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Electron-Ion Optical Systems
Pattern-Transfer Instruments
Deposition and Metallization Equipment
Wafer Processing Instruments



The instrumentation within the KNI is focused on both fabrication and metrology tools. These enable researchers to characterize nanostructures and to explore the limits of nanofabrication. In addition, lithographic nanofabrication instruments and nanoscale modification and measurement tools offer the opportunity to perform rapid prototyping of nanodevices. We also offer a multi-layer soft lithography foundry for the fabrication of microfluidic chips to researchers world-wide.

Below please find brief descriptions of the tools and services available through the KNI.

Materials Safety Data Sheets | Equipment Contact List (pdf) | Facility Brochure (pdf)

Electron-Ion Optical Systems
The KNI houses six electron-ion optical systems that are available to users from academia, government, and industry.

Quanta200FEI Quanta 200F: an environmental scanning electron microscope (SEM) useful for analysis of biological samples and the evaluation of devices under vacuum. One of the features of this system is its ability to observe samples without completely dehydrating them, permitting the imaging of cells and bacteria with a minimum of specimen preparation. As part of the configuration, a heater and cold stage are available, along with a probe station that enables in-situ electrical probing of samples.

FEI Sirion: a high-resolution field emission SEM which enables high-resolution imaging of nanostructures on samples. This instrument, with a point-to-point resolution of 1.5 nm, is optimized for the characterization of microfabricated structures as well as chemical analysis through characteristic energy-dispersive x-ray analysis. The Sirion column provides high electron beam brightness along with excellent resolution at acceleration voltages ranging from 500V to 30kV, and therefore can be used to image the surface morphologies of semiconductors, metals, polymers, and resist samples.

Nova600FEI Nova-600 Nanolab: a dual-beam focused ion-beam/electron-beam system that has been configured to enable the mask-less patterning and modification of samples with a liquid gallium ion source. The major features of this system include a high-resolution ion beam (7-nm minimum diameter) that enables excellent placement accuracy with three-dimensional nanofabrication, and an integrated field emission SEM column. The Nova-600 has a reactive gas introduction system for enhanced etch rates as well as deposition of material. The focused ion beam enables the high-resolution milling of samples as well as the preparation and cleaning of specimen surfaces prior to chemical analysis. The Nova-600 has an Autoprobe 200 tool for the in-situ modification of samples for transmission electron microscopy (TEM), which gives the user precise control over sample preparation and extraction. With a 6-inch wafer capability and a high-resolution inch-worm stage, this state-of-the-art focused ion-beam system can also deposit metals (such as platinum) and insulators (such as SiO2), and is ideally suited for post-processing of nanomechanical and nanophotonic devices.

Nova200FEI Nova-200 Nanolab: a dual-beam focused ion-beam system configured to perform ultra-clean surface chemical analysis and high-resolution ion modification of samples. This system includes a wavelength-dispersive x-ray spectrometer, an energy-dispersive x-ray analysis tool, as well as a time-of-flight mass spectrometer. These spectroscopic tools provide high-resolution analysis capabilities without the risk of atmospheric surface contamination after specimen preparation.

TecnaiF20FEI Tecnai F-20: a scanning transmission electron microscope (STEM) with a point-to-point resolution of 0.27 nm and a 200kV field emission source. This system can be used for analytical electron microscopy on traditional thin-sections, as well as reflection electron microscopy for the evaluation of surface morphologies with nanometer resolution. This system is optimized to integrate chemical analysis tools such as energy dispersive x-ray analysis, energy loss spectroscopy, and energy filtered imaging for enhanced contrast.







Pattern-Transfer Instruments
The KNI houses several pattern-transfer instruments that are available to users from academia, government, and industry. Each of these instruments is dedicated to specific processes and materials systems to avoid the mixing of incompatible gas chemistries. This enables us to maintain precise calibration and high throughput for the intended processes.

EBPG5000The Leica EBPG-5000+: a state-of-the-art direct-writing electron-beam lithography tool with a 100kV electron source and an interferometric stage. We have demonstrated fabricated nanostructures with lateral dimensions as small as 10 nm, and can define such nanostructures over large areas (up to 6-inch wafers). The laser interferometer stage assures high placement accuracy and multi-level alignment of microfabricated structures to define complex devices. This instrument has been used for the fabrication of nanofabricated photonic, fluidic, mechanical, magnetic, and electronic devices and represents the foundation of the nanolithography effort at the KNI.

Oxford Bosch / Cryo (ICP-RIE): an inductively coupled plasma system for silicon etching. This system is configured for deep reactive ion etching (DRIE) via the Bosch process, allowing cryogenic silicon etching with Freon and SF6 gases. It provides accurate deep etching capabilities for silicon only. Close-coupled gas pods are included in this system for fast Bosch switching; this allows the etching of bulk silicon for MEMS applications with etch rates of approximately 10–25 micrometers/minute. The silicon ICP-RIE has a variable temperature stage (-150 to 400 °C) to permit cryogenic etching of silicon if needed. This system supports wafer sizes up to 6 inches.

OxfordEtchersOxford III-V Metal Etcher (ICP-RIE): an inductively coupled plasma system for III/V compound semiconductors and metals. This system is configured to etch compound semiconductors and is dedicated to halogen chemistries. It includes a heated stage (up to 400 °C) and is optimized for the processing of GaAs, GaP, InGaAsP, InP, GaN, InGaN, and other compound semiconductors. This system also supports an HBr line for silicon.

