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WTC welcomes Andy Kaplan as lab business development manager

Andy Kaplan has joined Washington Technology Center as business development manager for WTC's Microfabrication Laboratory. His primary responsibilities include managing and developing collaborative business efforts and outreach between the Microfabrication Laboratory and Northwest industrial and academic customers. With more than 15 years of business development, marketing, and program management experience for small technology companies, he brings to WTC a record of commercializing award-winning technologies developed from R&D; labs.

Prior to joining WTC, he served in executive positions at Hinds Instruments, Isonics and ReuseRecycleReclaim. Mr. Kaplan holds a BSME from the University of Delaware with an emphasis in Materials Science. In his spare time, he enjoys skiing, sailing and restoring vintage homes.

Andy Kaplan may be reached at akaplan@watechcenter.org or 206-685-3973.

Related WTC links:

  • Learn more about the WTC Microfabrication Laboratory

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    New technology stimulus program for small businesses in Washington

    Washington Technology Center's new Microfabrication Laboratory Access Program will award short-term access to sophisticated MEMS fabrication equipment to help companies develop job-growing, innovative commercial technologies.

    SEATTLE - August 24, 2009 - Washington Technology Center announces today the launch of the Microfabrication Laboratory Access Program, a new stimulus program that will award short-term access to sophisticated MEMS fabrication equipment to help small companies in Washington develop job-growing, innovative commercial technologies.

    "In these difficult economic times, I commend Washington Technology Center for offering companies increased access to resources for developing market-ready products," said Washington's Director of Commerce Rogers Weed. "This kind of collaboration between the public and private sectors helps support our state's 21st century industries, and more importantly, helps to create quality jobs right here in Washington."

    "Our new lab access program is one of three state-funded programs that we're using to invest in innovation in Washington state," said Lee Cheatham, Ph.D., executive director of Washington Technology Center. "We believe this program will help small companies more effectively leverage limited funding for technology development in the current economy.

    Washington Technology Center will accept proposals from companies with fewer than 100 employees in any technical area or industry that can utilize the facilities and equipment of the center's 15,000-square-foot Microfabrication Laboratory. Eligible projects include, but are not limited to: proof of concept, prototyping, testing, process development, and small-scale production.

    Proposals selected for awards will need to show clear potential for economic impact and a well-defined work plan. As the award program is focused on companies that have an immediate need for laboratory facilities, lab access projects are limited to a maximum of three consecutive months of no-cost Microfabrication Laboratory use.

    Tours of the Microfabrication Laboratory will be held Aug. 28 and Sept. 29, 2009.

    More information about the Microfabrication Laboratory Access Program is available online at http://www.watechcenter.org/accessprogram.

    About Washington Technology Center
    Washington Technology Center is a statewide economic development organization focused on technology and innovation. We spark ideas, form connections between people and resources, and foster job growth to position Washington state as a national technology leader. As an organization, Washington Technology Center channels state, federal, and private resources to help companies develop and commercialize new products and technologies. Our 15,000-square-foot Microfabrication Laboratory provides companies and university researchers access to facilities and specialized equipment for micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) research and product/process development. The impact of Washington Technology Center's work has generated more than $600 million in additional investment for Washington companies and researchers. For more information how Washington Technology Center can help research and development projects succeed, visit www.watechcenter.org or call 206-685-1920.

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    WSU breaks ground on Vancouver engineering building

    Washington State University celebrated August 19, 2009 with a ground breaking in Vancouver for the $43.5 million Applied Technology Classroom building. The four-story 56,000-square-foot building will open in 2011 for use by WSU Vancouver's new undergraduate electrical engineering program. The building is the only new capital project funded by Washington state in the current biennium. Funding for a proposed adjoining semiconductor user facility -- to be operated by Washington Technology Center -- is being sought from federal sources.

    Related external links (will open a new window):

  • WSU elevates high-tech offerings
    The Columbian - Vancouver, WA - August 19, 2009
  • In Our View, Aug. 21: Progress on Parade
    The Columbian - Vancouver, WA - August 21, 2009

    Related WTC links:

  • Vancouver user facility featured in The Columbian’s B2B magazine
    Posted 7/19/2008
  • Funding secured for Washington Technology Center user facility in Vancouver
    Posted 10/19/2007
  • New High-Tech Research Lab Slated for Vancouver
    Posted 7/21/2006

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    WTC job opening: Microfabrication Lab Outreach Manager

    Washington Technology Center is seeking a Microfabrication Laboratory outreach manager to increase awareness of both the lab and economic development programs at WTC, and in so doing increase the number of lab users.

    The Microfabrication Laboratory (MFL) is a class 10,000 cleanroom focused on silicon processing with additional equipment to process glass and compound semiconductors. The major sector of work is Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS), with significant work done in life sciences, optics, and material research. The facility is used for device research, development of novel fabrication techniques, pilot production, and some teaching.

    Lab customers range from academic users from various universities, to small businesses in a startup or preproduction phase, to large established companies interested in new research or proof of concept that might not be possible in their own facilities.

    MAJOR DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES:
    • Through the following, increase the number of MFL users.
    • Develop and implement an annual MFL outreach strategy that increases awareness of MFL capabilities among current and prospective industry and academic users.
    • Represent WTC and the MFL at conferences, events, and meetings.
    • Act as the primary WTC point of contact for existing MFL users.
    • Track lab metrics including: revenue, customer satisfaction, and leverage.
    • Work with the MFL Lab Manager to coordinate possible contract work for long distance users interested in the facility.

    To learn more about the position, including how to apply, visit the WTC job openings page.

    Related WTC links:

  • WTC Job Openings
  • WTC Microfabrication Laboratory Web site

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    Microvision demonstrates a preproduction pico projector at Macworld and CES

    Microvision's plug-and-play projector creates a large screen image from a miniature device that connects to the TV-out or VGA connector on portable devices such as mobile phones, portable media players and notebook computers.

    Related external links (will open a new window):

  • More at Broadcast Engineering
  • More at Microvision

    Related WTC links:

  • Microvision is a WTC client

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    JEOL provides more details on first electron beam lithography machine in Northwest

    JEOL USA issued a press release giving more information on the Pacific Northwest's first-of-its-kind electron beam lithography tool. JEOL will install the tool to support nanoscience research when the University of Washington takes delivery of a JEOL JBX-6300FS e-beam system. The system will be installed in the state-funded Washington Technology Center Microfabrication Lab. Funding for the tool acquisition was provided through a state-supported STAR researchers’ grant to Michael Hochberg, Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering, and a matching grant from the Washington Research Foundation.

    Related external links (will open a new window):

  • More in the JEOL press release

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    UW's "bionic" contact lens named a best invention by TIME

    A prototype 'bionic' contact lens manufactured at WTC's Microfabrication Laboratory by Babak Parviz, a UW assistant professor of electrical engineering, has been named to TIME's Best Inventions of 2008.

    Related external links (will open a new window):

  • Read more at TIME
  • Learn more about the technology at University of Washington News

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    Multimillion-dollar nano tool coming to WTC Lab

    Within a year, companies and researchers will have access to a $2.5 million electron beam lithography tool to be housed in the WTC Microfabrication Laboratory. The machine, one of a handful available at U.S. institutions, will be acquired by the University of Washington with significant financial support from the Washington Research Foundation.

    Related external links (will open a new window):

  • More in UW News

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  • Vancouver user facility featured in The Columbian’s B2B magazine

    The article details user facility capabilities, describes linkages between WSU Vancouver and the community, and shows how the semiconductor user facility would be a boost to the region.

    Related external links (will open a new window):

  • Read more in The Columbian article

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  • Microfabrication Lab, NanoTech User Facility to operate jointly

    Facility will serve both academic and industrial users, and act as a micro and nano technology resource for companies in the state of Washington and nationwide.

    Related WTC links:

  • Read more

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  • Prototype 'Bionic' Contact Lens Developed at WTC Lab

    Babak Parviz, a UW assistant professor of electrical engineering, heads a multi-disciplinary group developing virtual displays on contact lenses. The prototype contact lenses, with metal connectors for electronic circuits, were manufactured in WTC's Microfabrication Laboratory. "Looking through a completed lens, you would see what the display is generating superimposed on the world outside," said Parviz.

    Related external links (will open a new window):

  • Read more at UWeek.org

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  • Washington Technology Center adds nanoimprint lithography tool to its Microfabrication Laboratory

    Washington Technology Center added a new tool to our Microfabrication Laboratory in December 2007: a nanoimprint lithography machine. This tool, which is the first of its kind in Washington state and which will first be used for our DARPA-sponsored nanolithography research program, will eventually become available to the Pacific Northwest research community. Nanoimprint lithography may be the key to introduction of nanotechnology to mass fabrication: while creating nanometer-sized structures (a nanometer is a billionth of a meter) with conventional techniques such as electron-beam lithography is very costly and time consuming, nanoimprint lithography can transfer nanometer structures onto a full wafer within a few seconds. Washington Technology Center is currently investigating opportunities in both the biosensing and solar energy fields.

    Related WTC links:

  • Visit the Microfabrication Laboratory Web site

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  • Dr. Dirk Weiss joins WTC as senior research scientist

    As a senior research scientist with Washington Technology Center, Dirk Weiss assumes responsibility for the DARPA-funded nanolithography project. Dirk’s graduate degrees are in physics and materials science from Freie Universität Berlin and Max-Planck-Institute for Metals Research (Stuttgart, Germany), respectively. He completed his postdoctoral research at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in February 2005, where he had built a transistor using single nanoparticles. He subsequently worked at United Technologies Research Center on renewable energy technologies. Dirk and his family recently moved to the Seattle area from Boston.

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    Emerging Developments in Nanoscale Lithography

    Article by Dr. Dirk Weiss, Senior Research Scientist, Washington Technology Center
    As the Complementary Metal–Oxide Semiconductor (CMOS) industry transitions in 2007 from 65-nanometer to 45-nanometer structures, emerging developments in extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography and nanoimprint lithography (NIL) may advance the industry toward even smaller feature sizes in the next decade. Theses were two of the main topics discussed at the recent SPIE Advanced Lithography Conference in San Jose, California.

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    While the technology for shifting from 65-nanometer to 45-nanometer structures is available now, the exponential increase in cost-of-ownership for 32-nm technology tools may pose a barrier to further miniaturization.

    EUV research for 32-nm technology is aimed at overcoming a variety of challenges of this advanced nanoscale lithography. Ultra-high vacuum systems are required for sub-15-nm-wavelenth radiation. New infrastructures for mask fabrication and metrology must be created. Optical flare, mirror contamination and plasma stability are also issues. New resists are needed to overcome resolution limited by acid diffusion.

    Cost is a barrier with 32-nm technology. Compared to the cost of more than $30 million for a modern optical water-immersion scanner for 45-nm technology, the expected price for a EUV scanner for 32-nm technology will approach $100 million.

    NIL, which was developed only 10 years ago, represents an even more disruptive approach than EUV. Proponents argue that the lower cost of ownership positions NIL as a viable alternative to EUV for the 32-nm node and beyond. The CMOS industry, however, remains very skeptical. The general consensus is that the first commercial products with nanostructures made by NIL will be non-CMOS applications such as magnetic hard drives, light emitting diodes (LEDs) or sensors.

    The NIL process is comparably simple and comes in two types: Ultraviolet (UV)-NIL and thermal NIL. In the former, a transparent (quartz) mold is pressed into a low-viscosity UV-curable resist; the resist is hardened with a flash of UV light before the mold is removed. In the latter, a solid resist is heated above its glass-transition temperature before the molding process. The patterned resist can be either used as an etch mask, or directly incorporated into a device. Thermal NIL is more versatile for patterning a variety of materials, whereas UV NIL has more stringent requirements for the resist such as low viscosity and UV cross-linking properties. UV NIL is performed at room temperature, which eliminates problems associated with differential thermal expansion.

    The three main advantages of NIL are the lower cost of ownership, the extremely high resolution (2 nm feature size has been achieved in the laboratory) and parallel fabrication as opposed to the very slow process of serial writing with electron beams or scanning probe microscopy. The main challenges are limited overlay accuracy, relatively high defect density, and mask metrology (mask features are 1:1, whereas features on photomasks are scaled up by a ratio of 4:1). These challenges would be less critical in non-CMOS applications with less-stringent defect tolerance and no or less-stringent overlay requirements.

    Products incorporating NIL-patterned nanostructures are not yet found on the market, but there is very high activity in industrial and academic R&D; laboratories in developing such applications. The comparably low cost of NIL, which is as low as $500,000 for a basic tool, will position this technology as ideal for small companies and academic applied research environments.

