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 lab



Deposition (QNC building)


Deposition of various thin films via ALD (Atomic Layer Deposition) and PECVD (Plasma-Enhanced Chemical Vapor Deposition)


E-beam and thermal Evaporators

Physical Vapour Deposition of thin films via e-beam and resistive heating thermal evaporation (2 systems)


LPCVD Furnace for LTO

Low Pressure Chemical Vapor Deposition (LPCVD) furnace for deposition of  doped and undoped low temperature oxides (LTO)


LPCVD Furnace for Poly Si

LPCVD deposition of dopedand undoped films of polysilicon via LPCVD


LPCVD Furnace for Silicon Nitride

LPCVD deposition of low stress silicon nitride


 Atmospheric Furnace

Wet or dry thermal oxidation of silicon substrates


Rapid Thermal Processors

Short duration, high-temperature processing of 4" or 6" wafers (2 systems)


UHV Al Angle Evaporator

Physical Vapour Deposition of Aluminum thin films for Josephson Junction fabrication


Twin Chamber Sputter

Physical Vapour Deposition of thin films via sputter deposition


Thermal Evaporator for Au and AuBe thin films

Fabrication of P-type ohmic contacts for III-V materials 

Lithography (QNC building)

JEOL JBX-6300FS 100kV E-Beam Litho System

Patterning nanometer scale features (down to 8nm) via electron-beam lithography


Beamer/Tracer SW suite

Comprehensive software platform for preparing data for exposure on JEOL JBX-6300FS E-Beam Litho System


RAITH E-Beam Litho 30kV

Patterning nanometer scale features (down to 20nm) via electron-beam lithography


UV Direct Write Lithography System

Maskless alignment and UV exposure of resist-coated substrates (includes backside alignment capability)


Mask Aligner

Alignment and UV exposure of resist-coated substrates (includes backside alignment capability for two wafer stack pre-alignment and clamping prior to wafer bonding)


Wafer Bonder

Permanent bonding of wafers (both bare and patterned)


Convection Oven

Baking of various photoresist films


HMDS/Image Reversal Oven

Vapour priming substrates with HMDS (adhesion promoter) prior to photoresist coat and image reversal


Spin Coater: Dual general purpose

Spin coating of various photoresists and a restricted variety of routine semiconductor films


Spin Coater: E-Beam Resist Station

Spin coating of E-beam photoresist films


Spin Coater: UV Resist Station

Spin coating of UV photoresist films

Dry Etch (QNC building)

Ion Milling Machine

Etching of thin films via Ar ion milling


Photoresist Stripper

Photoresist 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-V

Plasma-based dry etching of metal thin films and III-V substrates (GaAs & InP)

Wet Benches (QNC building)

Bulk Silicon Etch Wet Bench

Wet bulk silicon etch using KOH solutions


Pre-Diffusion Clean Wet Bench

Wafer clean via RCA chemistries


E-Beam Resist Develop Wet Bench

Development of e-beam resist coated substrates


HF Acids Hood Wet Bench

Wet bulk silicon oxide etch using HF solutions


Non-HF Acids and Bases Wet Bench

Dedicated to acid (non HF) or base processes and cleans


Piranha Organics Clean and Resist Strip Wet Bench

Photoresist strip using mixtures of sulphuric acid and hydrogen peroxide


Solvent Processing (2 hoods) Wet Bench

Photoresist develop and lift-off


UV Resist Develop Wet Bench

Development 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 System

Focussed 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 probe

For measuring resistivity of thin metal films and doped semiconductors


Electrical Probe Stations (2 systems)

For measuring electrical characteristics of devices



Non-destructive optical characterization of thin films


Semiconductor microscopes (2 units)

Versatile microscope for inspecting and documenting samples and devices


Thin Film Mapping Reflectometer

Mapping transparent thin film thickness across wafers (diameters of up to 200mm)


Thin Film Spot Measurement Reflectometer

Precise 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 System

Measurement and mapping of thin film stress on wafers

Device Packaging Lab (QNC building)

Convection Cure Oven

Baking of various epoxies/packages in ambient atmosphere


Dicing Saw

Precision cutting of wafers into individual chips/dies


Die Bonder

Bonding of chips/dies to packages


H2 Plasma Cleaner

Cleaning samples and/or chips prior to die bonding, wire bonding or encapsulation processes


Measuring Microscope

For inspection and dimensional measurement of finished chips/dies


Manual Wedge/Ball Wire Bonder

For making electrical contacts between semiconductor dies and packages


Semi-automatic Wedge Wire Bonder

For making electrical contacts between semiconductor dies and packages


Wire Pull Tester

Destructive 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 Chamber

Convection chamber for thermal stress testing of devices and components


Fume Hoods (3)

Safe wet chemical processing of solvent and acid solutions


Laser Welder

Manual laser fusion welding


Plasma cleaner

Dry cleaning of substrates using argon or oxygen plasmas


Microscopes (3)

General purpose inspection


Sample Cutter

Precision, low speed cutting of various substrate types


Sample Polisher

Precision polishing of various substrate types


Manual Wedge/Ball Wire Bonder

For making electrical contacts between semiconductor dies and packages


Optical Metrology System

Optical (non-contact) 3D surface characterization of substrates & devices

Specialty Labs (RAC2 building)

LPCVD Furnace

For Carbon Nanotube (CN) and Graphene thin film growth


Optical Fiber Splicer

Resistive filament-based, automatic glass processing and fusion splicing system


PLD Deposition System

Precise growth of a wide range of thin films via Pulsed Laser Deposition (PLD)



Designing a Quantum future


Nano-scale Canadian flag sets world record in lead-up to nation's 150th birthday


Ultrastrong coupling of a single artificial atom to an electromagnetic continuum in the nonperturbative regime


Process Engineering “Fee for service” inquiries


QNFCF online training tutorials


New JEOL e-beam lithography system to enhance facility’s capabilities


Electron-beam lithography service offered to the University of Alberta nanoFAB


Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) 2019-20 Annual Report : Access to QNFCF important for multiple experimentalists