Nanofabrication Cleanroom Facilities

Scientists need a dust-free workspace to use electron microscopes and other tools effectively to build small-scale circuits and machines. The workspace facility is called a cleanroom and it is an important part of nanotechnology research. In fact it is nearly impossible to conduct nanoscale research without a cleanroom environment.

Why a cleanroom? On the scale of a nanometer, any particle that is 300 nanometers is huge and is capable of causing short circuits in a nanoscale electronic circuit.

Cleanroom environments can cost approximately 3 million dollars to install. Most cleanrooms consist of an air filtration system as well as temperature and humidity control systems. The system constantly moves the air down to the floor where it is sucked back into the return air system and then cleaned and sent back into the room. Some cleanrooms have yellow illumination that allows researchers to work with light sensitive materials. The yellow illumination prevents light-sensitive material from being exposed to ultraviolet light.

As researchers enter the cleanroom, special equipment removes dirt and dust particles from their shoes. The researchers then put on safety glasses, gloves, and coveralls over their street clothes, shoes, and hair. All of the garments are made from lint-free fabrics that are antistatic. It

The Scanning Electron Microscope (FE-SEM) Model S-5500 is produced by Hitachi High-Technologies Corporation. The capabilities of the instrument bridge many research fields that include pharmaceutical, biological, and food industry research and nanomanipulation devices for advanced carbon nanotube research. (Courtesy Hitachi High-Technologies Corporation (Japan))

may take 40 steps or more to complete the steps needed to get dressed before entering the cleanroom. Most of us get up in the morning using between 6 and 9 steps to get dressed.

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