April 3, 2020

Current status

The cleanroom and most services are ready.  The new maskless lithography system has been installed and tested.  The contact aligner and metrology tools (Dektak, Filmetrics) are scheduled to be installed as soon as staff can access the lab post CORVID-19.  Gas lines for the new ICP etcher and the AJA evaporator are already in place and good progress has been made for the other equipment that require gases (PECVD, PE-50, Xactix).  The glassware washer still needs to be commissioned by the manufacturer and the Photonic Wirebonder (Vanguard Photonics PWB) should arrive sometime in the summer.

CORVID-19 delay

Like all other labs on campus, the nanofab is on pause during the current CORVID-19 pandemic.  The ANF staff members, like the rest of UBC employees, are working from home.

The actual phasing-in of users will take place along the lines explained at the end of December 2019 (read below).  Users will first attend (perhaps online) an orientation/induction lecture explaining the upgraded mode of operation.  An in-lab orientation tour will then be given.  First, to already qualified users of the old facility.  Then, new users will be trained and qualified as fast as can be accommodated by the ANF staff.  All users will require training and requalification on all equipment as the procedures are being upgraded.  This should be quick for currently qualified users; the ANF’s aim is to help users be productive as soon as possible.

Updated mode of operation for chemicals

As part of the new operating conditions, the ANF will supply and keep an inventory of all non-special chemicals such as all photoresists and all developers.  This is to prevent the condition we had in the previous room where multiple bottles of identical resists were using up valuable space.   PIs and users with specific needs are to contact ANF staff to make sure the necessary supplies are available.  The ANF currently supports processes using various EBL resists, thin positive and image-reversal resists, negative nLoF photoresist, thick positive photoresist and several densities of SU-8 resists.  All processes published on the website will still be available.  New processes will be made available or concurrently developed with users as needs arise.  Please contact ANF staff for special requests or for any question.

The ANF will supply a suite of common use glassware.  The common glassware will be washed using our new industrial glassware washer.  Users who prefer to use their own glassware should speak with ANF staff to obtain a storage box.  Only ANF approved boxes will be allowed in the new rooms.

Room 449 status

The wetbench in room 449 has been operational since early January.  The DeeDirectors ebeam evaporator, along with the dicing saw and the ECR etcher will remain in room 449.  The plan is to eventually make room 449 an effective ISO-7 (class 10000) room.

Friday the 13th, December, 2019


(Do feel free to ask more if we have not covered you …)


What is the current state regarding Cleanroom renovations?

As at mid-December 2019, we have a new, working Cleanroom regarding environmental conditions (cleanliness, temperature, humidity). It has almost double the size of the old cleanroom and is still empty, except from 3 brand new wet benches (one each in the 2 yellow and the 1 white rooms) and a glassware washer and sink in the white room. We will be officially taking occupancy of the renovated space just before the end of 2019, at which point we will be able to start moving furniture and equipment in.


When will the renovated Cleanroom be available to users to actually do some real work in it?

The short answer is: as early as possible in January. Photolithography (including wet bench, spinner, hot-plates and our contact mask-aligner) will become available in the second, ISO 6 / Class 1000 Yellow Room, and the white, ISO 6 / Class 1000 white room will also become available for using the wet bench (acids) to start with, and possibly for using the AJA evaporator, if we manage to have its installation there completed within January, as is our plan.


How about the rest of the tools and processes?

As described above, photolithography, the AJA and wet chemical etching are the first priority, and the rest of the tools and processes will follow gradually, with a plan to have everything up and running inside the new space by end of March. We will call a nanofab all-user & PI meeting some time in January to present in detail the state of things, describe what you can expect from the technical team and the labs, and have a discussion on all things nanofab.


From what is being described, the situation for January 2020 sounds a bit confusing. Where should nanofab users go in order to access tools and do work for their projects? Will there be any downtime?

