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NanoFab Welcome

In the NanoFab, you can use our extensive commercial, state-of-the-art tool set at economical hourly rates, and get help from a dedicated, full-time technical support staff.

  • Access a comprehensive tool set, including advanced capabilities for lithography, thin-film deposition, and nanostructure characterization
  • Benefit from reliable, reproducible processes maintained by a professional staff
  • Make use of fabrication and characterization services provided by our expert staff
  • Access the NanoFab within two weeks after submitting a simple application

Tool and Process News

Upgraded FEI Helios 660 Now Available


Additional detectors have been installed in the electron beam column of the FEI Helios DualBeam system (NEMO name: FEI FIB 2) to bring the instrument up to the 660 specification. The new detectors are labeled Mirror Detector (MD) and In-Column Detector (ICD) and are used to detect low loss and no loss backscatter electrons, respectively. When the instrument is in immersion mode, both new detectors can be operated simultaneously with the TLD to collect secondary and backscatter signals for more comprehensive sample data. The new detectors provide enhanced compositional contrast for differentiation of similar materials.

Leica EM GP Automatic Plunge Freezer Now Available

Freeze plunger

A Leica EM GP automatic plunge freezer has recently been installed in the CNST NanoFab.  This tool uses the bare grid technique to prepare vitrified fluid specimens for cryo transmission electron microscopy (TEM) analysis.  Specimens in solution are applied manually to a TEM grid held in an environmental chamber to maintain a controlled temperature and humidity.  The specimen is then automatically blotted to remove excess fluid and plunged into liquid ethane.  The automated blotting and plunging are key features of the instrument to ensure sample reproducibility.

Applications for the plunge freezer include preparing cryo-TEM specimens of nanoparticles, DNA, liposomes, proteins, viruses and other biological particles in their native solution environment.

CNST NanoFab Opens Soft Lithography Lab

The CNST NanoFab has established a new soft lithography laboratory.  This lab provides researchers with rapid access to tools and processes for fabricating devices in soft materials, with applications ranging from microfluidics and nanofluidics, to flexible electronics and optics, to devices with patterned surface chemistries.

Photograph of the CNST NanoFab soft lithography lab. 

Located in Building 216, room F102, the 25 m2 lab is equipped with a casting station for polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) coating, a plasma bonder for surface preparation, a convection oven for PDMS baking, and a laminar clean hood for final assembly. The casting station is housed in a fume hood, which also includes a spin coater, a scale, a hot plate, and a desiccator for PDMS mixing, degassing, coating, and baking.  The casting station and oven support substrates ranging from 150 mm diameter wafers down to small pieces and the plasma cleaner supports wafers as large as 75 mm in diameter.  Over the next 15 months, the CNST NanoFab plans to double the soft lithography lab space to 50 m2 and add tools to improve process reliability and repeatability.  The new tools will include a silane vapor deposition tool, a PDMS mixing tool, and a PDMS punch. 

To arrange lab access and training, or for more information, please contact Robert Newby, 301-975-6070.

Operating Status

The NanoFab is OPEN.

All NanoFab resources are available, including support from the NanoFab staff.


Vincent Luciani
NanoFab Manager

Phone 301-975-2886
E-mail: vincent.luciani@nist.gov

100 Bureau Drive, MS 6201
Gaithersburg, MD 20899-6201