Oxford Dielectric PECVD-ICP: a plasma-enhanced chemical-vapor-deposition (PECVD) system optimized for, and exclusively dedicated to, dielectric etching and deposition using an ICP chamber. It offers PECVD capability for the deposition of silicon nitride, oxide, and oxy-nitride, with relevant gases. It operates with a heated stage (-150 to 400 °C) to provide exquisite control over the sidewall angles of etched dielectric materials. ICP-PECVD enables the low-temperature deposition of dielectric films, a capability that enables novel patterning of dielectrics, since photoresist-coated samples can be coated with pinhole-free dielectrics. It can also be used in atomic-layer-deposition (ALD) mode, which provides very precise thicknesses of dielectrics grown using sequential deposition of the precursors to generate very high-quality films. Applications of this capability include the fabrication of microfluidic channels with dielectric walls.

Oxford PECVD: a plasma-enhanced chemical-vapor-deposition (PECVD) system configured as a conventional PECVD system with a high-temperature (700 °C) stage. Both liquid delivery (TEOS) and gas delivery (silane) of the silicon source are provided. It can also be used in atomic-layer-deposition (ALD) mode. This system provides the traditional high-temperature dielectric deposition capabilities for generating etch masks or alignment marks, but can also be operated to provide pinhole-free films for MEMS and biochemical analysis applications, as well as to form stress-free nitride films.

On all four of these Oxford systems we are able to mount two endpoint systems. These are optical probes that enable the determination of layer thicknesses through interference measurements or ellipsometry.


Deposition and Metallization Equipment
The KNI operates one electron-beam deposition system and a three-source sputter deposition system. These systems are optimized for the deposition of pure metal films through evaporation and sputtering.

For complex materials such as high-Tc superconductors or materials exhibiting giant magnetoresistive behavior, we offer a pulsed-laser deposition system using a fluoride excimer laser to ablate target materials within a reactive vacuum chamber.

The electron beam evaporator is a completely rebuilt Temescal BJD-1800 six-pocket electron beam deposition system with a load-lock for rapid sample exchange. This system, equipped with an ion gun for surface cleaning as well as ion-beam assisted deposition, enables the precise deposition of metals for lift-off and mask deposition purposes.

Our three-cathode sputter deposition system enables multi-layer sputtering as well as co-sputtering of metals and dielectric materials to create alloys, cermets, and dielectric layers.


Wafer Processing Instruments

Rapid Thermal Annealer: KNI operates a 6-inch rapid thermal annealer (RTA) for the annealing of contacts and doping into semiconductor nanostructures. This system, with an accurate pyrometer surface emission measurement and a sample ramp of 500 °C/second enables the reproducible fabrication of p-n junctions as well as the controlled oxidation of up to 6-inch wafers. The RTA is fully automated and has been widely used for the exploration of nanophotonic devices.

KarlSussMA6Mask Aligner: the Karl Suss MA6/BA6 mask aligner is a tool that enables front- and back-side alignment of photomasks to create 500-nm structures on sample sizes up to 6 inches. This system is ideally suited for rapid definition of sub-micron devices through contact printing and enables the high-resolution alignment of several lithographic layers to define complex devices. It is a state-of-the-art mask aligner and is typically used to define contacts and connections to the nanostructures that are defined with our other fabrication tools. A second MA6 is available for front-side alignment.

Critical Point Dryer: For the preparation of nano-electromechanical structures as well as for the preparation of biological specimens, we operate a critical point dryer that prevents surface tension damage in nanostructures when removing these from etching or sample preparation solutions. Critical point drying is a very common technique for the preparation of cells and bacteria before electron microscope imaging.

Direct-Write Laser System: the Heidelberg Instruments DWL-66 is a tool for mask making and for direct patterning of wafers by the use of a HeCd laser. Precise control of the laser head and alignment produces 800-nm resolution lithography. The DWL 66 is an extremely high-resolution imaging system where over half a million dpi is achieved using a 40-nm writeable address grid for exposing chrome plates or wafers.

KarlSussMA6GCA i-Line Wafer Stepper: the 6000 Series DSW Wafer Stepper wafer exposure system is fully automatic and capable of exposing an array of images directly on photoresist-coated wafers. Image field size is dependent on the lens selected for the user's particular application. The lens in our system is a Zeiss 10X with a maximum field size of 10 mm x 10 mm. This reduces the pattern from the reticle by a factor of 10 onto the substrate. The KNI stepper has paddles for wafer handling to accommodate 2, 3, 4, 6, and 8 inch wafers as well as pieces. The stepper is located inside of an environmental chamber set to maintain 0.1 °C temperature control.

Software allows conversational input dialogue to reduce errors and simplify the specification of complex operating parameters, a part of which permits selection of either circular of rectangular arrays on the wafer. A laser position transducer with automatic compensation for atmospheric conditions and work piece temperature is employed to meter X and Y coordinate stage positioning over a 150 mm x 150 mm (6 in x 6 in) square exposable area. Maximum throughput is assured through use of X and Y coordinate stage speeds of up to 50 mm (2 in) per second and exposures in both directions of travel (boustrophedonic stepping). The GCA 6300 at KNI has been fully-refurbished by RZE Enterprises with a new PC and control electronics.


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The KNI is located in Steele Laboratory
kni@caltech.edu | 626.395.1547
1200 East California Boulevard, 107-81, Pasadena, CA USA 91125
KNI at Caltech