Please visit this current web page (full link below) for the latest updates. Important notices will be posted at the top of the page, and will guide you adequately. We will try and minimize downtime, and any downtime will be published well ahead.


What will actually be new in the new space?

We are excited that we have some brand new “things” that you have not seen before, and the list is long! First, it is the infrastructure itself, which guarantees a dust-free environment according to specs, and 24/7 stable temperature and humidity, consistent with set-points. All 3 wet benches are also brand new. Then, we have brand new items of small and larger equipment, including (but not limited to): 3 hot-plates with vacuum hold, lift-pins and programming capability, 1 spinner for small pieces up to 8-inch wafers, 2 Nikon optical microscopes (one including BF/DF, DIA/EPI, DIC-NIC-Nomarski and colour CCD camera with metrology software), Heidelberg maskless photolithography tool, Oxford ICP RIE, Miele professional glassware washer, new washable and permanent cleanroom full-body gowns for all users and a dedicated washer to keep them clean, provision for in-lab storage available to users, and more …


What is the process for existing nanofab users to gain access to the renovated Cleanroom?

We are reviewing all our user training. Already authorised nanofab users will have to go through a special induction, which may also involve a classroom session, before they can be allowed into the new labs. You will be informed accordingly, including via this web page. Stay tuned!


Friday the 13th, December, 2019

Holiday message from Kostis:

Hi All,

This is an important message to all Nanofab facility users and their supervisors regarding lab closures during the Christmas and New Year’s Day Holiday, and the latest updates on cleanroom renovations.

Holiday Closure
All micro and nanofabrication labs will be closed, and the respective processes will not be available to users, between 25 December and 1 January inclusive. Labs include 442 (photolithography and wet bench), 65 (electron-beam lithography), 449 (electron-gun evaporation and all other processes/tools therein), 463 (AJA and plasma chamber) and lab 347 (chemical etching with HF and other acids). Users are informed that they are strictly not allowed to work in the labs during this period. If you have any questions/concerns, please talk to me.

Renovated Cleanroom
At long last, the renovation work is reaching its end and we are scheduled to take official occupancy of the new cleanrooms in the coming days, at which point we will start moving furniture and equipment in. As things stand now, photolithography, the AJA and new wet benches will become available to use in the renovated space within January, and the rest of tools/processes will follow soon after. I will call an all-user & PI meeting in January to give you the full picture of what you can expect from our brand new nanofab and from the technical team. In the mean time, you can stay informed by visiting the dedicated link on our website:

Thank you and enjoy the Holidays!

November 22, 2019

SBQMI cleanroom image

Video of first visit into new cleanroom










April 15, 2019


Our online booking system, Bumblebee, has been updated to accommodate the changes brought about by our temporary accommodations.

  • Bumblebee is still the way to book tools and to track usage.
  • Fees are 35$/hr for all equipment
    • Wetbench: includes spinner, photoresist, developers, solvents
    • AJA evaporator
    • DeeDirectors evaporator
    • Adamist equipment (fees to be invoiced by AMPEL/Adamist admin)
  • Included (no charge)
    • Training by ANF personnel
    • NxQ4006 mask aligner (may be used with wetbench reservation only)
  • Fees for using the EBL system are separate

We hope the above helps. Please bear with us until the renovations are completed and we are sure we will then be in the position to offer you both more capabilities, and a high quality of service.

April 1, 2019

The construction crew have been working for several weeks. We expect the new cleanroom to be open during the summer.


As of last week, the DeeDirectors Ebeam evaporator was made available for users.

January 10, 2019

Dear All,

This is an important message to all Cleanroom users and their supervisors: It describes the status of available tools and processes during the cleanroom renovations, including access information. Please read on.

