Nanotechnology Core Facility


Research Resources Center (RRC) cores are back on campus to provide services and access to shared equipment (when possible), there are new guidelines issued by each core due to COVID19. Please reference each core’s new user guidelines before requesting services, projects, or scheduling equipment. All questions or inquiries must be sent by email to respective core.


Overview of Services

The Nanotechnology Core Facility (NCF), is a versatile device fabrication facility accessible to both academic, non-profit, and industrial researchers. Located in Engineering Research Facility (ERF) building on the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) campus, the NCF enables research by providing access, training, service and process guidance on fabrication and characterization equipment. As a research and development laboratory, the NCF is dedicated to the application of integrated circuit and fiber optic technology to improve manufacturing methods for MEMS/Nano, BioMEMS, Microfluidic, Electromechanical, Mechanical, Chemical, Optical, Photonic and multi-functional devices, some of which have previously been made by more traditional techniques.

The NCF staff consists of a full-time laboratory manager, and graduate students who assist in training new users along with 22 associated research faculty members at UIC. The laboratory consists of a 3000 square foot clean room subdivided into five bays providing workspaces for various functions including physical and chemical vapor deposition process (PVD, CVD), wet and dry etching, surface characterization, and top and bottom lithography. With over two and a half million dollars of equipment installed, approximately one and a half million of which has been used to acquire new equipment at the cutting edge of microfabrication technology, the NCF provides strong capability within the thrust areas of MEMS processing, analysis, and development. Unlike highly automated industrial production equipment, the NCF is flexible and multipurpose in function.

Equipment available in the NCF provide capabilities in Photolithography, Thin Film Deposition (metals, semiconductors, and dielectrics) etching, sample characterization (electrical, optical, and surface), dicing and lead attachment.

  • Lithography that includes both a Raith 150 Electron Beam System as well as a Nanoscribe 3D Laser System for direct feature writing at the nanometer level. Standard positive and negative photoresist lithography equipment are available. The NFC has both a Karl Suss MA6/BA6 and a MJB3 Infrared aligner for ‘top to bottom’ alignment of masks to silicon wafers. This capability is especially useful when making sensors, membranes, and three-dimensional structures. NFC users have limited access to an OAI Infrared aligner which can expose 4″ wafers in the EECS Undergraduate clean room.
  • PVD capabilities including a Varian multi-source e-beam system with rotating planetaries for 2″, 3″, and 4″ wafers; and a CVC system with 2 e-beam guns, 2 US sputtering guns, a thermal source, and ion beam cleaning of the substrate.
  • A refurbished Low Pressure CVD four-stack furnace made by Process Technology configured for silicon nitride, LTO, polysilicon, and metal CVD. An important feature of the LPCVD system is that variable stoichiometry films may be produced for optical waveguides. The plasma enhanced CVD capabilities are provided by a Trion deposition station with load-lock under computer control, which can provide films of silicon nitride, silicon dioxide, silicon oxynitride, diamond like diamond structure carbon and silicon carbide. There also is a four stack Brooks furnace for wet/dry Si wafer oxidation and diffusion.
  • The wet chemical etching facilities are comprehensive, consisting of an assortment of anisotropic, isotropic and electrochemical etching equipment for semiconductors, metals and dielectrics. Modutek’s KOH Silicon Etch Tank is designed to decrease impurities, and unwanted byproducts due to advanced welding techniques with PFA sheet material. A few notable design features include the following: manual cover with overlapping seal which minimizes water lost and no concentration deficiencies over long etch time.
  • Plasma etching including deep reactive ion etching in an Oxford PlasmaLab 100 System employing the Bosch process for both 3 and 4 inch silicon wafer etching as well as reactive ion etching and sputter etching in a Trion RIE/ICP-RIE with both load-lock and computer control with six mass flow controllers to provide a versatile array of gas compositions. A host of ‘standard’ etching recipes utilized regularly by the semiconductor industry and experimental recipes for non-standard materials will be employed. A Harrick Barrel Plasma System is available for both plasma cleaning, descumming, and etching.
  • Inspection and characterization equipment including a Zeiss optical microscope with large monitor HD video display and line measurement system, Nikon optical microscope with a Boeckler line measurement system, a KLA-Tencor P7 surface step profiler, a Gaertner ellipsometer, a Bruker-Nano Dimension Icon Atomic Force Microscope with both mechanical, electrical and electrochemical capabilities, a Digital Instruments Nanoscope III Scanning Tunneling and Atomic Force Microscope with Electrochemical capability, and a Bruker-Nano Contour GT-K Optical profiler. The Tencor P7 provides large area surface topography measurements, with nanometer resolution over scans of several centimeters. This device is extremely valuable in characterizing the geometry of micro-machined structures to an accuracy of about 5 nm. The Bruker Contour provides soft film non-contact surface topography measurements at the same accuracy.
  • A class 100,000 Packaging Laboratory that has additional material characterization equipment including a Bruker Discover 8 XRD system, a Sonoscan Gen6 Surface Acoustic Scanning Microscope, a Malvern Dynamic Laser Scattering system and both TA Instruments’ Differential Scanning Calorimeter and Thermo-Gravimetric Analyzer. For most packaging applications, equipment includes a Disco wafer saw with superior 6 inch wafer and surface video capabilities, a Microautomation 4 inch wafer saw, both a West Bond ball and a wedge wire bonder, and a Modular Process Technology Rapid Thermal Wafer Processor. There are two Parylene coating systems for both N and C as well as a Thermionics VE-100 E-beam/thermal Vacuum Evaporator for esoteric materials deposition. Surface etching and modifications are accomplished with a Tykma Laser Marking system with computer control software. Specialty microscopes include a Keyence VHX6000 with both low and high magnification tube lens systems and adjustable viewing angle. The dynamic contact angle measurements can be taken by DCAT-25 Tensiometer along with other measurements like Adhesion, Surface Tension etc. 