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    MFL, CN Probes Partner in Breakthrough Growth of Carbon Nanotubes

    In one of the most famous scenes in the 1967 film, The Graduate, Walter Brook's character Mr. McGuire ceremoniously intimates to protagonist Benjamin Braddock (portrayed magnificently by Dustin Hoffman) that "Plastics" are the next big thing.

    Thirty years later, you might hear a similar statement touted by recent Columbia graduate and CN Probes CEO Brian Ruby. Only instead of plastics, the catch phrase is "Carbon Nanotubes."

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    Ruby, a New York college graduate-cum-Washington state business entrepreneur, is a client of the Washington Technology Center's Microfabrication Laboratory (MFL) and a key player in a successful joint research project between CN Probes and the MFL to develop and grow carbon nanotubes (CNTs) on a silicon wafer. The team recently completed groundbreaking research that did, in fact, successfully grow CNTs on a targeted location and confirmed the growth through various spectroscopic techniques. It is estimated that only four or five research groups in the world have achieved similar results on this scale.

    The CNTs grew out of pure collaboration. WTC's facility had the right tools in place to spark this type of innovation. According to Ruby, these capabilities extended beyond the lab's physical equipment such as the furnace used to grow the CNTs and the UW Nanotechnology User Facility's Raman Spectrum used to verify the results. "It's the collaborative environment of the Microfab Lab that makes these kinds of breakthroughs possible," he says. "It's a highly supportive and creative culture. The staff is just as committed to discovery and process innovation as their clients," Ruby notes. "Plus, WTC understands 'start-up mode' and work with their customers to keep access up, costs down and IP protected."

    Lab Manager Michael Hjelmstad concurs. He says that working with clients like CN Probes, PCB Piezotronics, and Microvision, who are pioneers in their fields, is inspiring and the goal of the lab is to go beyond just providing equipment and training and be a true research partner.

    "Imagine WTC is an architect who builds the ultimate kitchen for master chefs of various cuisines," explains Hjelmstad. "Brian Ruby has brought the lab his own special CNT recipe. That's a good analogy for the Carbon Nanotubes project."

    Hjelmstad also praises the assistance of the University of Washington's Nanotechnology User Facility, also housed in Fluke Hall, WTC's headquarters and the location of WTC's Microfabrication Laboratory. "We could not have confirmed the CNT growth without the assistance of Dong Qin and her team," Hjelmstad notes. "They were an invaluable partner and resource throughout this process."

    While still in the very early stages, carbon nanotubes have been lauded for their potential product versatility. The material is widely applicable to numerous applications and has been praised for its unique properties.

    However, when trying to integrate CNTs into a small-scale device, such as Nantero's nanotube based memory, CN Probes' molecular imaging probes or a new Intel processor, issues of scalability, reliability and reproducibility arise. With the new system at MFL, CN Probes and WTC are attacking these issues head on and making great progress. They are not the first team to grow carbon nanotubes, but they are part of an elite few that claim to be able to grow them under manufacturing conditions.

    Brian Ruby is optimistic this can be done. He sees CNTs as having high value in developing targeted applications for drug discovery. Ruby is aiming to evolve a process to grow an entire wafer of tubes on micro-machined atomic force microscope tips, which will vastly improve the resolution and utility of atomic force microscopes, a molecular imaging technique used by virtually everyone doing nanotech research.

    Related WTC links:

  • Carbon Nanoprobes is a WTC client
  • WTC's Microfabrication Laboratory

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  • Atomic Layer Deposition for Processing at the Nanoscale

    By Chris Hodson, Oxford Instruments and Dr. Erwin Kessels, Eindhoven University of Technology

    Within the current trends of downscaling in the semiconductor industry and the boost in nanoscience and nanotechnology, Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) is a good method of choice for depositing high quality films with ultimate growth control and with excellent step coverage on very demanding high-aspect ratio features. The virtue of this approach is that deposition is controlled at the atomic level by self-limiting surface reactions by alternate exposure of the substrate surface to different gas-phase precursors. This set of reactions form one ALD-cycle resulting basically in one (sub) monolayer of film growth per cycle, repeated until the desired film thickness is reached.

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    Unlike Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD), the deposition rate is not proportional to the flux on the surface. Therefore the same amount of material is deposited everywhere even in high aspect ratio structures when there is sufficient flux, providing excellent uniformity and conformality on large substrates. Relatively low substrate temperatures are used in the process (typically 200-400 °C, but even down to 25 °C with plasma ALD), and ALD can readily produce multilayer structures.

    A plasma-based ALD approach yields several benefits in addition to the earlier mentioned benefits of the ALD process itself:

    -improved material properties including higher film density, lower impurity levels, and better control of film composition and microstructure

    -deposition at reduced temperatures

    -increased choice of precursors and materials, including even high quality single metals that are difficult to obtain by “thermal” ALD

    -good control of film stoichiometry by tailoring the plasma step as well as the possibility to introduce dopants

    Oxford Instruments’ new FlexAL™ ALD tool, developed in consultation with leading figures in the field, can uniquely deposit by both plasma and thermal chemistries, enabling the widest choice of materials possible, and has been designed for solid, liquid and gas precursors, and with several of these connected at once, enabling nanolaminates. Its load-locked wafer entry offers important benefits for safety, throughput, and low background contamination levels. FlexAL delivers excellent uniformity on 8 inch wafers, but can equally process smaller wafers and pieces.

    The benefits of plasma ALD are illustrated by examples of processes already demonstrated on the FlexAL tool. Al2O3 is a common material deposited by ALD with applications including passivation of OLEDS, hard mechanical wear coatings of MEMS structures and use as a medium-k dielectric. Plasma ALD enables deposition down to room temperature, particularly important for deposition onto temperature sensitive organics, plastics and photoresist.

    TiN is a conductive metallic nitride used both as a diffusion barrier to copper and as a general metal electrode. Using plasma ALD with N2/H2 plasma, varying the N2:H2 ratio allows control of the film stoichiometry. The role of the hydrogen is in removal of the chlorine impurities in the film as HCl; increasing the plasma exposure time allows for a more complete reaction to reduce the chlorine impurity content and decreasing resistivity.

    Sponsored Article

    FlexAL™ - New flexibility and capability in atomic layer deposition.
    Atomic layer deposition (ALD) enables the creation of precisely controlled ultra-thin film – nanometer and sub-nanometer – materials, with conformal coating into high aspect ratio structures. Oxford Instruments’ new FlexAL™ systems offer a unique new range of flexibility and capability in the engineering of nanoscale structures and devices, by offering both plasma and thermal ALD processes. For more information, call us toll-free at 1-800-447-4717 or visit www.oxford-instruments.com.

    Related external links (will open a new window):

  • Visit Oxford Instruments

    Related WTC links:

  • Visit the WTC Microfabrication Laboratory

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  • Mike Hjelmstad promoted to lab manager

    Mike Hjelmstad has been promoted to the role of Manager of WTC's Microfabrication Laboratory. He will replace Eric Miller who served as manager of the research facility from 2004 to 2006.

    Mr. Hjelmstad joined WTC in 2004 as a Research Engineer and was responsible for both contract processing and support for users in photolithography and plasma etching.

    Prior to joining WTC, Hjelmstad was a graduate student at the University of Michigan. He holds both a Bachelor of Science and a Masters of Science and Engineering from the University of Michigan in Materials Science and Engineering.

    "Mike is a real asset to WTC," says Mary Tedd Allen, Director of Research and Program Operations for WTC. "We're confident he will make a great manager and leader for the Microfab Lab team."

    Mike says that he's looking forward to his new role as manager of the laboratory. "I enjoy interacting with our customers, especially showing users the vast capabilities of the facility and how WTC can assist them in their process needs," he says.

    "As lab manager, maintaining high standards of customer service and process innovation will be a core part of my responsibilities. I also intend to ensure this commitment to excellence is recognized not just locally, but nationally."

    Related WTC links:

  • WTC Microfabrication Laboratory

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  • Access IQ: Advances in Intrumentation Topic of Dec. 7, 2006 Seminar

    WTC's December AccessIQ workshop will focus on sophisticated micro and nano-scale process instrumentation that can provide competitive advantage across all industries and applications.

    Keynote speaker for the event is Norman Salmon, President of Hummingbird Scientific, a Lacey, Washington company that specializes in engineering support equipment for TEMs, SEMs, and FIBs.

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    Hummingbird Scientific is also a recent winner of a WTC Research & Technology Development grant with the University of Washington's Electrical Engineering Department to develop new heating elements for TEM experimentation combining the ability to withstand ultra-high temperatures and a design conducive to cost-effective maintenance.

    In addition, Hummingbird will be announcing the launch of a new international micro-machining facility to be housed in the Puget Sound area.

    Following Mr. Salmon’s presentation, WTC Lab engineers highlight the capabilities of three new pieces of equiment recently installed in the Fluke Hall facility:

    -NanoInk NSCRIPTOR™ DPN® Dip-Pen Nanolithography system This tool was purchased as part of a DARPA-funded research grant to study nanolithography and potential to scale-up to industry standards. The Nscriptor is an atomic force microscope (AFM) capable of depositing inks with line widths as small as 90nm.

    -Carbon Nanotube Reactor for precision deposition on substrates - This tool was jointly developed with a company which moved to Washington from 3,000 miles away specifically to collaborate with WTC on this project. It uses a forming gas bubbled through ethanol which reacts with catalysts on the wafer to grow carbon nanotubes. Further work will focus on creating oriented nanotubes.

    -EVG 620 Bonder/Aligner - The mask aligner is capable of contact lithography with pattern resolution and layer-to-layer alignment as low as 1µm. The wafer bonder is used with the aligner to provide high accuracy wafer-to-wafer alignment. It is capable of anodic, eutectic, and fusion bonding with glass and silicon wafers.

    AccessIQ Workshop

    'Tool Time': Advances In Instrumentation

    Thursday, Dec. 7, 2006
    7 a.m. to 9 a.m.

    Registration & Breakfast
    7 - 7:30 a.m.

    Presentation
    7:30 - 9 a.m.

    University of Washington Club, UW Campus, Seattle, WA

    Registration Fee: $35


    Related WTC links:

  • Hummingbird Scientific is a WTC client

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  • New High-Tech Research Lab Slated for Vancouver

    A proposal to build a new semiconductor and micro device research and development laboratory in Vancouver, Washington recently got a jump start thanks to Congressman Brian Baird. In June, Representative Baird, whose district encompasses southwest Washington, secured $100,000 in federal funding to be used towards Phase I development of the facility.

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    The laboratory is part of a broader regional economic development plan being led by the Washington Technology Center, the Columbia River Economic Development Council, and local semiconductor businesses such as nLight Photonics and Sharp Laboratories. The plan, known as the Semiconductor Industry Reinvestment Initiative, will help sustain job growth and accelerate future economic development in Southwest Washington. This region already has a strong cluster of start-up and established companies working in the fields of semiconductors and microelectronics.

    "This funding will create jobs and spur economic development by helping existing high-tech businesses grow and attracting new businesses and researchers to our region," said Congressman Baird. "I have long supported public-private partnerships in education, and this is a very promising program."

    The $100,000 secured by Congressman Baird will come from the Housing and Urban Development Economic Development Initiative's Facilities Construction/Renovation account.

    "The lab is a key element of our strategy to build a foundation for innovation for our existing and future technology businesses," says Bart Phillips, President of the Columbia River Economic Development Council. "This initial investment is a critical step forward and is the direct result of the collaborative partnership driving this initiative."

    The new Clark County facility will be sited on the Washington State University-Vancouver campus. The lab will provide high-tech businesses and academic researchers in Southwest Washington with a local resource for conducting leading-edge semiconductor and micro device research. Building, furnishing and managing a facility of this caliber is a multi-million dollar investment. Most companies that conduct research in the fields of microelectronics are in their growth stages and can't afford to build and maintain this caliber of process development and prototyping in-house.

    Phase I development of the research center includes planning and constructing a small clean room in an existing space near the WSU-Vancouver campus and purchasing equipment to develop a foundation of standard semiconductor and micro device fabrication processes at the lab.

    The Vancouver facility will be modeled after the Washington Technology Center's Microfabrication Laboratory located on the University of Washington campus in Seattle. Built in 1995, WTC's Microfab Lab is an example of a successful $6.5 million public-private venture. At the time, Washington was gaining recognition for its strengths in micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS), a key process used in numerous leading-edge commercial applications. The facility filled a critical need for the state's growing base of research engineers working in the MEMS field. Over the last 10 years the lab has matured into a self-sustaining business bringing in over $1 million in revenue annually. And it will soon be expanding its capabilities to cater to the next generation of technologies which will integrate nano-scale processes into product development.