The Cleanroom in 446 of Brimacombe has now been closed down awaiting renovation. A number of useful tools and processes have been relocated and set up elsewhere, in cleanroom space where possible, and are ready to use. Please only contact us on demand, not for the sake of just having access. In more details:


The new mask-aligner, together with spinner, hot-plate, ovens, ultrasonic bath, wet bench (solvents and developers only), dry bench, fresh DI water, inspection microscope and all the rest of the required gear for your work, are now up and running in lab 442 in a small, dedicated cleanroom with yellow light. Accommodated processes include litho with positive and SU-8 resists, the respective developments, cleaning/degreasing using solvents, lift-off, but NOT acid etching (see below). Lithography tested and works as expected – see attached image of 4 and 6 micron lines resolved in AZ5214. EBL spinning and development. The maskless lithography tool is also operational and available to use in the same space. Please talk to us when you need to use any of these processes – we’ll offer you the required short induction and give you access.


The Dektak is up and running in room 442. Talk to us for access.


The Filmetrics is up and running in room 442. Talk to us for access.


The PE-50 is now operational in lab 463. Available gasses are oxygen and argon. The annoying problem with the vacuum gauge error has now been fixed and the tool has been tested and works OK. Talk to us for access.


Our new, loadlocked, hybrid evaporator, the “AJA”, is now fully operational, located in lab 463. High quality Ti/Au films and other materials supported. Please talk to us for more information, training and access.


I am in the process of arranging access to a HEPA-filtered and extracted wet bench, appropriate for acid use including hydrofluoric acid chemistries. I will circulate information soon. If, in the mean time, you need such processes, please talk to me.


We are looking into the possibility of gaining access to a system available internally, that can do silicon oxides/nitrides. Please talk to me if you are interested.


The ECR etcher has been relocated into lab 345 and we are in the process of bringing it online.


Our unique-in-Canada 100kV JEOL-JBX8100FS electron-beam lithography tool has been up and running for 8 months now, in its dedicated cleanroom in lab 65, in the basement of the new Brimacombe extension. BEAMER software for preparing write data is also available to users. Please talk to us for training and access.


Our online booking system, Bumblebee, is being updated accordingly to accommodate any changes, and it will continue to be the way to book tools, and also to track usage. Regarding fees during this transitional period, until the renovations are complete, we have implemented important changes that affect you very positively, I believe, and reflect the fact that we now operate in a non ideal setting. These changes include:

  1. We are not charging cleanroom and/or lab time when you use 442 or any of the other mentioned labs.
  2. You will only be charged a heavily-reduced, flat rate per hour for the affected processes and tools, to reflect the non ideal setting, as per your booking or according to what you tell us you used.
  3. You will have full technical support and advice from us, at no cost.

I hope the above helps. Please bear with us until the renovations are completed and I am sure we will then be in the position to offer you both more capabilities, and a high quality of service.

Best regards,
Kostis Kostis Michelakis PhD Director,

Nanofabrication Facilities Stewart Blusson Quantum Matter Institute
The University of British Columbia | Vancouver Campus 2355 East Mall | Vancouver BC | V6T 1Z4 Canada
Phone: +1 604 827 3228

October 26, 2018


ISSUED: 26 October 2018            BY: Kostis Michelakis              EFFECTIVE: Immediately


This document describes our plan that we have put in place to deal with the upcoming SBQMI Cleanroom renovation. Our main goal has been to make every effort possible so that the relevant works have minimum impact on the research being conducted in the Institute, and consequently, on the work that Facility users expect to be able to carry out efficiently and successfully during the renovations period. For this reason, provision is being made to relocate important processes and tools in other areas of the building, and work closely with the users so that the transition is as seamless as possible in all respects. There is also provision to make other processes, which cannot be safely relocated locally, available externally. All these arrangements are described in the plan. The important dates and events, as currently known to us, are outlined in this document. Other aspects, including booking and charging are also discussed. Importantly, provision is also made for communicating with users and guiding them during the renovations period, as it is reasonable to anticipate changes in this dynamic process. Ways for achieving this are also described in the plan.


