About the Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology
The NIST Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology (CNST) supports the U.S. nanotechnology enterprise from discovery to production by providing industry, academia, NIST, and other government agencies with access to world-class nanoscale measurement and fabrication methods and technology.
The CNST's shared-use NanoFab gives researchers economical access to and training on a commercial state-of-the-art tool set required for cutting-edge nanotechnology development. The simple application process is designed to get projects started in a few weeks.
Looking beyond the current commercial state of the art, the CNST's NanoLab offers opportunities for researchers to collaborate on creating and using the next generation of nanoscale measurement instruments and methods.
As the Department of Commerce nanocenter, the CNST provides:
Mission and Impact
The CNST was established in May of 2007 as a unique national facility to accelerate innovation in nanotechnology-based commerce. Its mission is to safely and reliably operate a national, shared resource for nanoscale fabrication and measurement and develop innovative nanoscale measurement and fabrication capabilities to support researchers from industry, academia, NIST, and other government agencies in nanoscale technology from discovery to production. The Center, located in NIST’s Advanced Measurement Laboratory Complex on the Gaithersburg, MD campus, disseminates new nanoscale measurement methods by incorporating them into facility operations, collaborating and partnering with others, and providing international leadership in nanotechnology.
The NanoFab provides researchers rapid access to a comprehensive suite of tools and processes for nanofabrication. This world-class shared resource provides researchers with a unique combination of a simple application process, extensive tool and process development, hands-on training, and access to NIST-wide expertise in nanoscience and nanotechnology.
The NanoFab features a large, dedicated cleanroom, with all the tools operated within an 8,000 square foot (750 m2) class 100 space, or in adjacent laboratories that have superior air quality along with vibration, temperature, and humidity control. Over 65 major tools are available for electron beam lithography, photolithography, nano–imprint lithography, laser writing and mask generation, field emission scanning electron microscopy, metal deposition, plasma etching, chemical vapor deposition, atomic layer deposition, and silicon micro/nano-machining. The NanoFab is accessible through a straightforward application process designed to get projects started in a few weeks. It is open from 7 am to 7 pm, Monday through Friday. (Operating hours will be expanded to midnight in July of 2010.) See the NanoFab web page and contact the NanoFab Manager for detailed guidance on NanoFab access policies, procedures, and costs.
A comprehensive list of the NanoFab equipment can be found on the NanoFab Equipment page. Of particular note are the electron beam lithography tools, which include two JEOL 6300-FS direct write electron beam lithography system that offer high resolution exposure capability and accommodate batch handling of substrates, a Heidelberg laser pattern generator, an ASML PAS 5500/275D high throughput i-line stepper with a fully automated wafer handling system, and a Nanonex nano-imprint system. The NanoFab’s new 4-Wave Sputtering Cluster System uses ion beam deposition or biased target deposition to provide dense thin films at room temperature. Other important capabilities are enabled by two FEI Helios 650 dual-beam microscopes, each of which combines a monochromated field emission scanning electron microscope (FE-SEM) with an advanced focused ion beam (FIB) column for fast, precise nanomachining and nanoscale structural characterization.
The NanoLab: Next Generation Measurement Research