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    Access IQ: Get 'enlightened' on photonics at Sept. 14, 2006 workshop

    Part of the Microfab Lab's AccessIQ Seminar Series

    The light bulb is the quintessential symbol for "idea." The powerful and multi-functional qualities of light are the basic building blocks to numerous scientific explorations, engineering processes and product developments, including micro and nano-scale applications in the fields of electronics, energy, biomedicine and more.

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    At the next AccessIQ seminar, featured researchers will "bring to light" process development innovations in the realm of photonics. WTC's Microfabrication Laboratory has a highly active and innovative R&D; culture in the field of photonics. For this workshop, academic and industry clients will showcase applications derived from leading-edge processes they are developing in the Lab and implementing into next generation consumer products and services.

    The AccessIQ seminar runs from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and is held at the University of Washington Club on the UW Campus in Seattle. Cost to attend the Photonics workshop is $35. Breakfast and course materials are included. Space is limited.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Process Development in Photonics

    Thursday, Sept. 14
    7 a.m. to 9 a.m.

    Registration & Breakfast
    7 - 7:30 a.m.

    Presentation
    7:30 - 9 a.m.

    University of Washington Club, UW Campus, Seattle, WA

    Registration Fee: $35

    Related WTC links:

  • WTC's Microfabrication Laboratory

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  • Dip Pen Lithography Tool Installation Slated for September, 2006

    The WTC Microfabrication Laboratory will be adding a new Dip Pen Lithography tool to its process engineering capabilities this month. The new equipment is scheduled for installation the week of September 18. The Dip Pen will be a primary research tool in WTC's applied nanolithography program. WTC was awarded a three-year contract from the Department of the Navy's Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center, under the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), to develop and prototype an industrial-grade nano-patterning process in its Microfabrication Laboratory.

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    Nanolithography, process techniques for patterning substrates, typically to create MEMS devices or microchips, has broad applications. It allows virtually any material to be patterned onto a wide range of substrates at the molecular level. This opens up endless possibilities for creating more sophisticated materials, sensors, circuitry, and other applications.

    Dip Pen is a form of lithography in which an Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) is at the core of the tool used to pattern or "write" to the substrate. It does this by delivering molecules to a surface via a solvent meniscus, similar to the way an ink pen works, but at a much smaller scale.

    Nano-imprint lithography is a different technique to achieve the same result. For this grant project, WTC will create a "master" using an electron beam (e-beam) tool to pattern a substrate. The substrate will then be inserted into the lab's bonder/aligner tool, which will "stamp" or "imprint" the pattern into a second substrate from which a MEMs device or a microchip can be created.

    The goal of the DARPA-funded Dip Pen Lithography project is to see which technique shows more promise in terms of both ultimate resolution and manufacturability. Many promising new lithographic techniques demonstrate excellent resolution but with limitations such as a relatively small geographic area or without the repeatability required for high volume production. WTC will study all of these parameters, compare and contrast techniques, and create an advanced process with the robustness, reliability and scale-ability needed for prototyping and product manufacturing.

    Nanotechnology-based products are estimated to generate $1 trillion in sales over the next decade. Many of Washington's dominant and emerging industries, including life sciences, energy, manufacturing, electronics and agriculture, will directly benefit from nanolithography process development.

    Nano-scale technology demand will most likely emulate microelectronics in that commercial adoption will be driven by price and manufacturability. Robustness and reliability of nano-scale processes will be the benchmark for performance and economy of scale in medical devices, energy systems and materials-based products. The work that WTC will undertake through this grant project will advance these processes toward the quality and volume required for commercial use.

    Related WTC links:

  • WTC's Microfabrication Laboratory

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  • WTC awarded DARPA grant to launch new nanolithography R&D; program

    Washington Technology Center (WTC) has been awarded a contract from the Department of the Navy's Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center, under the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), to launch a new nanolithography applied development program in Washington state. WTC received the $863,000 award to develop and prototype an industrial-grade nano-patterning process in WTC's Microfabrication Laboratory.

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    The project is another significant step in the Washington Nanotechnology Initiative (WNI), a collaborative effort by Washington's technology leaders to position our state as a global leader in the use of nanotechnology for next-generation product development.

    DARPA's funding of WTC's nanolithography program provides Northwest companies with the foundation processes they need to evolve their product innovations. Washington state has a solid research and industry base in micro-electronics and semiconductors. These are the building blocks from which many nano-scale technologies are emerging. To keep the state's companies competitive, the state needs to ensure companies are able to act on market opportunities as they arise. WTC's program provides companies with the infrastructure and resources to do this.

    Nanolithography's appeal lies in its incredible versatility. It allows virtually any material to be patterned onto a wide range of substrates at an extremely small scale –- down to the molecular level. This opens up endless possibilities for creating more sophisticated materials, sensors, circuitry, and other applications.

    DARPA supports projects and initiatives where the research and technology development payoff is high with respect to amplifying military operations and missions. Nanolithography is a key component in defense applications and has significant commercial value. Nanotechnology-based products are estimated to generate $1 trillion in sales over the next decade. Many of Washington's dominant and emerging industries, including life sciences, energy, manufacturing, electronics and agriculture, will directly benefit from nanolithography process development. Current technologies that rely on nanolithography include fuel cells, drug-delivery devices, microelectronics and photonics.

    Nano-scale technology demand will most likely emulate microelectronics in that commercial adoption will be driven by price and manufacturability. Robustness and reliability of nano-scale processes will be the benchmark for performance and economy of scale in medical devices, energy systems and materials-based products. The work that WTC will undertake through this grant project will advance these processes to the quality and volume required for commercial use.

    Related WTC links:

  • WTC Microfabrication Laboratory

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  • AccessIQ Seminar: The Business of R&D; - May 18, 2006

    AccessIQ, a seminar series hosted by WTC's Microfabrication Laboratory, takes a case study approach to exploring the latest R&D; trends in micro- and nano-scale process development and fabrication. At the next breakfast meeting, set for Thursday, May 18, 2006, the focus is the "Business of R&D.;" Attendees will explore how effective and innovative process development can open new doors for partnerships, product manufacturing and, ultimately, commercial success.

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    To illustrate this, industry partners and legal experts will discuss effective ways to recognize opportunities, protect intellectual property, and continue to innovate throughout the R&D;, prototyping, and commercialization process. Participants will also hear from experts in the field on their "best practices" for breaking into new markets, competing in existing ones, and successfully transitioning a process from lab prototype to commercially manufactured product.

    The Business of R&D; seminar runs from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and is held at the University of Washington Club on the UW Campus in Seattle. Cost to attend this AccessIQ workshop is $35. Breakfast and course materials are included. Space is limited.

    Related WTC links:

  • WTC Microfabrication Laboratory

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  • Microfabrication Lab Supports Process Innovation in Photovoltaic R&D;

    Working on leading-edge R&D; related to high performance photovoltaics? The Microfabrication Laboratory at Washington Technology Center (WTC) may be just the facility you are looking for to support your product development. The professionally staffed, state-of-the-art lab, complete with clean room, is equipped with all the process tools needed to research, develop, test, and prototype photovoltaic cells, photonics and solid-state devices.

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    The lab's processes and tools specialize in depositing, removing, patterning and characterizing materials at the micro and nano-scale level. These base applications offer a strong foundation from which innovative photovoltaic products can be developed and open the doors for companies to go after near-term opportunities in this field.

    The lab is capable of patterning, etching, depositing and characterizing materials at the micro and nano-scale level. These base applications offer a strong foundation from which innovative photovoltaic products can be developed and open the doors for companies to go after near-term opportunities in this field.

    Efficiency has long been the standard by which compelling new product offerings are judged. The WTC lab has been instrumental in allowing clients to develop next generation micro- and nano-scale products that meet the high demand for power, scale, and cost effectiveness in electronics, fluidics, optics, and fuel cells.

    There's a strong interest in energy efficiency. WTC wants the pioneers working in this sector to know there are resources available to help them deliver their products to market faster and more affordably, without having to sacrifice proprietary control or process quality.

    WTC's Microfabrication Lab is capable of supporting multiple processes integral to photovoltaic fabrication including thin film evaporaion, copper plating, and thin film silicon on glass. The facility maximizes process innovation to allow engineers to develop leading-edge technology that will accelerate the adoption of photovoltaic devices into the commercial marketplace. Breakthrough applications developed and supported at the lab include anti-reflective coatings that increase light absorption and a silicon nanowire-on-glass process for cutting-edge research into third generation photovoltaics.

    In addition to its turn-key appeal, the lab's competitive edge comes from its reputation as an entrepreneur-friendly facility. While there are other facilities in the U.S. and abroad with similar infrastructure for photovoltaics R&D; and prototyping, WTC's lab has a unique advantage in that is was founded on the principle of collaboration and low barriers of entry. Lab clients frequently comment on the lab's commitment to keeping access fees affordable and scalable to allow even early-stage companies to use the lab's services, the consistency of the lab's contract staff to turn out quality work on time and on budget, and the lab's inimitable policy of allowing users to maintain ownership and control of their individual process innovations.

    Related WTC links:

  • WTC Microfabrication Lab

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  • Nanotech Education Could Pay Off for Washington Employers

    Nanotechnology is widely believed to be the next breakthrough technology to alter the performance and quality of everything from electronics to energy, clothing to cosmetics, cars to cancer treatment. How we prepare our industries to embrace this revolution affects how well our state competes in a tech-savvy global economy. A key element is human capital.

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    Nanotechnology is estimated to create or impact hundreds of thousands of jobs worldwide over the next decade. A readily-available, well-trained workforce is essential for local companies to compete in these competitive new markets.

    In September 2005, North Seattle Community College (NSCC) became the first college in Washington state to offer an Associate of Applied Science-Transfer (AAS-T) degree in Nanotechnology. The Microfabrication Laboratory at Washington Technology Center (WTC) and the University of Washington's Center for Nanotechnology are integral partners in the program.

    Both facilities, housed in Fluke Hall on the University of Washington campus in Seattle, provide students access to specialized equipment and processes for hands-on lab sessions as part of the program curricula.

    NSCC's 103-credit degree prepares graduates for entry-level technician positions in the nano/micro-fabrication and related manufacturing industries. A unique aspect of the NSCC program is its focus on real-world application. In addition to academic study in the field of nanotechnology, students take part in lab classes that allow them to perform process work integral to the development of next generation micro and nano-scale products.

    WTC's customers are already anticipating market adoption of nano-scale products and materials and are adapting their processes to address this paradigm shift. The Microfabrication Laboratory is upgrading its equipment and processes to meet the sophisticated needs for nanotech research and development. The next natural step will be a demand for research and process engineers skilled in nanotechnology manufacturing. Anticipating this and addressing it through technical education programs and on-the-job training is a smart initiative.

    Many of NSCC's nanotech courses are taught by expert engineers in the field. As part of NSCC's course, students are exposed to clean room procedures, process fundamentals and maintenance principles of fabrication and characterization equipment at WTC's Microfab Lab. The cross-functional nature of nanotechnology and the lab's ability to support multiple disciplines provide graduates with skills applicable to a diverse range of industries including aerospace, electronics, life sciences, transportation, and pharmaceuticals.

    A key goal of the NSCC program is to provide Washington businesses with access to trained workers. Through the nanotech program, employers have the opportunity to tap into this developing workforce early and hire students as interns or entry-level employees. In fact, WTC did just that and hired one of the NSCC students, Sergei Goloborodov, as an entry-level process technician in its Microfabrication Laboratory.

    Mark Helsel, of long-time Microfabrication Laboratory client Microvision, has hosted a seminar on nanotechnology for high school students during the summer. The program helps kids see a real-world connection between science and math in school and careers in emerging technology fields. Helsel has hosted similar summer seminars for high school students at WTC's facility for the past three years.

    NSCC's degree program and Helsel's summer lab seminar are complementary to the mission of the Washington Nanotechnology Initiative, a statewide program introduced by the Washington Technology Center in 2004 to assure that Washington's businesses and academic institutions are "nano-ready" and prepared to compete in an ever-evolving and highly competitive global economy. Workforce development is one of the key agendas under the Washington Nanotechnology Initiative. The WTC-NSCC partnership is an important model in showing the value of nanotech education at the K-12 and college levels, and its impact in driving talent into graduate research positions and careers in Washington's leading technology industries.

    Related external links (will open a new window):

  • Nanotechnology degree program at North Seattle Community College

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  • WTC Client Profile: Carbon Nanoprobes, Inc.