The renovation goal is to reclaim unused, gray space around the current cleanroom in order to increase the actual cleanroom area by 80%, at the same time improving cleanliness class and upgrading support infrastructure and the cleanroom fittings in order to be able to accommodate more and better equipment and processes. To achieve all these, we are recruiting two contractors, one dedicated to the whole of the Cleanroom itself as one entity, and a general contractor whose job will be to first dismantle the existing cleanroom and afterwards to work closely with the cleanroom contractor and hook the new cleanroom unit to the building infrastructure. Currently, the dedicated cleanroom contractor has been selected and we are happy with them. We are in the process of tendering and selecting the general contractor, and this will be completed within November. The general contractor will then take possession of an empty cleanroom in December, and renovation work will start in the first week of 2019. We expect the renovated cleanroom to become available to users from July 2019.


Present to 16 November 2018: Clearing of the cleanroom gray area (the support space behind the cleanroom), and preparation of the alternative sites that will accommodate cleanroom equipment

16 November 2018: The Facility takes over chemicals – users need to clear their stock by then – see below

16 November 2018: Closing down of the cleanroom 446 to users

Second part of November: Tendering process for selecting the General Contractor

16 November to 31 December 2018: Relocation of selected tools and services to alternative locations within Brimacombe Building – see details in following paragraphs (contractors will be employed to help with the move – see items below too)

16 November to 30 November 2018: Removal of all tools and services from the Cleanroom 446 and storage of those tools that will not be active during the renovations within Brimacombe Building – see details in the following paragraphs

Present to 30 November 2018: Preparation of room 449 – This is to free space, part of which will be used, among other things, to relocate and reinstate one of our metal evaporators while the majority of the freed space will be handed over to the Cleanroom contractor as part of their staging area.

Late July 2019: Renovated Cleanroom complete


In preparation for the renovations, we need to clean out the chemicals.  The cleanroom has been supplying all developers for the last few years and going forward, we will also supply all or most photoresists.  The same with acids and solvents. There are currently a lot of chemicals stored in the flammables cabinet that are marked as belonging to distinct groups.  Please take time to remove and properly dispose of those chemicals (mostly SU-8 and other photoresists). On November 16, the cleanroom will take full ownership of all chemicals that have not been cleared from the cabinet.


We have planned for a number of key processes and corresponding tools to be relocated and remain active during the renovations downtime, as described below. We will try and minimize the downtime for each of these processes to one week within November 2018.

5.1.           Physical Vapour Deposition (PVD)

The plan is for two evaporators to be available during the renovations. In more details:

Until now, the only available PVD process has been metal deposition via e-gun evaporation, supported by two evaporators in the white-light part of the cleanroom. We have recently acquired a load-locked, combined e-gun and sputter deposition tool (the “AJA”), which has been successfully installed within room 463 and is gradually being deployed to users. The first training sessions have started and the tool can already support Ti and Au e-gun evaporations. New materials can be added on demand, provided that they do not clash with our plan to keep this system as clean as possible with a focus on non-magnetic materials. The tool will remain operational within room 463 during the renovations and will naturally go into the renovated cleanroom after the works are completed.

Of the existing two evaporators mentioned, the newest one (the “Dee-Directors”) will be relocated and installed in room 449 for the duration of the renovations, and then moved into the renovated cleanroom. A dry pump will be fitted to it, replacing the current oil one. This evaporator will cater for a number of metals, including magnetic ones. The older evaporator will be taken out of use and into storage from 16 November 2018.

5.2.           Photolithography

The plan is for the new mask-aligner and the required support items and services to be installed within lab 442 (Edmond Cretu), inside a yellow-light clean enclosure with two overhead HEPA filters, which should provide an environment adequately dust-free for lithography to be able to work reliably. The maskless tool will also be transferred to lab 442.

