Nanoscale Characterization Facility - Indiana University, Department of Chemistry


About

The Nanoscale Characterization Facility (NCF) cleanroom is located in Simon Hall 026. The cleanroom is a 1300-ft² controlled environment designated for the manufacture and characterization of devices with nanometer dimensions. The geometric scale of the features fabricated in the cleanroom requires tight control of sub-micron airborne contamination to levels specified for a Class 1000 environment (classification per Federal Standard 209E).

A Class 1000 designation indicates that the cleanroom was built to never allow more than 1000 particles (size 0.5 µm or larger) per cubic foot of air. Effective airborne contamination control of the cleanroom environment is achieved by simultaneously controlling and monitoring:

  • Airflow and air direction.
  • Temperature and humidity.
  • Training of cleanroom users.
  • Strict observation of cleanroom protocol.
  • Periodic cleaning of cleanroom floor and walls.
  • Immediate clean-up of spills, flakes and other debris generated during normal use of the cleanroom and cleanroom instruments.

The gowning area is a Class 10000 environment (i.e., there are no more than 10000 particles size 0.5 µm or larger per cubic foot of air).

The support and maintenance areas (500 ft²) are located in rooms 026A and 028. These areas have no classification.

For training, cleanroom access authorization or any additional questions, contact Yi Yi (yiyi@indiana.edu)

Documents


The following documents will be helpful for new users.

Cleanroom Gowning Protocol
Best Practices Recommendations

FAQ


Q. How clean is a Class 1000 cleanroom?
A. Class 1000 cleanrooms have no more than 1000 particles (0.5 µm or larger) per cubic foot of air. By comparison, the air in an office building contains 500,000 to 1,000,000 particles (0.5 µm or larger) per cubic foot of air.

Q. Is protective clothing required by cleanroom users?
A. Yes, cleanroom gowns with hoods and booties, and gloves must be worn at all times in the cleanroom. Please refer to the “cleanroom protocol” document posted on this website.

Q. What are the sources of contamination in a cleanroom?
A. Sources of contamination in the cleanroom include people (e.g., skin flakes, hair, spittle, clothing fibers), instrumentation (e.g., lubricant, wear particles), environment (air, construction material/outgassing, bacteria), and fabrication materials (e.g., substrate debris, product or metal flakes, gases and chemicals).

Q. How is contamination controlled in a cleanroom?
A. A combination of the following methods is used to control airborne contamination:

  • Forced airflow and air direction.
  • Air filtration.
  • Pressure differential between areas of different classification.
  • Temperature and humidity control.
  • Training of cleanroom users.
  • Strict observation of cleanroom protocol.
  • Periodic cleaning of cleanroom floor and walls.
  • Immediate clean-up of spills, flakes and other debris generated during normal use of the cleanroom and cleanroom instruments.

Q. Is liquid nitrogen readily available for cleanroom instruments that require it?
A. Yes, liquid nitrogen is available in support room 028. Small liquid nitrogen dewars are stored in the pass-through window between the cleanroom and the support area and must be used to bring the liquid nitrogen into the cleanroom. When the large liquid nitrogen dewar in room 028 is empty, use the main Chemistry supply room.

Q. Is Safety equipment available in the cleanroom?
A. Spill kit and first aid equipment is located on the shelf in the main area of the cleanroom. Safety glasses are available in the gowning room and in the cleanroom. UV-protective eyewear is available in the photolithography area.

Q. Will I have computer and email access in the cleanroom?
A. Yes, a computer with internet access is located in the cleanroom. Contact cleanroom supervisor for login privileges.

Q. How and how often is the cleanroom cleaned?
A. The cleanroom and gowning room are mopped monthly. The gowning room is vacuumed weekly. Walls and floors are cleaned with 70% isopropyl alcohol in DI water and cleanroom-approved mops.

Q. What are HEPA filters?
A. HEPA filters or High Efficiency Particulate Air filters are located in the cleanroom ceiling. These units filter the air coming down from the plenum and are able to remove particles as small as 0.3 µm with a 99.97% efficiency.

Q. How does one gain access to the cleanroom?
A. Card access to the cleanroom is granted after protocol training has been completed. Contact cleanroom supervisor for training and/or access.

Q. How is the cleanroom environment monitored for airborne contamination?
A. Airborne contamination is monitored with a portable particle counter. The counter samples a volume of 1 ft³ in various locations and reports the number of particles measured at size 0.5 µm and above.