    Brian Ruby, founder and CEO of Carbon Nanoprobes, Inc., a New-York based start-up, recently traveled 3,000 miles from White Plains to Seattle. The reason for this journey: an in-person visit to the facility where he would undertake some of the most critical research needed to launch his business -- WTC's Microfabrication Laboratory.

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    An intelligent, passionate and poised 22 year-old Columbia University student and entrepreneur, Ruby is that rare combination of scientist and visionary. He's simultaneously developing novel technologies and challenging the boundaries of industry standards, while making the venture rounds to drive capital to his fledgling company.

    Carbon Nanoprobes' product is based on one of the hottest scientific revolutions in the global economy -- nanotechnology. Ruby is looking to produce carbon nano-tube tips for atomic force microscopes -- a critical tool used by research scientists for nano-scale exploration. The novel properties of carbon nanotubes make them ideal for use in a variety of industries including micro-electronics, optics, energy storage, drug delivery and advanced materials. Their strength, electrical properties, and cylindrical shape make them a compelling option for probes.

    Ruby is capitalizing on these opportunities but his company's true competitive edge lies in scalability. Currently, the industry relies on manual production to produce the probes, which realistically only yields tens of tips daily. Carbon Nanoprobes plans to manufacture a whopping 7500 tips a day -- a huge margin ahead of the competition. This mass manufacturing drives down the price point, making the tips more affordable to the end user.

    Finding the right process application to produce consistent tips at a high volume is critical. To achieve this, Ruby was looking for a research laboratory to develop and prototype the tips. As a start-up venture, Carbon Nanoprobes doesn't have the capital to build and maintain a facility with the sophisticated equipment and processes needed to undertake this full-scale fabrication.

    "It didn't make sense to try and replicate a tool set that already exists," says Ruby. "However, finding a facility with the right infrastructure can be challenging." Ruby did his research. He surveyed every known nano center in the nation. He was looking for that winning combination of core competency and cost fit. He found it in WTC's Microfabrication Laboratory.

    The lab's sophisticated tool set captured his attention. What sold him was the attentive reception he received from WTC's lab manager. "He was responsive and flexible," Ruby offers. "The lab's pricing is attractive, especially in capping costs for user fees. This is especially attractive for a company during its intense R&D; phase," he explains.

    The relationship between WTC and Carbon Nanoprobes extends beyond the basic customer-supplier exchange. The company's nano-based technology requires novel processes not readily available through existing equipment, which is geared towards fabrication for micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS). Ruby wants to help pave the way for researchers to use nanotech tools, and sees WTC as a key partner in making that happen. "MEMS makes nano possible," says Ruby. "Product development at the micro level empirically validates what can be done at the nano level." WTC believes MEMS is the springboard for nanotechnology, and WTC staff are thrilled to be working with Carbon Nanoprobes and look forward to evolving processes to meet the needs of the nano community.

    Ruby is using the Microfabrication Laboratory to develop state-of-the-art silicon probes. He'll be using his IP to enhance the functionality of the probes and lay the groundwork for the carbon nanotube tips. Nanotubes produce a superior probe. They're durable, reliable and allow for greater resolution magnitude. Their market adoption will open doors for advanced materials science research that will benefit a myriad of industries including biotech, chemical pharmaceutical, and semiconductors.

    Ruby finds a pleasing symmetry of his company's business model. His product is based on innovation and intellectual property. And by creating the tips, he's helping others in the research field to do the same -- by expanding what's possible in nano-based scientific discovery and commercialization.

    "It's like selling premier picks and shovels to miners -- you are providing them with the tools they need to excel at their craft," he says. "Carbon Nanoprobes is enabling research engineers to experiment and create on the smallest possible scale -- beyond what they've been able to achieve previously."

    Ruby says Carbon Nanoprobes is looking to have a long-term presence in the Microfab Lab. "I am impressed with WTC's commitment to supporting start-ups. The organization's mission is centered on stimulating economic growth through technology entrepreneurship. This spirit carries through to their user facility."

    Related WTC links:

  • Carbon Nanoprobes is a WTC client

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  • Students Experience ‘Science of the Small' in Summer 2005 Lab Program

    Students in the Puget Sound area had the unique privilege of learning about micro and nano scale fabrication as part of a special science lab seminar held summer 2005 at the Washington Microfabrication Laboratory in Seattle.

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    Mark Helsel, Senior Staff Engineer for Microvision, volunteers his time to teach the lab seminar and WTC offers access to their facility to the students for this unique program. Mr. Helsel has conducted research at the Microfab Lab for seven years. The summer science program is co-sponsored by Forest Ridge High School in Bellevue but is open to all Puget Sound area students in grades 10 or above interested in engineering and science. This year, nine teens participated in the program.

    Through the Summer Science Lab, the students participated in hands-on experience seeing how science and engineering is applied to real-world applications. Specifically, the kids learned about technologies used to make silicon computer chips and experiment with photo lithography (a micron scale photo patterning technology) and plasma etching. A laboratory safety class was also part of the program.

    WTC's Microfabrication Laboratory provides the ideal environment for the students to experience high level research in action and work in a first-rate research facility. The kids are able to see how engineering and science principles can be applied by companies and academic researchers in the lab to create a variety of innovative micro and nano scale products in such cutting-edge fields as optics, fuels cells and biotechnology.

    Brian Kemper is currently a college freshman studying to be a chemical engineer. When he learned that 1 in 6 chemical engineers are hired by semiconductor companies like Intel, it piqued his interest.

    He'd heard about the Summer Science program from a friend at school and decided it might be a good introduction to learning more about career opportunities in this field.

    "I'm an avid follower of computer technology and really wanted to see how research on computer chips and other nano-scale parts was done," said Kemper. "The summer science lab offered the chance to experience being in a clean room and using hardware that most people never get to see in their entire lives."

    Brian said the most interesting piece of equipment was the electron microscope. "I had heard of them in science class but had never seen first-hand the extent of their amazingly powerful magnification, he said. "Looking at the pieces of silicon on which we etched patterns, they looked and felt flawlessly smooth. But once we used the electron microscope to zoom 200,000 times real size, you could see mountains of silicon filling an entire 20-inch computer monitor."

    Brooke Bussone attends Forest Ridge High School and is interested in biomedical research. She hopes to one day work for either the Centers for Disease Control or the World Health Organization. She saw that Forest Ridge was offering the Science Lab as part of the school's summer camps programs and thought she could learn something valuable from the program.

    Related WTC links:

  • WTC Microfabrication Laboratory

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  • WTC Awarded Grant for New Lab Equipment

    Washington Technology Center has been awarded a competitive grant from the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust to go towards funding for a new Bonder/Aligner for the Microfabrication Laboratory

    This equipment will open up new avenues of research for the Microfab Lab and allow Washington industry and academic engineers to see a significant improvement in process capability with respect to bonding. It will also allow the lab to increase the volume and customization of its contract lithography projects.

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    The grant was received in partnership with the Washington Technology Center, the UW College of Engineering, and Microvision, a Bothell-based company that has been a client of the Microfab Lab since 1998. The partners have all made financial and research commitments towards the equipment; however, the $280,000 received from the grant will help offset the burden of this major capital equipment expense.

    The Microfab Lab also recently acquired WYCO NT 3300 optical profiling equipment and a spin developer. The Optical Profiler provides a versatile profiler capable of submicron resolution on deep etch features. The Spin Developer allows Washington's companies greater control over development of extremely small features which would otherwise be difficult using batch processing.

    These two systems are currently installed and fully functional. Training on the equipment is available from professional laboratory staff. The New Bonder/Aligner Equipment is scheduled for installation in 2006.

    Related WTC links:

  • WTC Microfabrication Laboratory

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  • Building a Successful Public Laboratory Requires Planning and Vision

    The Washington Technology Center's (WTC) Microfabrication Laboratory is celebrating its tenth anniversary. Like any entrepreneurial venture, we experienced successes and challenges in achieving this milestone. It's how we faced those challenges and leveraged our successes over the last decade that has led this public laboratory to become a thriving regional center for research and innovation.

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    Think Big
    When launching an ambitious project like a public laboratory, two elements are critical. First, have a clear vision. Second, set a path for achieving this vision.

    When WTC opened its Microfabrication Laboratory in 1995, microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) was beginning to gain attention as a viable technology with strong market potential. The 15,000 square-foot facility, the largest shared user facility in the Pacific Northwest, offered a space where academic and industry researchers could take advantage of leading-edge process equipment and small-scale prototyping.

    Washington had a strong research base in MEMS and companies were beginning to see the market potential of MEMS technologies. WTC capitalized on this potential by focusing the lab's capabilities around MEMS research and development. WTC also integrated MEMS into its existing programs, positioning it as emerging Washington industry and supporting MEMS projects through research grants.

    This diligent effort to chart a path for industry growth paid off. Washington has a robust MEMS industry cluster and the Microfab Lab is a fully-functional, self-supporting R&D; resource for researchers and engineers worldwide.

    Plan Long Term
    Long-term commitment is essential for operational success. It is not enough to simply ride on the coattails of an industry boom. In 2000, WTC tried to capture a share of the photonics market. It was believed that the Lab could attract photonics clients by "shoehorning" MEMS processes towards this effort without a large investment in equipment and infrastructure.

    This approach had short-term success. The lab benefited from the market surge and captured overflow from the shortage of available R&D; facilities. However, without the long-range planning needed to carve out a niche for this industry, business didn't hold once the hype subsided. Researchers migrated to facilities that had taken the time to fully invest in photonics and we missed an opportunity to distinguish ourselves as a leader in this industry.

    WTC is taking this to heart as the next generation of technologies emerges. Nanotechnology is the perfect example. The Washington Nanotechnology Initiative is underway, creating a framework for investing in facilities, education, job skills training, and industry growth. WTC is committed to making the Microfabrication Laboratory the center for nanotechnology research in Washington.

    Dare to Be Different
    The Microfabrication Laboratory opened its doors with an ambitious goal. Located on the University of Washington campus in Seattle, the lab set out to be a resource for academic research teams and industry clientele. This "hybrid model" didn't fit the typical mold of how a public facility should look and feel.

    Most engineers draw a distinction between academic research labs and commercial foundries. Academics tend to view the lab from the perspective of a facility. Their priority is access to equipment. They don't always understand the financial commitment required to run a lab of this magnitude. Industries see the lab as a resource. They are willing to pay user fees to have access to reliable "turn key" processes, thus avoiding hiring research staff or building facilities during early-stage development. We had to show our customers that a public laboratory could be both a center for cutting-edge scientific research and a resource for commercial product development.

    Champion Your Cause
    Managing a shared user space didn't come easily. WTC had to overcome stereotypes to achieve a collective vision of how the Lab would operate. Clearing these hurdles involved:

    1. A Shift in Mindset.
    Requiring academic researchers to embrace a user-fee operational model meant asking them to adopt a standard of practice foreign to academic research facilities. This change in perception took time. For industry clients, it meant getting them to see value in a collaborative environment beyond mere production and development.

    2. Management.
    It was important to hire engineers, technicians, and managers that understand what it takes to operate in the style of a commercial enterprise. This also opened up opportunities for contract work as skilled staff are available to do custom processes for clients outside the local area or who don't have the manpower to conduct the research on-site.

    3. Model of Operation.
    You can't be everything to everybody, but you can serve multiple customers successfully if your business plan is solid and your clients understand the benefits to them. It's critical to adhere to the best operational model for your facility. In our case, the rewards were clear: academic researchers and start-up companies working side-by-side creates one of the most exciting R&D; environments imaginable.

    Over ten years, WTC has followed its vision for the Microfabrication Laboratory to be a widely accessible resource for technology innovation. Through this legacy we have seen many entrepreneurial companies achieve market leadership and university research projects evolve into commercial-ready technologies. These achievements are "proof of concept" that with strong leadership, a clear mission and ongoing commitment a public laboratory can be a center of excellence for research and development.

    Related WTC links:

  • WTC Microfabrication Laboratory

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  • Nano-Revolution is Sparking New Trends in Traditional Process R&D;

    Most of us are familiar with the infamous saying, "you can't teach an old dog new tricks." While that may be true for many scenarios, it doesn't necessarily hold true for lab processing. It is possible to get your old equipment to turn out new materials by tweaking process parameters on existing tools.

    Currently, there is renewed interest in the academic world around the vapor-liquid-solid (VLS) growth mechanism for nano-scale semiconductors.

