Quantum-Nano Fabrication and Characterization Facility (QNFCF)

University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario
What the facility does

Nanofabrication cleanroom backed by characterization toolset and professional technical support that together enable the design and fabrication of a broad range of quantum and nano-scale devices.

Areas of expertise

The infrastructure at the University of Waterloo’s Quantum-Nano Fabrication and Characterization Facility (QNFCF) includes several class 10 through class 1000 cleanroom modules as well as multiple satellite labs which together house a broad range of state-of-the-art nanofabrication, packaging, assembly and characterization lab equipment. Professionally staffed and operated, the facility provides extensive safety, cleanroom and hands-on equipment training as well as guidance on advanced process technologies ranging from atomic layer deposition to electron beam lithography capable of reliably patterning features down to 8nm. Each individual piece of equipment is characterized by well-documented and communicated materials limitations which help mitigate cross-contamination risks. All equipment is physically interlocked with a centralized lab management software platform and each features a revision-tracked Standard Operating Procedure (SOP). This ensures proper, consistent and effective equipment use. An extensive and growing list of characterized, qualified and well-documented processes is available to all lab members as an additional aid in the development of their unique nanofabrication process technologies. Significant process engineering expertise is available in-house to help members make best use of the facility and its many well-controlled and novel capabilities.

Research services

The facility is open to all graduate researchers from across Canada as well as to government labs and private industry. Interested parties are granted member status after completing the mandatory access requirements which include online training modules covering lab safety, cleanroom behaviour and contamination control. Prospective members must complete an initial review of their proposed device fabrication process via the QNFCF process engineering group as required to confirm feasibility of their proposed workplan before proceeding. This initial service is provided free of charge. Training on distinct pieces of equipment is provided on an as-needed basis as a function of the new member’s initial and evolving requirements. “Fee for service” requests are handled on a case by case basis.

Sectors of application
  • Aerospace and satellites
  • Information and communication technologies and media
  • Life sciences, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment
  • Manufacturing and processing
Specialized labEquipmentFunction
Deposition (QNC building)ALD/PECVD ClusterDeposition of various thin films via ALD (Atomic Layer Deposition) and PECVD (Plasma-Enhanced Chemical Vapor Deposition)
 E-beam and thermal EvaporatorsPhysical Vapour Deposition of thin films via e-beam and resistive heating thermal evaporation (2 systems)
 LPCVD Furnace for LTOLow Pressure Chemical Vapor Deposition (LPCVD) furnace for deposition of  doped and undoped low temperature oxides (LTO)
 LPCVD Furnace for Poly SiLPCVD deposition of dopedand undoped films of polysilicon via LPCVD
 LPCVD Furnace for Silicon NitrideLPCVD deposition of low stress silicon nitride
  Atmospheric FurnaceWet or dry thermal oxidation of silicon substrates
 Rapid Thermal ProcessorsShort duration, high-temperature processing of 4" or 6" wafers (2 systems)
 UHV Al Angle EvaporatorPhysical Vapour Deposition of Aluminum thin films for Josephson Junction fabrication
 Twin Chamber SputterPhysical Vapour Deposition of thin films via sputter deposition
 Thermal Evaporator for Au and AuBe thin filmsFabrication of P-type ohmic contacts for III-V materials 
Lithography (QNC building)JEOL JBX-6300FS 100kV E-Beam Litho SystemPatterning nanometer scale features (down to 8nm) via electron-beam lithography
 Beamer/Tracer SW suiteComprehensive software platform for preparing data for exposure on JEOL JBX-6300FS E-Beam Litho System
 RAITH E-Beam Litho 30kVPatterning nanometer scale features (down to 20nm) via electron-beam lithography
 UV Direct Write Lithography SystemMaskless alignment and UV exposure of resist-coated substrates (includes backside alignment capability)
 Mask AlignerAlignment and UV exposure of resist-coated substrates (includes backside alignment capability for two wafer stack pre-alignment and clamping prior to wafer bonding)
 Wafer BonderPermanent bonding of wafers (both bare and patterned)
 Convection OvenBaking of various photoresist films
 HMDS/Image Reversal OvenVapour priming substrates with HMDS (adhesion promoter) prior to photoresist coat and image reversal
 Spin Coater: Dual general purposeSpin coating of various photoresists and a restricted variety of routine semiconductor films
 Spin Coater: E-Beam Resist StationSpin coating of E-beam photoresist films
 Spin Coater: UV Resist StationSpin coating of UV photoresist films
Dry Etch (QNC building)Ion Milling MachineEtching of thin films via Ar ion milling
 Photoresist StripperPhotoresist strip and descum
 Reactive Ion Etch (RIE) System: Deep Si (includes Bosch process)Low and high aspect ratio etching of silicon via plasma-based dry etching
 Reactive Ion Etch (RIE) System: Metals and III-VPlasma-based dry etching of metal thin films and III-V substrates (GaAs & InP)
Wet Benches (QNC building)Bulk Silicon Etch Wet BenchWet bulk silicon etch using KOH solutions
 Pre-Diffusion Clean Wet BenchWafer clean via RCA chemistries
 E-Beam Resist Develop Wet BenchDevelopment of e-beam resist coated substrates
 HF Acids Hood Wet BenchWet bulk silicon oxide etch using HF solutions
 Non-HF Acids and Bases Wet BenchDedicated to acid (non HF) or base processes and cleans
 Piranha Organics Clean and Resist Strip Wet BenchPhotoresist strip using mixtures of sulphuric acid and hydrogen peroxide
 Solvent Processing (2 hoods) Wet BenchPhotoresist develop and lift-off
 UV Resist Develop Wet BenchDevelopment of UV resist-coated substrates


