The Rice University Shared Equipment Authority (SEA) was established in 2001 as a way to provide its faculty with superb experimental facilities, research equipment, and support services at an affordable cost. The SEA Nanofabrication Cleanroom began operations in 2004, and is slated to move to a new facility in the summer of 2018. The SEA Cleanroom serves a large number of research disciplines at Rice, spanning eight departments across both the schools of engineering and natural sciences. The Cleanroom operates under the cost center umbrella of the larger SEA and is available to the Rice community for education and research purposes, as well as to external users from non-profit institutions and commercial entities.
Current cleanroom facilities include 700 square feet of class 100 space, 700 square feet of class 1000 space, and another 400 square feet of non-filtered characterization lab space. The future facility will be located in a fully renovated lab building and will have almost 3000 square feet of class 1000 clean room space for all existing and future cleanroom and characterization lab instruments. Current instrument capabilities include mask photolithography, plasma cleaning, reactive ion etch, plasma-enhanced CVD, sputtering (RF and DC), atomic layer deposition, e-beam and thermal evaporation, reflectometry, ellipsometry, profilometry, dicing, wire bonding, die bonding, and parylene coating. The SEA Nanofabrication Cleanroom’s new facility will include the addition of new capabilities, including seven wet benches for better process segregation, a scanning electron microscope, a dedicated e-beam lithography system, a maskless lithography system, an additional evaporator, diffusion furnaces, and major improvements in facility design and infrastructure.