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    This mechanism was first described by researchers at Bell Labs in the 1960s who used it to explain the strange formation which was sometimes seen in thin film deposition reactors of thin wispy strands of semiconductors. These researchers understood that the deposition was brought about by the presence of metal particles in the reactors which would act as catalysts to the growth of the strands.

    Trends towards building and understanding components on the nanometer scale, particularly at the confluence of molecular biology and integrated circuit fabrication, has re-kindled interest in the VLS growth mechanism. Labs around the world are attempting to harness this method of growing high purity, single crystal semiconductor "nanowires" for diverse applications ranging from biomolecule identification to the growth of transistors.

    Recently, WTC's Microfabrication Lab has developed VLS growth techniques to form Silicon nano-cloth films. In this method, a silicon wafer is densely coated with tiny crystals of catalyst. The catalyst is formed through an ultra-thin film deposition followed by an annealing process to form discrete nano crystals of catalysis. After this, the VLS growth mechanism is performed inside a chemical vapor deposition reactor. The result is a dense cloth of silicon wires or fibers randomly intertwined. By selectively depositing a catalyst, it is possible to control where on the wafer the nanowires form, even to the point where a single wire can be grown. Work is being done to characterize this material as grown in the lab, and to develop a robust selective growth techniques.

    The material has incredibly diverse potential applications that take advantage of the incredible surface area to volume ratio, such as bio sensors. One of the problems in biomolecule detection is the ability to generate a sufficient signal to detect the presence of low concentrations of substances in small sample sizes. By having a higher surface area in a smaller space it is possible to increase signal while keeping noise constant, thus lowering the detection limit, even for incredibly small sample sizes.

    Researchers have begun looking into the use of these nano-semiconductors in the fabrication of high efficiency solar cells. Through in situ doping, it is possible to grow nanowires to form the pn-junctions which are at the heart of the solar cell. Together with the very high optical absorption of this material and the ability to fabricate high densities of junctions tailored to the full spectrum of solar radiation,, photovoltaic researchers are intrigued about the possibility of forming new types of high-efficiency, cost-effective solar cells with nanowires.

    There is also great interest in using this method to grow atomically sharp nanoneedles to be used as very fine instruments to probe the components of cells which are still living, or for imaging materials at the atomic scale. It may be possible to form conducting nanowires long enough to puncture a living cell, but small enough that they would be able to probe a single organelle, or image a single molecule.

    Ultimately, the WTC Microfab Lab's goal is to provide our customers with the tools they need to perform cutting-edge research. By developing new processes on our existing systems, we expand the breadth of what the lab has to offer and get maximum value from the equipment and processes we've already invested in. We keep costs low and avoid capital expenses of new equipment. So, in this case, it may just be possible to teach that old dog new tricks after all.

    Related WTC links:

  • WTC Microfabrication Laboratory

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  • AccessIQ -- 14K R&D;: Going for the Gold - Feb. 8, 2006

    February 8, 2006
    7 a.m. to 9 a.m.
    University of Washington Club
    University of Washington Campus, Seattle, Wash.

    These morning sessions, hosted by the Microfabrication Laboratory, are the perfect opportunity for industry engineers and academic researchers to discuss the latest R&D; trends in MEMS and nanotechnology. Our first session, "14K R&D;: Going for the Gold" will feature three companies as "case studies" on the innovative processes they have created for such applications as high aspect ratio plating, electroplating, and gold eutechnic bonding. Learn about the research techniques, equipment, and tools each team used to develop their process and take the opportunity to ask questions of each researcher as they share their best practices and lessons learned.

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    The registration fee for this event is $35.

    Related WTC links:

  • WTC Microfabrication Laboratory

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  • WTC Awarded Grant for New Lab Equipment

    The WTC Microfabrication Laboratory has been awarded a competitive grant from the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust to go towards funding for a new Bonder/Aligner for the laboratory.

    This new equipment will open up new avenues of research for the Microfab Lab and allow Washington industry and academic engineers to see a significant improvement in process capability with respect to bonding. It will also allow the lab to increase the volume and customization of its contract lithography projects.

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    The grant was received in partnership with the Washington Technology Center, the UW College of Engineering, and Microvision, a Bothell-based company that has been a client of the Microfab Lab since 1998. The partners have all made financial and research commitments towards the equipment; however, the $280,000 received from the grant will help offset the burden of this major capital equipment expense.

    The Microfab Lab also recently acquired WYCO NT 3300 optical profiling equipment and a spin developer. The Optical Profiler provides a versatile profiler capable of submicron resolution on deep etch features. The Spin Developer allows Washington's companies greater control over development of extremely small features which would otherwise be difficult using batch processing.

    These two systems are currently installed and fully functional. Training on the equipment is available from professional laboratory staff. The New Bonder/Aligner Equipment is scheduled for installation in 2006.

    Related WTC links:

  • WTC Microfabrication Laboratory

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  • Microfabrication Lab Celebrates 10th Anniversary

    A May 19, 2005 symposium commemorates a decade of process development and production for emerging industries.

    Washington Technology Center's Microfabrication Laboratory is celebrating a decade of being the Pacific Northwest's largest public MEMS laboratory dedicated to R&D; and prototype manufacturing.

    WTC will be hosting a 10th Anniversary Symposium on May 19, 2005 from 1 to 6:30 p.m. in Seattle. This informational and networking event offers a unique opportunity to explore the latest developments in micro-fabrication and see first-hand how a public facility of this type is helping accelerate the adoption of new technologies into the marketplace.

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    The symposium will feature a keynote presentation by Marlene Bourne, Vice President of Research and Principal Analyst for Small Times Media, the leading source of business information, technological advances, applications and investment opportunities regarding micro and nanotechnology.

    The program will also feature a panel of academic and industry researchers who have used the lab's resources to launch innovative new products into the commercial marketplace. Panelists include Dwayne Dunaway, Nanostring Technologies; Jason Tauscher, Microvision; Andrea Tombros, PCB Piezotronics; Babak Parviz, Electrical Engineering, University of Washington.

    Additional highlights include:

    * Presentations regarding access to public facilities for technology R&D; and state and federal grant programs that can help fund early-stage technology R&D.;

    * An overview of the Microfab Lab's capabilities and tours of the facility and a showcase of local companies that have launched products out of MEMS research.

    * Networking, vendor showcase, and hosted reception.


    Registration:
    1:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
    HUB Auditorium
    UW Campus, Seattle, WA

    Symposium
    1:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
    HUB Auditorium
    UW Campus, Seattle, WA

    Lab Tour & Hosted Reception:
    5:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
    Washington Technology Center Fluke Hall,
    UW Campus, Seattle, WA

    As of spring 2005, WTC's Microfabrication Laboratory has more than 260 registered users worldwide. The lab serves academic and industry clients working on new technological advances in such areas as electronics, power, optics, medical technology, digital imaging, aerospace, telecommunications, and military.

    The diverse products that have come out of the Microfabrication Laboratory include MEMS-based bar code scanners, fuel cells for laptops and cell phones, bio screening devices, bio-compatible implants, laser guidance systems, high power diode lasers, digital switches, and micro-filtration systems. The symposium will highlight some of these innovative technologies to come out of the lab over the past decade.

    To Register
    There is no cost to attend the Microfabrication Lab 10th Anniversary Symposium. However, a donation of $25 is strongly encouraged. All donations will be used to support economic development & job growth for entrepreneurs in Washington state.

    Related WTC links:

  • WTC Microfabrication Laboratory

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  • Looking Back at a Decade of Process Excellence

    The Washington Microfabrication Laboratory Provides Researchers with an Affordable Way to Create Custom Process Work for Cutting Edge Technology Solutions

    Ten years ago, the potential of MEMS to revolutionize semiconductor and advanced materials manufacturing created a buzz among technology researchers. Finding ways to integrate new micro-technologies into commercial operations was at the forefront of R&D; efforts worldwide. Access to facilities to conduct novel research and technology development and produce small-runs of prototypes topped the list of entrepreneurs' needs at the earliest stage of their growth.

    Washington Technology Center (WTC), the organization responsible for driving technology-based economic development in Washington State, saw MEMS' potential and what it could mean for the Pacific Northwest. In 1995, WTC opened a 15,000 square foot Microfabrication Laboratory in Seattle to provide a unique R&D; environment for MEMS research.

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    Here's a look back at the first ten years.

    A new standard of research
    WTC's Microfabrication Laboratory is the largest public Microfabrication facility in the northwestern region of the United States. The lab offers processes and tools for depositing, removing, patterning and characterizing materials at the micron level and serves both academic and industry clients.

    In its first year of operation, WTC's Microfabrication Laboratory client base was about 50 users. As of Spring 2005, the Lab has more than 260 registered users representing 55 university research groups and 44 private industry firms,
    from 13 U.S. states and Canadian provinces, and Washington is one of the top regions in the U.S. in MEMS technology. WTC attributes this success to three key selling points:

    Affordable Access: The Microfab Lab caters to smaller, innovative companies, providing them with a resource they otherwise could not afford in the earliest stages of their growth. Clients pay a monthly fee for unlimited access to the facility. Part-time and contract rates are also available. Cost savings can be substantial. One client was quoted $600,000 from a commercial foundry fora project. The same process using WTC's Microfab Lab was $150,000.

    Process Control: One of the top selling features of the Microfab Lab is that clients maintain full control of their intellectual property and processes. For companies with emerging technologies, it's crucial that they have the abilityto do the process development hands-on. Many fabrication facilities can't or won't accommodate this type of specialization. WTC's Microfabrication Laboratory does.

    One-Stop Shopping: The Microfab Lab allows users to do multiple, custom processes under one roof. The facility features equipment and processes in the areas of MEMS, Nanotechnology, Photonics and Microfluidics with process capabilities in photolithography, metrology, etching, thin film processing, high temperature processing and back end processing. These comprehensive services prevent researchers from having to contract with multiple labs or foundries which can be costly, time consuming and affect process consistency and control. Professional full-time staff are available to train clients on the equipment and perform contract work.

    One client summed it up perfectly when he referred to the Microfab Lab as a functional arm to their company's research division without the burdens of maintaining their own facility.

    The first ten years of the Microfabrication Laboratory's operations proved a monumental decade in opening doors for new MEMS technologies to enter the market. The Microfab Lab is marking this milestone with a 10th Anniversary Symposium on May 19, 2005 in Seattle. This event will feature presentations on topics related to academic and industry research, an overview of the Lab's capabilities and tours of the facility, and showcase of lab clients that have successfully launched products out of MEMS research.

    The symposium will also look at new opportunities in technology research, including nanotechnology, touted as the next revolution in miniaturization, and how the Microfab Lab will be preparing to be a center of innovation for this new enabling technology.

    What Clients are Saying about the Microfab Lab

    "Having access to fully-functioning fabrication resources through WTC is enormously valuable to us. The MicroFab Lab offers a controlled environment, which is critical, and we aren't burdened with building these facilities ourselves or dividing our time among labs that only provide a portion of the functionality. As a result, we were able to move to market faster with a more stable, reliable product."
    – Matt Nichols, Microvision

    "It makes economic sense for our company to take advantage of the equipment and resources at the Microfab Lab. The lab provides us with all the tools we need in one location and we can concentrate our capital resources on our company's growth."
    – Gregg Makuch, Neah Power Systems

    "When we go to a commercial foundry, they don't want to tell us details of the process they are doing. When we're at WTC, we can know every detail of the process. It's our process, we own it."
    – Andrea Tombros, PCB Piezotronics

    Related WTC links:

  • WTC Microfabrication Laboratory

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  • Facility Focus: What's New at the Microfabrication Laboratory

    Optical profiling equipment and training available
    The Microfabrication Laboratory is pleased to announce that it has recently acquired WYCO NT 3300 optical profiling equipment. This equipment provides a versatile measurement solution for nano-scale resolution on micromachined devices. This system is currently installed and fully functional and training on the WYCO is available from professional laboratory staff.

    New Laminar Flood Hood Improves Cleanroom Yield
    The Microfabrication Laboratory recently purchased and installed a new laminar flood hood in the cleanroom. The hood has improved air quality significantly and should be instrumental in reducing defects from airborne particles in the thin film processing area.

    Related WTC links:

  • WTC Microfabrication Laboratory

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  • Capabilities of Lab Help Client Attract Interest

    Success can come in many forms for small technology companies. For Zeus Semiconductor, an early-stage company working on silicon carbide (SiC) semiconductor technology, this success came in the form of acquisition by Advanced Power Technology.

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    Zeus had been a client of the Washington Technology Center's Microfabrication Laboratory since February 2002. Prior to being acquired by APT in September, Bruce Odekirk was doing research at WTC's Microfabrication Laboratory on the use of silicon carbide semiconductors for power components.

