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New Facility Expands Yale Capability for Fabricating Nano-Devices


New Haven, Conn. — Yesterday Yale dedicated the new Center for Microelectronics Materials and Structures Clean Room, an $8 million, 2,600-square-foot facility for fabricating micro- and nano-scale devices for engineering research.

“The number of Yale faculty members who are using micro- and nano-devices in their research has grown dramatically in recent years,” says Paul Fleury, dean of the Faculty of Engineering, “and so has the need for a facility where these devices, with their ever-finer spatial detail and complexity, can be fabricated.”

The new Clean Room expands and updates the Center for Microelectronics Materials and Structures originally designed and built nearly 20 years ago with generous gifts from the Keck Foundation, Jones Bequest, alumnus Vincent Coates and his company Nanometrics, the IBM Corporation and others. Located on the 5th floor of the Becton Engineering and Applied Science Center on Prospect Street, the center, serves over a dozen research groups, nearly 40 students in engineering and an increasing number of collaborators.

“The original facility was a tremendous boost to our research capability in the 1980s, and the new Çlean Room reflects the considerable advances in technology since then,” said Professor T.P Ma, co-director of the Center. “It ensures Yale will remain on the cutting edge of this research.”

According to Professor Robert Schoelkopf, co-director of the center, the new Clean Room facility will enable many kinds of novel research and will benefit other University programs, especially those associated with the Yale Institute for Nanoscience and Quantum Engineering, and the Yale National Science Foundation Materials Research Science and Engineering Center.

With direct funding from the Yale Provost’s office, construction began in early 2007 after a year of planning. Two professional technical staff members have also been added to provide support for users of the facility.

The Clean Room incorporates new environmental systems, utilities, and digital controls, and has state-of-the-art safety and fireproofing. It is supplied with de-ionized and processed chilled water, house vacuum and inert gas lines, as well as upgrades for improved ventilation and toxic gas monitoring. The facility will house equipment for optical lithography and photomask production, as well as dry- and plasma-etching. It includes nearly 1000 square feet of class 100 space — ultra-clean space that contains no more than 100 microscopic particles per cubic foot of air — including lithography and wet processing bays.

“This major investment is one of many in our ongoing program for development of science and engineering at Yale,” said Bruce Carmichael, associate provost for science and technology.


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