In more detail, the NxQ4006 mask aligner, the maskless photolithography tool, the Headway spinner, the ovens and hot plates, the ultrasonic bath and one of the wet benches currently in the yellow cleanroom, will be moved and installed in room 442. At the same time, the house vacuum system will also be transferred there to support the mask-aligner and the spinner. Piping for its installation has already been arranged. A new nitrogen gas installation has been already fitted and a new, small-format deionized water unit has been ordered and will be installed in the same clean area. A small wet bench is already available in 442. With one of our yellow-room wet benches replacing this small one, it makes sense to use it not only for sample cleaning, photolithography and lift-off, but for wet etching too, including for HF based chemistries. We will ensure that all safety standards are met. The gowning regime for room 442 will be the same with that of the electron-beam lithography lab. Cleanroom compatible long coats and shoe covers, enough to cater for both labs, have already been purchased. Film thickness measurements with the stylus and optical profilers, and the optical microscope will also be relocated to lab 442. There is storage space available within lab 442 and users can keep their boxes in the room.

5.3.           Wet Etching

As discussed above, we are looking into installing one of the existing wet benches inside lab 442, to also cater for wet chemical etching, including for HF based chemistries. UBC has now confirmed that this is possible and we have initiated the process for the installation. The original plan, and currently an alternative/ back up plan, is to make use of the existing small wet bench in 442 for photolithography, sample cleaning and lift-off, and use the wet bench in labs 345/347 (Jeff Young) for wet etching.

5.4.           Oxygen plasma chamber

We consider oxygen plasma treatment to be an important support component of the key processes we plan to keep active during the renovation works, and we intend to relocate it and make it available in an area that can support pump exhaust, and preferably within Lab 442.

5.5.           ECR Etcher

The plan is for the ECR Etcher to be relocated and installed in lab 345 (Jeff Young). A dry pump is being purchased for the system, which will make the whole installation quieter and is also in line with our policy of replacing oil pumps with dry ones in the renovated cleanroom. Only processes that do not use toxic gasses will be supported on the ECR in its new temporary location.

5.6.           Other tools and equipment

Lab 443 has some space available and we are looking into what other tools and support equipment can be safely relocated and installed there, in addition to what has already been described above.


It is understandable that some tools and/or processes we will not be able to safely install and support outside a cleanroom and its wider infrastructure during the renovation period. Examples include the PE-CVD system, the respective dry etch processes available through the same system, and those ECR processes that use toxic gasses. We have made provision for all these processes to become available to us at SFU/4DLabs. Members of the technical team will be trained in these processes and will undertake to carry out the work on behalf of Facility users who require such processes. If it makes sense for certain users to be trained at 4DLabs, then we will do this too.


Following the closure of the existing Cleanroom, we will stop charging users cleanroom time via Bumblebee, which is currently triggered by users logging in and out of their account on entering and exiting the cleanroom, respectively. We will, however, keep on using Bumblebee as normal for booking and invoicing. We will adapt the various rates accordingly and the charging will be based on the tool time booked and on feedback from users regarding their actual usage time of a tool/process. As always, we will make sure issued invoices reflect this. We plan on, actually, reducing the rates overall during the renovation period, to account for the non optimal arrangement and the effect on Facility users. At the same time, our technical team will be offering all support possible free of charge.


Electron-beam lithography operates in its dedicated cleanroom in the basement (lab 65). This lab will not be directly affected by the renovation works on level 4. However, spinning/baking of resist and development, processes that are until now conducted within the cleanroom, will relocate together with photolithography into Lab 442, and will operate in cleanroom conditions.


We understand that it is important for all Facility users to be kept up to date on the progress of renovation works. We will try to minimize the amount of emails we send out to the necessary ones. Users are asked to visit the link at and also look at the equipment status tab of the same website for up to date information. At the same time, we are setting up an online user forum, currently under testing, for users to share and discuss issues.

October 19, 2018:

The cleanroom renovations are finally upon us.  Use this link to be kept updated on renovations progress.

All Saints Day 2018: Cleanroom staff begins dismantling and moving equipment to alternative locations.  Please consult the Equipment Status tab for equipment availability

Halloween 2018: last day current cleanroom available.