    While working for Zeus, Odekirk used the Microfab Lab facilities three to four times a week and did the process development in person on-site at the lab. Due to the cutting-edge nature of the technology, being able to have hands-on control of the process development was a critical factor and the main attraction for Zeus in deciding to house a portion of their R&D; activities at the Microfab Lab. According to Odekirk, similar facilities weren't equipped to handle the level of control needed for the type of R&D; that they were undertaking.

    WTC looks at this acquisition as a win as well. The work Zeus was able to conduct at the WTC facility played a role in making their technology attractive to APT.

    Odekirk concurs that the Lab's capabilities were a key factor in allowing Zeus to progress to a level in their technology development that did catch the attention of APT. "It was while working at WTC's Microfab Lab that we realized the real market potential for this technology was in power components," Odekirk explained. "We were able to successfully fabricate our first prototype," he added. "And the work we were doing was applicable to APT's technology needs in power electronics."

    Odekirk was retained by APT as director of silicon carbide engineering. He still works closely with Marc Vandenberg, former president of Zeus, who joined APT's management team as director of silicon carbide programs. While APT's facilities allow their engineers to do much of the lab work in-house, Odekirk noted that "The WTC Microfab Lab has some specialized capabilities that may be useful to the company in the future."

    Advanced Power Technology is a leading supplier of high performance power semiconductors used in the conditioning and control of electrical power for both switching and RF applications. APT's products are designed to power next generation high power systems for servers, computers, high capacity mass storage products, cellular base stations for telecommunications, and industrial applications such as advanced medical imaging systems, lasers, semiconductor process equipment, and arc welders, as well as military and aerospace power systems.

    The company has operations in Bend, Oregon, Santa Clara, California, Montgomeryville, Pennsylvania, and Bordeaux, France. The Bend, Oregon operation focuses on Discrete Power Semiconductor products.

    Related WTC links:

  • Zeus Semiconductor is a WTC client
  • WTC Microfabrication Laboratory

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  • Microfabrication Laboratory welcomes new clients

    WTC is pleased to welcome American Semiconductor, Voxtel, and NanoString Technologies as new industrial users to the Microfabrication Laboratory.

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    American Semiconductor, Inc., Boise, Idaho
    American Semiconductor (ASI) recently developed a collaborative relationship with the Washington Technology Center for use of the WTC Microfabrication Laboratory and its equipment. American Semiconductor is a fabless developer of semiconductor process solutions for low-power, RF, analog and digital integrated circuits resolving CMOS technology limitations for next generation scaling of advanced microelectronics. As a pure-play foundry for wafer fabrication and advanced process development, ASI's focus is on foundry and custom process development support for fabless and IDM commercial organizations and research institutions. In addition to foundry services, American Semiconductor is active in advanced technology research supported by agencies such as the U.S. Department of Defense. ASI utilizes the Microfab Lab process tools for a number of development projects including photo diode and biosensor fabrication. ASI recently completed a major milestone in the development of the patent pending Flexfet™ silicon-on-insulator (SOI) CMOS technology with an impressive prototype demonstration.

    NanoString Technologies, Seattle, WA
    NanoString™ Technologies is developing a patent-pending nanotechnology-based platform for high speed, completely automated, robust, highly multiplexed, single molecule identification and digital quantification. This breakthrough has the potential to become a biological operating system on which any biomolecular analysis application can be developed. The NanoString™ system uniquely barcodes each individual target molecule, scans them, and delivers a literal inventory of single molecules in the biological sample. Applications include gene expression analysis, genotyping, proteomics, clinical diagnostics and, in the future, predictive, preventative, and personalized medicine. Nanostring will be using the Microfab Lab to prototype microfluidic devices in a variety of materials.

    Voxtel, Inc., Beaverton, Oregon
    Voxtel is a global leader in photonic devices and systems. Headquartered in Beaverton, Oregon, the company specializes in developing and commercializing advanced detectors, imaging devices, and electro-optical systems including avalanche photodiodes (APDs) and photon counting modules, high speed, radiation hardened CMOS imaging sensors, laser radar receivers and systems, multi-spectral imaging systems, wavefront sensors, and infrared radiometric imaging systems. Voxtel is using the Microfab Lab's low-stress PECVD silicon nitride process for mesa APD sidewall passivation.

    Related WTC links:

  • American Semiconductor is a WTC client
  • NanoString Technologies is a WTC client
  • Voxtel is a WTC client

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  • WTC Welcomes Applied Micro Optics, Inc.

    Applied Micro Optics, Inc. recently became a new client of WTC's Microfabrication Laboratory. Founder and president, Hansuk Lee, begin working in the Microfabrication Laboratory in September. Applied Micro Optics is an early-stage company focused on micro-optics design and fabrication.

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    "When I decided to start a new venture, I was courted from companies all across the U.S.," Lee offered. "However, I was interested in staying in Washington. This is my home," he explained. Once Lee decided to start Applied Micro Optics, he thought about where he might set up shop to conduct his research. "I immediately thought about WTC and the Microfab Lab," says Lee. "It made good business sense for me at this stage in my company."

    Lee said it was a combination of factors that made the Microfabrication Laboratory a good starting place. He was familiar with the facility and its equipment and staff. "It's a very nurturing environment for a young company, Lee says. He also says the lab's environment feeds into his company's growth strategy as well. "WTC has programs that can connect me to funding resources when I'm ready to go for grants or financing," Lee explains.

    Lee plans to market Applied Micro Optics products to industries targeting high power semiconductor diode lasers and fiber-optic telecommunications and eventually develop and market micro-optics products that could be used in biomedical devices and in consumer electronics.

    Lee was also attracted by the flexibilities offered by the Microfabrication Laboratory. "The Microfab Lab allows me to have access to a full range of equipment on a monthly usage fee basis and I can do the work myself at the facility." WTC also has programs in place for shared equipment usage and purchase. This appeals to Lee as well. He has already worked with the lab to purchase and house a spin developer in the facility and hopes to be able to do more shared equipment purchase options in the future. The equipment purchase program works well in the lab because it is such a highly collaborative, highly innovative environment. "Right now, at this stage in my company's growth, it doesn't make sense for me to own a lot of expensive equipment or farm out my processes to various labs," Lee explains.

    Lee says he's pleased that the Microfabrication Laboratory was available for him during the earliest stages of his company's launch. "Being at the lab will allow me to simultaneously conduct R&D; and also conduct small scale production for clients in my target market."

    Related WTC links:

  • Applied Micro Optics is a WTC client
  • WTC Microfabrication Laboratory

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  • Fluke Hall is home to leading research labs; offers collaborative R&D; environment

    Where can you find publicly accessible, full service laboratory facilities dedicated to process development and production at the micro and nano level? Fluke Hall. This state-of-the-art building is located on the University of Washington campus in Seattle and managed by Washington Technology Center (WTC). WTC is a state organization that provides resources to academic researchers and entrepreneurial technology companies to encourage investment in R&D; and technology commercialization.

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    WTC Microfabrication Laboratory
    The main floor of Fluke Hall is dedicated to fully equipped laboratory facilities for the WTC Microfabrication Laboratory and the UW Center for Nanotechnology. In addition to these two user facilities, Fluke is also home to the Human Interface Technology (HIT) lab, the Genome Center, and WTC headquarters.

    Both the Microfab Lab and the Nanotech User Facility are used for academic and industry research and development and have spawned commercial applications in MEMS and nanotechnology. The labs represent millions of dollars of equipment and process capabilities and work in a collaborative manner, bringing researchers together to work on cutting edge R&D; projects.

    Fluke Hall also provides office space for start-up companies using the building's lab facilities. This helps these young ventures save overhead, get liberal access to equipment they use on a regular basis, share resources, and network with academic researchers and industry colleagues.

    For information about office space in Fluke Hall, contact WTC at (206) 685-1920 or info@watechcenter.org.

    Related external links (will open a new window):

  • UW Center for Nanotechnology
  • UW Genome Center
  • Human Interface Technology (HIT) Lab

    Related WTC links:

  • WTC Microfabrication Laboratory

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  • Teens Participate in Summer Science Program at Washington Technology Center's Microfabrication Laboratory

    Puget Sound area teens had the unique opportunity to conduct research at the Washington Technology Center's Microfabrication Laboratory in Seattle this 2004 summer.

    Microvision research engineer, Mark Helsel, volunteered his time to conduct a four-day summer science lab, a program that gives high school students the rare experience to work in one of the state's premier research facilities. Helsel collaborates with Forest Ridge High School in Bellevue to facilitate the Summer Science Lab; however the seminar is open to all Puget Sound area summer school students in grades 10 through 12 interested in engineering and science.

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    Helsel is a Senior Staff Engineer in the MEMS Process Group for Microvision, Inc. This Bothell, Wash. company has been a client of WTC's Microfab Lab for six years. Helsel chose the Microfabrication Laboratory for the seminar because the facility provides the ideal environment for the students to experience high-level research in action and to work in a first-rate research facility.

    "I've always had an interest in education and wanted to do something that would offer an entrée into the field of science," Helsel explains. "The Summer Science Lab is a way for the kids to see science and engineering applied to real-world applications."

    Through the Summer Science Lab, the students learn about the technologies used to make silicon computer chips and experiment with photo lithography (a micron-scale photo-patterning technology) and plasma etching. Lab participants also complete a laboratory safety class as part of the program.

    The Washington Technology Center's Microfabrication Laboratory is the largest public micro-electromechanical (MEMS) facility in the Pacific Northwest. Much of the equipment and processes contained in the laboratory would be difficult or too costly to access for most companies. State and private investment in the WTC Microfabrication Laboratory allows academic researchers and companies of all sizes to access the facility on a fee-per-use basis.

    Related WTC links:

  • WTC Microfabrication Laboratory
  • Microvision is a WTC client

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  • Positioning the Northwest as a Biotechnology Leader

    by Lee Cheatham, executive director, Washington Technology Center

    Biotechnology will be a dominant force in the 21st century -- a force that not only drives the economy of the Pacific Northwest, but regional and national economies around the globe.

    But our region faces challenges. How effectively we deal with these challenges makes all the difference whether we realize the advantages of a leadership position or suffer mediocrity.

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    Challenge #1: Ensure more available capital flows into our local companies
    Let's be clear. There is a shortage of available seed capital -- those early stage investments of $50,000 to $500,000. The success of venture investment funds over the past decade has meant they simply can't afford the effort to invest in small amounts. Angel investors are a great source for this seed level investment, but they are difficult to find.

    More than three years ago, WTC recognized this lack of capital as a critical issue and acted to develop the necessary programs to address these needs.

    Our first step was to leverage federal investment opportunities. In 2001, with nine partner organizations around the state, we developed programs, tools, and training workshops that educated companies on how to access Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) funds. Each year, the ten largest federal agencies make more than $1.5 billion available to small businesses. WTC's program provides easy access to SBIR information and assistance to companies that apply.

    Our second step was to create the WTC Angel Network. This program, funded in part by the U.S. Economic Development Administration, is increasing the investment pool by encouraging investors from around the state to participate. The program consists of a network of angel groups forming around the state in areas such as the Olympic Peninsula, Wenatchee, Tri-Cities, and Bellingham. By joining this network, these angel investors will realize benefits similar to larger angel groups.

    Realizing that access to investors is critical for growth, WTC has also partnered with the Washington State Investment Board to make a portion of their private equity portfolio available to companies within the state. This program makes it significantly easier for our local companies to gain an initial review of their business plan by one of WSIB's 87 general partners.

    WTC supports the efforts of the Washington State Legislature, which last year created the Investing in Innovation fund. This legislation creates the mechanism for investment in proof-of-concept and early stage product development that can be especially helpful to the biotech industry.

    In addition, the Seattle/King County Economic Development Council has launched a project to determine how a biotech seed fund might be created within the state. The Explore Life initiative is, in part, dedicated to developing private funding for early stage proof-of-concept projects. These and the other efforts to increase the available capital must be encouraged. Effectively addressing challenge one means increasing the number of financing options for our companies.

    Challenge #2: Expand and renew our infrastructure
    It is safe to say that the biotech industry is driven by the skill and knowledge of its people. In the early stages of the industry's evolution, those people are researchers and entrepreneurs. As the industry matures, the manufacturing experts join in.

    But these people need a place to work and develop their ideas. A place that is different from the manufacturing, software or financial services industries. For biotech this place includes wet laboratories, clean rooms, and ultra-high speed computing and networks.

