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What's New at the MNC

Welcome to the Expanded Minnesota Nano Center!

The Nano Center is a state-of-the-art facility for interdisciplinary research in nanoscience and applied nanotechnology. Over the past year, the Nano Center has moved into new laboratories in the Physics and Nanotechnology Building (PNB), located adjacent to our existing clean room and labs in Keller Hall.

Physics & Nanotechnology Building

The new Physics and Nanotechnology building, located at 115 Union St SE on the east bank campus.

Our new facility offers several great new resources to support research and product development related to nanotechnology.

A new 5000 square foot cleanroom.

The PNB clean room is equipped with ultra-high resolution lithography tools, including a state-of-the-art electron beam lithography tool capable of fabricating sub-10 nm features. To date, twelve tools have been installed and are operational in the new cleanroom, including

Vistec Ion Mill

Two tools installed in the new PAN clean room: the Vistec electron beam lithography system and the new Intlvac ion mill.

These tools complement our full suite of nanofabrication tools in the Keller Hall clean room. The Keller clean room houses tools for growing dielectric thin films via low pressure chemical vapor deposition (LP-CVD) and plasma-enhanced CVD, metal film deposition, film annealing, optical patterning, soft lithography, wet and dry etching, and characterization. The Keller clean room remains a great facility for fabricating devices with features at the micron scale and larger, such as MEMS and microfluidic cells.

The new Nanomaterials Lab

The new Nanomaterials Lab allows researchers to make, modify, and analyze a wide range of nanoscale and microscale materials, such as nanoparticles, colloids, and micron-sized powders. The lab is equipped with

The Nanomaterials Lab also provides a full chemistry lab to synthesize and process particles and suspensions, including a controlled atmosphere glove box that allows particle processing in an oxygen- and moisture-free environment.

particle size analyzers

The particle size analyzers in the Nanomaterials Lab.

Coming soon: the Bio-Nano Lab

Also next to our new clean room is the Bio-Nano Lab, offering facilities and equipment for working with live cells and other biomaterials. The Bio-Nano Lab supports interdisciplinary research and discovery between nanotechnology and the biosciences, and will complement other bioscience resources available at the University.

The Bio-Nano lab is currently equipped with:

The Bio-Nano lab will allow researchers to culture cell samples, apply nanoparticles made in the adjoining Nanomaterials Lab, and use these nanoparticles to image cells with fluorescence and confocal microscopes to investigate therapies. Watch for the full opening of the Bio-Nano Lab later this year.

fluorescent microscopy

An image of cells using fluorescent microscopy.

New Tools at the MNC

Over the past year, we’ve added several new tools both the PAN and Keller clean rooms.

Karl Suss MA6 Contact Aligner

The industry standard tool for manual optical lithography, has been added to the PAN clean room. This tool has a resolution limit of around a micrometer. With the addition of this contact aligner, the PAN clean room now has a complete optical lithography tool set.

contact aligner

The Karl Suss MA6 contact aligner.

Filmetrics Film Thickness Analyzer

The Filmetrics system analyzes the thickness of coating films on wafers and other substrates. Unlike an ellipsometer, which provides film thickness at a single point, the Filmetrics outputs a color coded thickness map of the entire surface. The Filmetrics is located in the Keller clean room, bay one.


A wafer map of film thickness produced by the Filmetrics system.

Keyence Digital Microscope

The Keyence VHX-5000E is a new digital microscope which uses a CCD camera to capture high quality images and supplements direct viewing of a sample. The Keyence has a motorized stage (both x-y and z motions) and software for image analysis. By precisely controlling stage position, collecting images at each position, and stitching together these individual images into a composite picture, the Keyence creates high resolution images of structures that are too large to view in a single image field. This overcomes the limitations of high magnification objective lenses, such as small field-of-view and limited depth of focus. The Keyence digital microscope is located in the Keller Hall cleanroom and is free to authorized users (the fee is included in the clean room access fee).

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News & Announcements

Aerosol and Particle Measurement Short Course
August 21-23, 2017

Are you interested in attending? Please see the flier for more information.

International Corporation

New Probe Station
MNC has installed a new probe station generously donated by EverBeing International Corporation headquartered in Taiwan. This new probe station will greatly enhance our capabilities in DC and low frequency electrical characterization, and will be located in Area 3 (1-132) in Keller Hall.

Inside the University of Minnesota's Minnesota Nano Center: Take a look inside the University of Minnesota's Minnesota Nano Center, a state of the art facility dedicated to the design, fabrication and testing of small-scale devices. Video produced by the Office of Business Relations, with assistance from the College of Science & Engineering.

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