About the MNC
The Nano Center's mission is to support the fabrication, synthesis, and characterization of nanoscale devices and materials for both academic and industrial users. We do this by maintaining a state-of-the-art cleanroom facility, a full tool set for microfabrication, and core labs for research into nanomaterials and biological applications of nanoscience. We provide hands-on training in nanotechnology processes to all qualified users.
The Minnesota Nano Center has over $30 million of equipment in place and operational for
- Optical and electron beam lithography
- Thin film deposition of metals, alloys, and ceramic compounds
- Annealing, oxidation, and doping of substrates
- Wet etching and reactive ion etching
- Optical pattern (mask) development
The Keller Lab, formerly the Nanofabrication Center (NFC), consists of a 3000 square foot Class 100 cleanroom, and an additional 4000 square feet of labs and support areas. The Keller cleanroom has a tool set that enables the fabrication of devices with features sizes as small as one micrometer (1000 nanometers). This tool set is well suited to the fabrication of MEMS, microfluidic devices, and other structures that do not require nanometer-scale resolution.
The PAN Lab, located in the Physics and Nanotechnology building, features a new 5000 square foot Class 100 cleanroom. This cleanroom is equipped with ultra-high resolution lithography tools, including a state-of-the-art electron beam lithography tool capable of fabricating sub-10 nm features. The cleanroom offers a full suite of tools for thin film deposition, metallization, wet and dry etching, and two dimensional material growth.
The PAN building also features two labs dedicated to supporting research in bio-nanotechnology and nanomaterials. The Bio-Nano laboratory offers facilities and equipment for cell culturing, DNA and protein analysis, fluorescence microscopy, and multiwavelength analysis of cells. The Nanomaterials Lab gives researchers the tools to synthesize, modify, and characterize nanoparticles in colloidal form.
The MNC is an open facility available to a wide range of users, including external academic and industrial researchers. Once users have completed a basic lab safety training course and are approved to operate individual tools, they may access the MNC facilities 24 hours a day, seven days a week, subject to any periodic closures of our host buildings.
The MNC is part of the National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure network (NNCI), a group of nanotechnology labs located around the country and supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF). These labs represent part of the NSF’s substantial investment in nanotechnology research and training.
How to find us
The Keller Lab of the MNC is housed in Keller Hall (the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science building). The PAN Lab is located in the Physics and Nanotechnology building, which lies directly northwest of Keller Hall. Both buildings are located near the intersection of Beacon and Union Streets SE on the East Bank Campus of the University of Minnesota. The closest parking for either facility is the Washington Avenue Ramp.
In 1990 the University opened the Microelectronics Technology Lab, an upgrade and consolidation of its facilities for the expanding field of microlithography. The opening of the lab was supported by several Minnesota-based technology firms prominent at the time, including Control Data, Cray Research, Fluoroware Systems Inc., and Honeywell. The initial focus of the lab was on integrated circuits and related electronics. Over time, the lab acquired equipment and capabilities that broadened its mission to include microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), micro-optics, and nanomaterials. The facility was renamed the Nanofabrication Center to reflect its broader mission.
On July 1, 2013, the Nanofabrication Center was expanded with the addition of substantial new laboratory space and a new larger cleanroom. This new entity is now the Minnesota Nano Center, and will be the center of nanotechnology-related work at the University of Minnesota. The MNC will enable interdisciplinary research that links the University’s massive investment in the physical and life sciences, medicine, and engineering.