    WTC operates a microfabrication user facility in the John M. Fluke Sr. Hall, WTC's headquarters. The MicroFabrication Laboratory represents about $20M in facility and equipment investment. It provides critical equipment and processing capability in a clean room environment for a company's product engineers and university researchers alike.

    More than 25 companies are using this facility in their new product development. Significant university research laboratories are also located in Fluke Hall. As a result, Fluke Hall is a place where science and industry really do rub shoulders.

    Further development of appropriate facilities around the state is critical for the growth of this industry. Research space for University of Washington, Washington State University and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory must be increased. Facilities that allow entrepreneurs and our existing companies to co-locate their commercial operations with these research activities must be developed next.

    Challenge #3: Position our region among other regions around the world
    Make no mistake. This is a competition. We're competing for talented people, for money, for market access. We're competing globally -- against the best from around the world.

    Unlike biotech initiatives of a few years ago, regions today are more focused and more selective. They are examining their strengths and defining their niche in the biotech industry accordingly. We have world-class public and private research institutions in our region. We are home to the world's leading non-profit foundation and program for global health. Leading medical device and pharmaceutical companies are here. Our challenge, however, is to describe our competitive edge when we consider these institutions, and others, together.

    Several efforts are underway to do just that. Through the support of Senator Cantwell, WTC is leading an effort to develop such a vision and strategy for micro- and nano-scale science and technology. With our partners, PNNL, Avogadro Partners, and the National NanoBusiness Alliance, we are working to ensure that this long term vision emerges. Its implementation will establish our region as a leader by applying "small science" to the discovery, production and marketing of diagnostic and therapeutic devices and processes.

    The Bio21 effort launched by Governor Locke last year is an important component in meeting this challenge because it provides the backdrop required to position and brand our region. It is our first concerted attempt to develop a cohesive direction -- 21st Century Global Health -- based on our region's strengths. As Bio21 is refined, I believe it will prove to be the backbone from which many "implementation" initiatives can draw their context. Existing programs, like the Investing in Innovation Fund for proof-of-concept projects and WTC's nanotechnology initiative, are examples of programs that will implement the Bio21 principles.

    Challenge #4: Engage everyone
    Finally, I believe our most difficult challenge is how to position biotech as an industry that has broad impact. Most people believe it's just for Ph.D. scientists and it won't really affect their lives. No doubt the biotech industry draws its ideas from the depths of research in biology, chemistry, physics, computing and engineering. But just like other industries, its greatest impact will only be realized when local companies and their suppliers are making products and selling them.

    At one point the aerospace industry probably faced this same issue. Aircraft design, specialty materials, and complex electronics are all part of that industry. Over the decades, however, the industry's suppliers made metal working and electrical subsystem manufacturing understandable and hired thousands of people to fill those needs.

    How to meet this challenge is yet to be discovered. But it is the transition our biotech industry must make if we expect a similar impact to our region's economy.

    By addressing these challenges, and others that may arise, Washington Technology Center is prepared to contribute to solidifying our region's position as a global biotechnology leader.

    Related WTC links:

  • SBIR Program
  • WTC Angel Network
  • Microfabrication Laboratory
  • Nanotechnology

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  • Microfabrication Laboratory showcases academic-industry collaboration

    WTC's Microfabrication Laboratory Open House attracted researchers from around the Pacific Northwest to view the latest prototypes and commercial products developed at this premier R&D; facility in Seattle. Engineers, chief technology officers, academic researchers, and industry executives flocked to Washington Technology Center's state-of-the-art facility to get an inside glimpse of the organization's Microfabrication Laboratory, the largest micro-technology R&D; facility in the Pacific Northwest.

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    More than 125 attendees from Washington and Oregon turned out to tour the lab February 26, 2004. The facility provides specialized equipment, trained personnel and other services for developing micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) -- miniaturized mechanical devices on silicon chips or wafers -- a trend that is revolutionizing the technology industry.

    Washington is home to a growing number of micro-technology companies. WTC is a critical partner in helping both new and established companies fabricate and test proprietary technology and prototypes in the earliest stages of development.

    "Having access to fully-functioning fabrication resources through WTC is enormously valuable to us," says Matt Nichols, Director of Communications for Microvision, a Bothell-based company that develops high-resolution displays and imaging systems based on proprietary silicon micro-mirror technology. "The Microfab Lab offers a controlled environment, which is critical, and we aren't burdened with building these facilities ourselves or dividing our time among labs that only provide a portion of the functionality," explains Nichols. "As a result, we are able to move to market faster with a more stable, reliable product."

    Microvision exhibited its Nomad Expert Technician System at the open house, a wireless wearable augmented vision display that allows technicians to view detailed service information at their point of task, head-up and hands-free.

    CombiMatrix, Intelligent Ion, Neah Power Systems, and TraceDetect also previewed products and prototypes developed at the Microfab Lab. Industry and academic researchers have shared access to the lab, which represent nearly $20 million in facilities and equipment. Clients can customize use of the facilities to best fit their needs, ranging from part time and contract use to full time R&D.;

    "We're pleased to offer a facility of this caliber to our industry and academic clients," says Lee Cheatham, Executive Director for Washington Technology Center. "WTC will continue to deliver resources and services that foster academic-industry partnership and contribute to the growth and economic strength of technology commerce in our state."

    Related WTC links:

  • WTC Microfabrication Laboratory
  • Microvision is a WTC client
  • CombiMatrix is a WTC client
  • Intelligent Ion is a WTC client
  • Neah Power Systems is a WTC client
  • TraceDetect is a WTC client

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  • WTC service structure

    Looking forward to the new year, we are pleased to share some of the strategic goals and program outlines for 2004. In order to better serve the broad variety of businesses and entrepreneurs in need of support, we have outlined three service areas. They include: Business Resources -- including our Regional & Technical Services programs -- User Facilities, and New Industries Initiatives.

    Regional & Technical Services is comprised of WTC's grant programs, angel network and small business services. User Facilities refers to WTC's Microfabrication Laboratory. New Industries Initiatives currently focuses on the Northwest Energy Technology Collaborative (NWETC).

    This newsletter will be organized around these business lines as well as feature general WTC highlights or developments. We hope this new structure will give you a greater understanding of WTC's accomplishments and role in promoting technology economic development in Washington state.

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    WTC's Microfab Lab joins the National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network

    The National Science Foundation announced in December 2003 that the National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network (NNIN) has been awarded to a 12-university team, including the University of Washington. Led by Stanford and Cornell, this 5-year contract provides $14 million per year (renewable for an additional 5 years) to provide an infrastructure of process capabilities to serve the nanotechnology research, process development, and characterization needs of universities across the nation.

    WTC's Microfabrication Lab is an essential component of the UW's role in the NNIN. The Lab enables process capabilities to nanotechnology researchers for creating a platform, device, or structure necessary for their work. Promoting industrial access to the NNIN is critical to the region's growing micro- and nanotechnology industry. The role WTC will provide will be to offer the addition of physical resources available through the Microfabrication Lab.

    Related external links (will open a new window):

  • National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network
  • University of Washington Nanotech User Facility

    Related WTC links:

  • Microfabrication Laboratory

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  • Scanning electron microscope operational in WTC lab

    November 20, 2003 marked an important milestone in the Microfabrication Laboratory's history, as the AMRAY Model 3800 scanning electron microscope (SEM) became operational for the first time since it arrived at the WTC.

    Donated by Intel from their Ronler Acres R&D; site in Hillsboro, OR, the SEM can accommodate wafers up to 8" in diameter, and the stage can be tilted up to 45º for a true perspective view of processed MEMS devices, at magnifications up to 150,000X. The SEM also has an EDAX (energy-dispersive x-ray) system for chemical analysis, which will become operational in 2004. The SEM allows Lab users to view, inspect and characterize processed wafers without having to leave the cleanroom, and will be a valuable part of the facilities suite of test and measurement tools for the years ahead.

    Related WTC links:

  • Microfabrication Laboratory

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  • Microfabrication Laboratory exceeds $750K in revenue

    In fiscal year 2003, WTC's Microfabrication Laboratory revenue grew by almost 25 percent over the previous year. This surge was derived from user fees and contract processing, income that covers the lab's operating costs.

    It is becoming clear that the unique capabilities of the Microfab Lab are in demand. The lab is accessible for those in need of use of process equipment, training and development, and who seek access to university research groups who want to have hands-on participation in MEMS research/processing, but cannot afford the specialized equipment and infrastructure necessary to perform their work. The lab's visibility has increased to the point where WTC regularly sees inquiries from across the United States and Canada.

    Search for second facility site underway
    Building on the success of the Seattle-based Lab, WTC has been investigating other locations outside the Puget Sound region where a similar facility could serve users more effectively. Preliminary research shows that Vancouver, Wash. or Portland, Ore. may have an optimum combination of university researchers and technology-based companies to warrant further study. Research is underway to gauge the size of the potential market and the process capabilities that would be of highest value to prospective clients in the Vancouver/Portland area.

    Related WTC links:

  • Microfabrication Laboratory

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  • WTC Microfabrication Laboratory acquires Oxford Instruments Sputtering System

    In response to a growing user base and specific lab users' needs, WTC's Microfabrication Laboratory has been on the search for a system capable of providing both DC- and RF-magnetron sputtering capability for up to 8" diameter wafers, with four source targets and a loadlock. A year-old Oxford Instruments Plasmalab System 400 became available from a closed optical MEMS company, and a deal was struck to acquire the system at less than 10% of its original price.

    The sputtering system will be located in the thin film bay of the Microfabrication Laboratory and will be especially useful for deposition of high-quality aluminum, iridium, titanium and indium-tin-oxide materials. System availability is targeted for January 2004.

    Related WTC links:

  • Microfabrication Laboratory

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  • Microfabrication Laboratory market research completed

    In line with the objectives set out in its 2003–2005 Business Plan, WTC's Microfabrication Laboratory completed an assessment of the market for its services. Beginning with a survey of existing lab users from both industry and academia, a profile was created to identify the common traits shared by the majority of our clients. The profile was then used as a filter to screen the 3000+ listings in the Advanced Technology in the Pacific Northwest 2002–03 database (from Leading Edge Communications). As a result, more than 150 prospective lab users were identified, forming the basis for the lab's marketing and business development targeted contacts for the coming year.

    In addition to identifying prospective lab clients, the survey also was used to assess user satisfaction. Clients gave the lab high marks for safety, training, responsiveness and overall capabilities, and emphasized the importance of keeping process systems in reliable, efficient operating condition.

    Related WTC links:

  • Microfabrication Laboratory

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  • Microfabrication Laboratory recent equipment arrivals

    The capabilities of the Microfabrication Laboratory were strengthened as the result of two equipment donations from industrial sources:

    Intel SEM
    Intel has provided the Microfab Lab with an AMRAY 3800 scanning electron microscope (SEM) from their R&D; facility in Hillsboro, OR. The SEM can accommodate wafers up to 8" in diameter, and the stage tilts 45º to allow full scanning of processed wafers without repositioning. In addition, the SEM has an EDAX (energy-dispersive x-ray analysis) system that permits chemical identification of materials being imaged. The AMRAY SEM represents a valuable addition to the suite of inspection and characterization tools available in the Lab.

    Trion RIE
    Trion Technology has donated a Mini-Lock II reactive ion etching (RIE) system to the Lab. This plasma etching tool is a state-of-the-art version of the Lab's current Trion Phantom RIE system, and includes an inductively-coupled plasma (ICP) source to increase etching performance, a load lock to minimize the etch chamber's exposure to atmosphere, and an electrostatic chuck for secure wafer hold-down during processing. The new RIE will allow a new range of materials to be plasma-etched, at enhanced rates, and with improved precision. The system is expected to be on line in April.

    Related WTC links:

  • Microfabrication Laboratory

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  • New Microfabrication Laboratory Web site launched

    The Microfabrication Laboratory recently unveiled its updated and improved Web site: http://microfab.watechcenter.org/. New features include direct links to process and equipment capabilities, plenty of illustrations, and a descriptive format that addresses questions from the beginning MEMS researcher to the seasoned MEMS professional.

    Currently under development is an enhanced password-protected lab user section, which will enable users to:

    -- make, change or cancel equipment reservations.
    -- enroll in or cancel training.
    -- read and print all lab documentation.
    -- list all equipment the user is authorized to operate.
    -- order lab supplies.

    The Lab is expanding its business to a national audience. The Web site is the most effective tool for providing information to a broad technical audience.

