College of Science and Engineering


MME students travel to the University of Minnesota Nanofabrication Center for class

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

As a member of the NNIN network, the Nanofabrication Center (NFC) has a charge to provide facilities access to both internal and external users. This year St. Cloud State University dedicated a portion of their MME-331 Engineering Materials Processing II course to microfabrication for the first time.

As part of the new curriculum, two 3.5 hour laboratory sessions were prepared to show students the basic processes for MEMS microfabrication. These sessions were conducted in the NFC of the University of Minnesota in April. The introductory level microfabrication laboratory sessions involved all of the key processes in microfabrication including photolithography, thinfilm dielectric deposition, thin-film metallization, wet and dry plasma etching and deep reactive ion etching (DRIE) of silicon. An efficient timeline was created to allow these tasks to be accomplished in just two visits. Six SCSU undergraduate students majoring in the Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering Department and two faculty members (Dr. Kenneth Miller and Dr. Jay Byun) were present during the sessions. The sessions were instructed by Dr. A. Serdar Sezen.

Before the sessions began, a tour of the NFC was given and the basic operation of a cleanroom was described to the students. The experiments started with a blank silicon wafer, the basic element in microfabrication and in the end a 3-dimensional array of microfabricated hexagonal pillars with top metalized regions were successfully fabricated. The students were then given a tour of the Advanced Controls and Microsensors Laboratory (ACML) at the University of Minnesota (access provided by Dr. Rajesh Rajamani) where the MEMS transducers fabricated by using similar methods have been shown in operation.

The experience proved an extremely effective way to introduce microfabrication to students. Despite the rather long drive and long laboratory sessions, students showed appreciation for being able to see firsthand a real cleanroom environment and all the basic equipment and manufacturing methods for MEMS microfabrication and utilizing these to create a microstructure. 

Nanotechnology News from the University of Minnesota is published by the University of Minnesota’s Center for Nanostructure Applications and made possible with partial support from NSF through the NNIN program.

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