Characterization (QNC building)

Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM)Nanoscale viewing of substrates with Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy (EDS) material analysis capability
 Atomic Force Microscope (AFM)Scanning probe microscopy for measuring substrate surface roughness, etc.
 SEM/FIB SystemFocussed Ion Beam (FIB) milling of substrates and TEM sample preparation
 Scanning/Transmission Electron Microscope (S/TEM)Atomic scale viewing and characterization of a broad range of materials. Equipped with Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy (EDS) and Electron Energy Loss Spectroscopy (EELS) analytical capabilities
 Four-point probeFor measuring resistivity of thin metal films and doped semiconductors
 Electrical Probe Stations (2 systems)For measuring electrical characteristics of devices
 EllipsometerNon-destructive optical characterization of thin films
 Semiconductor microscopes (2 units)Versatile microscope for inspecting and documenting samples and devices
 Thin Film Mapping ReflectometerMapping transparent thin film thickness across wafers (diameters of up to 200mm)
 Thin Film Spot Measurement ReflectometerPrecise spot-measurement of transparent thin film thickness
 Stylus Surface Profiling Systems (2 units)Measurement of surface topography and thin film step heights
 Thin Film Stress Measurement SystemMeasurement and mapping of thin film stress on wafers
Device Packaging Lab (QNC building)Convection Cure OvenBaking of various epoxies/packages in ambient atmosphere
 Dicing SawPrecision cutting of wafers into individual chips/dies
 Die BonderBonding of chips/dies to packages
 H2 Plasma CleanerCleaning samples and/or chips prior to die bonding, wire bonding or encapsulation processes
 Measuring MicroscopeFor inspection and dimensional measurement of finished chips/dies
 Manual Wedge/Ball Wire BonderFor making electrical contacts between semiconductor dies and packages
 Semi-automatic Wedge Wire BonderFor making electrical contacts between semiconductor dies and packages
 Wire Pull TesterDestructive and nondestructive testing of wire bonds by the pull test method
 Clean Assembly Lab (RAC1 building)Class 1000 Cleanroom Work Stations (2 reservable stations)Clean assembly of scientific instruments and assemblies
 Environmental Test ChamberConvection chamber for thermal stress testing of devices and components
 Fume Hoods (3)Safe wet chemical processing of solvent and acid solutions
 Laser WelderManual laser fusion welding
 Plasma cleanerDry cleaning of substrates using argon or oxygen plasmas
 Microscopes (3)General purpose inspection
 Sample CutterPrecision, low speed cutting of various substrate types
 Sample PolisherPrecision polishing of various substrate types
 Manual Wedge/Ball Wire BonderFor making electrical contacts between semiconductor dies and packages
 Optical Metrology SystemOptical (non-contact) 3D surface characterization of substrates & devices
Specialty Labs (RAC2 building)LPCVD FurnaceFor Carbon Nanotube (CN) and Graphene thin film growth
 Optical Fiber SplicerResistive filament-based, automatic glass processing and fusion splicing system
 PLD Deposition SystemPrecise growth of a wide range of thin films via Pulsed Laser Deposition (PLD)
Designing a Quantum futurehttps://analyticalscience.wiley.com/do/10.1002/was.00020453
Nano-scale Canadian flag sets world record in lead-up to nation's 150th birthdayhttps://phys.org/news/2016-09-nano-scale-canadian-flag-world-lead-up.html
Ultrastrong coupling of a single artificial atom to an electromagnetic continuum in the nonperturbative regimehttp://www.nature.com/nphys/journal/v13/n1/full/nphys3905.html#acknowledgments
Process Engineering “Fee for service” inquirieshttps://qnfcf.uwaterloo.ca/contacts
QNFCF online training tutorialshttps://www.youtube.com/channel/UC45cUNKyJLlRDqCsL1QZFPQ/videos
New JEOL e-beam lithography system to enhance facility’s capabilitieshttps://sst.semiconductor-digest.com/2015/05/new-jeol-e-beam-lithography-system-to-enhance-quantum-…
Electron-beam lithography service offered to the University of Alberta nanoFABhttps://www.nanofab.ualberta.ca/services/electron-beam-lithography-service/
Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) 2019-20 Annual Report : Access to QNFCF important for multiple experimentalistshttps://uwaterloo.ca/secretariat/sites/ca.secretariat/files/uploads/files/iqc_fy2019-20_annual_repo…