Capabilities and Equipment

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The Minnesota Nano Center (MNC) 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, reactive ion and wet etching, nanoparticle synthesis, and characterization.

With its new space in the Physics and Nanotechnology Building, the MNC offers expanded facilities for research in basic nanoscience and in applied nanotechnology. These facilities will support researchers working in the three main areas of nanotechnology today: small-scale devices, nano materials, and biomedical applications of nanotech.

    Making photomasks 

    Making a photomasks with your device design is usually the first step in fabricating devices using photolithography. The Nano Center offers mask making services with our Heidelberg DWL200 laser writer system. The minimum feature size is 1.0µm for lines or spaces. If you would like us to make a mask, please go to to submit your design file, Be sure to consult the design rules on that page. Note that you can also get training on the laserwriter tool to make your own masks. Contact MNC staff for details.

    Particle analysis

    The Nano Center can characterize a wide range of particle samples for size distribution, shape analysis, and electrostatic surface charge (zeta potential). We have the tools analyze nanoparticles as small as 3 nm and powders as large as 2 mm in diameter. Samples can be dry or suspended in liquids, and we can accommodate oxygen- and water-sensitive materials. For more information, contact the Nanobio Lab manager at

    Device fabrication/project management Nano Center staff can complete any stage of your fabrication project if you cannot or choose not to do it yourself. This includes all steps in the lithographic workflow, from thin film deposition to patterning to etching to characterization. For more information, contact the cleanroom manager at