The primary function of the NCF is to provide R&D expertise and service support to the research efforts of both University faculty and external commercial companies in the wide-ranging areas of MEMS/NEMS, electronic and photonic material device design and fabrication. Using all aspects of advanced processing techniques, the NFC also provides instrument training on the processes such as photolithography, thin film deposition by electron beam, plasma enhanced deposition and etching and more. It also provides characterization techniques including XRD, SEM, AFM, Optical and Step Profilometry, Ellipsometry, Dynamic Laser Scattering, Thermogravimetric Analysis, Differential Scanning Calorimetry, Rapid Thermal Processing and Scanning Acoustical Microscopy. Rudimentary device packaging services such as laser marking, wafer saw cutting and wire bonding can be provided by request.

Getting Started

Please visit the detailed information at the our website HERE.


All new NCF Users are required to take and pass the closed book safety exam to access the NCF clean room.  Users may simply come to the NCF Office Suite, Rm. 3064 ERF, any day between the hours of 9am and 3:30pm. There is no time limit to complete the exam.  One of the staff will grade the test and inform the User of the results.  All visitors who wish to enter and monitor other users must also pass the exam before access is granted. Once the exam is passed, Users will receive the clean room RFID access key and an outside door key.  The key must be later returned,  once the User’s UIC I-card is programmed into the door card swipe locks.

NCF Safety Exam

Leadership and Staff


Name Role Phone Email Location
An, Seyoung Director (312) 355-1259

Room 3064, Engineering Research Facility


Ghiacy, Arian Graduate Research Assistant  (312) 996-0827

Room 3064, Engineering Research Facility 


Perez, Alejandro Graduate Research Assistant (312) 996-0827 Room 3064, Engineering Research Facility
Singhal, Anuj Graduate Research Assistant (312) 355-8040 Room 3064, Engineering Research Facility
Karpourazar, Negar Graduate Research Assistant  (312) 996-2018 Room 3064, Engineering Research Facility


Location and hours of operation

Hours Location

Staffed: M - F, 9 AM - 5 PM

Instrumentation available 24/7 with prior permission     

842 W. Taylor St., ERF Building RM 3064

Chicago, IL 60607

Links and Resources

  1. Nanotechnology Core Facility Informational Site


Name Role Phone Email Location
NCF Admin
Administrative and Contract Related Questions