to get a sense of the equipment charges.
Training and Ramp-Up With an approved process and completed lab access, you can start fabricating your devices. You will need to arrange tool training. Here, you contact the staff in charge of the tool (posted on the tool's page). As you start your first run, you may discover improvements or refinements to your process, or approaches that help simplify and . It is good practice to make edits to your process incorporating these improvements.
List of Resources
- This site
This page links to a number of "common" views that may be of interest to fab users.
Machine Charge Chart - A list of the baseline charges for all tools.
PTC Matrix - The PTC matrix for checking tool-substrate compatibility.
Equipment Model List - A list of equipment by model name/number (rather than our internal CORAL name).
Trainer Chart - A list of equipment with primary and secondary trainers.
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