    Related WTC links:

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  • Microfabrication Laboratory news update

    Microfabrication Laboratory sets record for revenue
    The figures are in, and the Microfabrication Laboratory has recorded just over $600k in user fee revenues for the 2002 fiscal year that ended in June. This represents a doubling of income from both industrial and academic clients over the previous fiscal year, a new record for the lab. As a user-supported facility, this milestone is significant as the Lab continues to grow, moving toward self-sustaining status.

    Equipment updates

    -- PECVD system arrives.
    -- Photoresist coating capacity doubled.

    Microfabrication Laboratory recognized at COMS 2002
    Presentations at the 7th International Commercialization of Micro and Nanosystems Conference, held September 8–12, 2002 in Ypsilanti, Michigan, praised WTC's Microfabrication Laboratory for its growing role in nurturing a Micro/Nano industry cluster in the Pacific Northwest.

    Industry analyst Roger Grace, Roger Grace & Associates, said, "Although a number of states have attempted to create MEMS industry clusters over the past five years, only a few have succeeded: New York and Washington." He described WTC's MEMS Initiative as being "absolutely visionary." Other key factors mentioned that contribute to the success of the Lab were ease of access to users and a wide range of process capabilities.

    Visit http://microfab.watechcenter.org for more information.

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  • Microfabrication Laboratory news

    A significant milestone was reached in WTC's Microfabrication Laboratory in May 2002: the Simplex autodialer was activated to provide 24/7 notification to lab staff in the event of a potentially hazardous situation. This heightened level of monitoring, coupled with the lab's HAZMAT response team, gives lab users the assurance that they are working in a protected, safe environment.

    With the removal of the old and infrequently used photo-reduction camera and stepper, the Mask Making Room has been converted into a Metrology Room. Sensitive, specialized measurement and characterization equipment is being consolidated in this area to isolate them from the mainstream process flow and activity in other areas of the lab.

    In line with the growth of the Lab, an updated lab brochure has been completed and is available for distribution. Stressing capabilities, the new brochure incorporates the process and equipment additions that have been made in the past 5 years.

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  • Microvision works wonders in the Microfabrication Laboratory

    Imagine an airline pilot being able to view sectional maps and airport landing strip charts without having to look down at the instruments. Or a surgeon able to perform image-guided neurosurgery from an image overlaid into his natural field of view instead of looking up at a nearby monitor.

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    These revolutionary capabilities are made possible by a micro-miniature retinal scanning display technology called the Nomad™ Personal Display System, developed by Microvision, Inc. Spun off from technology developed at the University of Washington's Human Interface Technology Lab, the Nomad™ uses MEMS (micro-electromechanical systems) technology in a scanning chip that directs a tiny ray of light to transmit images and other information directly onto the wearer's retina. The sophisticated head-mounted display is comprised of a scanner with a one-inch screen, attached to a device like a miner's helmet. The wearer can see right through the scanner screen, which produces an image viewable even in daylight.

    Microvision, a Bothell-based company, develops and brings to market novel products that manipulate "information in the form of light," otherwise known as photonics. The company produces components and products that 1) output information -- such as displays, 2) capture information -- as with a camera or barcode reader, and 3) transmit or modulate information -- in the form of light in an optical fiber.

    Much of this exciting work is happening right in WTC's Microfabrication Laboratory. The company used the lab to develop the prototype of a video scanner for head-mounted displays and has moved into pilot production of the device. "WTC played a vital role in initial production and getting us to where we are today," says Kelly Linden, Microvision engineering manager who currently works in the lab four days out of five. "The Microfabrication Lab is a unique place where an outside company can work, using WTC equipment and facilities as an extension of itself."

    The relationship between Microvision and the Microfabrication Laboratory has been a reciprocally beneficial one. In its six years in the lab, Microvision has helped purchase specialized equipment as well as introduced processes and procedures. This has enabled lab staff to add process capabilities that can benefit other users.

    The company will continue as a lab user to refine the Nomad™ and develop other products. They recently partnered with Walsin Lihwa Corporation to develop low-cost manufacturing capabilities for the eventual mass production of key components of Microvision's microdisplay engine intended for consumer and other high-volume specialty applications. The worldwide market for displays is expected to grow from roughly $1.2 billion in 2001 to almost $5 billion by 2005.

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    Microfabrication Laboratory news

    Lab wins Telly Award, adds new process equipment

    WTC's Microfabrication Laboratory was notified in March 2002 that its Laboratory Orientation and Safety Training video was a finalist in the 2001 Telly Awards competition. Founded in 1980, the prestigious Telly Awards recognize excellence in non-network film and video production. The video, directed and produced by Carol Geertsema, UWTV Productions, in association with the WTC, demonstrates proper cleanroom practice, safe chemical handling, emergency response and other topics essential in providing a clean, healthy and safe working environment for the lab's staff and clients. A total of 11,114 entries were received in the recent competition.

    The lab's complement of equipment continues to expand. Trion Technology of Tempe, AZ has selected the Microfab Lab as the recipient of a new Mini-Lock II Reactive Ion Etching (RIE) system. This generous donation includes a 1500-watt inductively-coupled plasma (ICP) source, a vacuum load-lock and an electrostatic chuck with helium backside cooling to update the WTC's current Trion Phantom I RIE. When combined with the lab's Deep RIE system, this addition expands both the lab's process capability and capacity for specialized surface and bulk micromachining.

    In addition to the new RIE, the lab will soon be home to a new plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD) system. Acquired under funding awarded to the UW's Microscale Life Sciences Center by the NIH's Human Genome Research Institute, the PECVD will allow UW EE Professor Karl Böhringer's research team to deposit thin films of low temperature silicon oxide, controlled-stress silicon nitride, and polycrystalline silicon in support of his research in biochip materials for genome analysis. The PECVD will be available to all lab users.

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  • Premier nanotechnology center in the neighborhood

    The University of Washington has established a strong presence in nanotechnology. Since its inception in 1997, the Center for Nanotechnology has established a level of excellence in teaching, research, and public outreach.

    The Center's primary goal is the instruction and training of future scientists and educators. In April 2001, the UW and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory formed the Joint Institute for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology to study an area of science that holds the promise to dramatically change the way we live in the new century.

    A centralized Nanotechnology User Facility (NUF) is located on the UW campus in Fluke Hall. The NUF is equipped with the start-of-the-art imaging tools for mapping nano-structures on the surface.

    The NUF is available to the UW community, other academic institutions, researchers, and industrial users as a cost center. NUF staff members will provide training and support regarding the use of the start-of-the-art tools. Users who successfully complete the training sections receive access to reserve the use of the instrumentation online.

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  • NanoTech User Facility at the UW

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  • Lab equipment additions and upgrades keep pace with increased user activity

    Sparked by continuing growth of its user base, WTC's Microfabrication Laboratory has addressed various potential bottlenecks in its process capabilities, resulting in the addition of several key pieces of equipment.

    On the facilities side, the high-purity water plant has undergone a three-fold increase in its production capacity for 18 Meg-ohm de-ionized water. Used by practically all lab users, DI water is the lifeblood for critical chemical etching and cleaning processes. In addition, a remote level sensor has been installed on the liquid nitrogen (LN2) tank to automatically order delivery of LN2 at pre-set levels via a dedicated phone line. Both of these facilities additions will provide an uninterrupted supply of high purity water and nitrogen to the lab.

    Equipment additions include a second Brewer Scientific CEE Model 100 wafer photoresist spinner, duplicating the CEE spinner currently in the lab. In collaboration with Microvision, Inc. (Bothell), the lab will add a Tencor P-15 profilometer. This instrument is several generations newer than the lab's present AlphaStep 200 profilometer, which is seeing heavy use. Both profilometers provide the capability to measure feature sizes for microfabricated structures, but the P-15 allows measurements down to 1 Angstrom resolution, with 7.5 Angstrom repeatability, over a 200 mm scan length.

    Additional equipment additions include a K&S; Model 780 High Capacity automated wafer-dicing saw, acquired by Microvision, Inc. and located in the lab's backend room. This diamond blade saw, used to separate individual die on processed wafers, is a valuable addition and backup to the lab's manual Disco wafer saw.

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  • Microfabrication Laboratory news

    Silicon nitride process available on LPCVD

    WTC's Microfabrication Laboratory is now offering users a new process for thin film deposition of dielectric material. A silicon nitride (Si3N4) process has been brought up on the lab's Low Pressure Chemical Vapor Deposition (LPCVD) system. The LPCVD tool reacts process gases within a tube furnace to coat substrates with films of the desired composition and thickness.

    The silicon nitride process uses dichlorosilane and ammonia gases as sources for the silicon and nitrogen, respectively. In addition to offering a conventional Si3N4 (i.e., stoichiometric) process, the new system is capable of providing low stress silicon nitride films by adjusting the ratio of the process gases at temperatures near 800 C. Films with stress less than 600 megaPascals can be produced, which are useful for MEMS structures where flatness after processing is required.

    The silicon nitride process is the second capability to be added at the Microfab Lab on the LPCVD tool. Earlier this year, a low temperature oxide (LTO) process was commissioned to provide amorphous dielectric thin films of silicon oxide at temperatures in the range of 425 C.

    As with the other capabilities in the lab, training on the LPCVD system is available to interested users.

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  • Microfabrication Laboratory news

    Deep Reactive Ion Etching System Arrives
    Due to be fully operational by the end of August, the Microfabrication Laboratory has added an Oxford Instruments PlasmaLab 100 ICP 180 system to its dry etching capabilities.

    Funding of over $500,000 for the tool--the latest in ion etching technology--comes from a variety of sources, including university departments and various companies involved with the Microfabrication Laboratory. The real advantage of this "Deep RIE" system is that it supports the Bosch process, a sophisticated technique for forming high aspect ratio microfabricated features in silicon--particularly deep, vertical channels with smooth sidewalls.

    An alternative to wet chemical processing, dry etching is a method of selectively removing material using a reactive plasma or ion beam to form complex microfabricated structures in substrates. It has significant application in forming MEMS (microelectromechanical) and microfluidic devices, which are gaining widespread use in aerospace, automotive, industrial, telecommunications, imaging, display, and medical applications.

    The Microfabrication Laboratory supports a full range of wafer fabrication processes, including diffusion, oxidation, metallization, photolithography, laser cutting, wafer dicing, packaging and characterization, in addition to wet and dry etching, all in a class 10,000 clean room environment. The facility is open to university and industrial users alike, and currently has over 130 registered users.

    The Deep RIE is an exciting addition to the growing array of microfabrication technologies available in WTC's Microfabrication Laboratory.

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  • WTC's Microfabrication Laboratory is indeed fab

    WTC is home to a remarkable resource for Washington company and academic researchers -- the Microfabrication Laboratory. Located in Fluke Hall on the University of Washington campus, the lab is available on a user-fee basis for research, technology development and prototype product manufacturing in areas such as avionics, micro-optics, micro-fluidics, fuel cells, microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), biomedical devices, and biotechnology.

    Opened in April 1995, the 14,000 sq. ft. facility has 8,000 sq. ft. of clean room processing space. Industrial use of the lab has increased by 70% since its inception, with a corresponding increase in revenue of 500%. A catalyst for much of this growth has been WTC's technology initiatives in MEMS and more recently, in photonics / optical systems. Since 1997, WTC has invested $1.5 million into funding MEMS research and building the lab's resources. It has become the only public use MEMS R&D; facility in the state. The recent addition of a Deep Reactive Ion Etcher -- a tool that can fabricate deep, narrow structures - will significantly expand the lab's capabilities.

    Companies can access the lab's equipment and staff to perform the full range of micro-machined product development.

    Other academic-based facilities prohibit their industrial users from performing any 'for-profit' manufacturing of products in their facility, i.e., companies can perform R&D;, but must use some other facility for their manufacturing. WTC does not put any such constraints on its users and, thus, is able to support the product cycle for a longer period of time -- from prototyping through pilot production. This is particularly valuable to small or startup companies who otherwise wouldn't have the financial resources to access facilities of this caliber.

    Currently, more than 15 companies and 120 individuals are using the facility for microfabrication R&D.;

    Significant new technologies have been developed in the laboratory over the past several years. For example, Microvision, Inc., a leader in imaging technologies, used the lab to develop a video scanner for head-mounted displays. This revolutionary way to display images and information promises to make possible cost-effective, high-performance miniature devices that provide personal displays for electronic and computing products in military, aerospace, medical, industrial, and consumer electronics applications. Redmond-based Micronics, Inc. created the prototype for an inexpensive, disposable microfluidic cartridge that is used to perform blood tests and other diagnostics. Just one of these "lab-on-chip" devices can potentially perform up to 20 different medical diagnostic tests using the same sample.

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  • Micronics is a WTC client
  • Microvision is a WTC client

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