The CNST NanoFab uses a system called NEMO that tracks tool usage and the associated costs. We operate on a monthly billing cycle and will provide a report of your projects tool usage and costs at the close of each billing cycle. Charges are based on hourly rates. However, the NEMO system rounds costs to the nearest minute. More information on billing and payments can be found here.
There are three types of hourly rates charged to every NanoFab user to recover the costs of performing the work: Specific Tool Use, Cleanroom Use, and Process Assistance (when applicable).
Hourly Rates for Specific Tool Use
Most NanoFab tools are charged at an individual tool rate. Use of tools located inside the cleanroom will also accrue charges at the Cleanroom Use rate for the times when the user is physically in the cleanroom accessing the tool. Some of the more basic cleanroom tools are not charged for separately and their use is included in the Cleanroom Use rate as described below.
Hourly Rate for General Cleanroom Use
This rate is charged for time working in the NanoFab cleanroom. It also includes gowning and most wet chemistry.
Hourly Rate for Process Assistance
Some users require that staff assist with or conduct certain process steps during a project. Note that process assistance is offered based on the availability of the staff, and can only be performed for non-proprietary projects.
The NanoFab keeps on hand an inventory of basic processing supplies including tweezers, silicon wafers, gelpaks, and cleanroom notebooks. These supplies may be purchased by customers with a NEMO account by contacting any NanoFab staff member. Supplies are stocked and sold in limited quantities. This service is offered as a convenience to customers who have an immediate need, and should not be considered a primary means of procurement.
The NanoFab also keeps on stock the most common variants of wet chemicals used for photo lithography, wet etching, and general nanofabrication processing. Chemicals are provided on an as needed basis to users. In most circumstances the costs for chemical use are included in the "base cleanroom" rate. Chemical use in the NanoFab is strictly limited to preapproved substances and must be performed in defined areas.
Questions regarding the list of currently acceptable substances should be directed to the NanoFab manager. A detailed description of chemical handling Standard Operating Procedures can be found in the NanoFab Safety Manual.
The NanoFab provides all new users a comprehensive orientation class free of charge. More information on content and scheduling can be found here.
In addition to the required safety and orientation training, all users must also be trained and certified on each tool they wish to use independently. Tool certifications are performed by the NanoFab staff member assigned to the tool. Contact and scheduling information can be found on each tool page. In most cases both the tool time and engineering charge are waived during equipment certification. However, when being certified on equipment located in the cleanroom customers will be charged at the General Cleanroom Access Rate. With few exceptions, individual tool certifications are performed using generic test substrates. With prior approval of the trainer tool certifications may be performed using customer provided samples but will be considered process assistance; applicable tool and engineering charges will apply.
Sometimes after completion of tool training a user may not have reached the level of proficiency on the equipment required for independent use. In these cases the customer may choose either to schedule additional training session or, if available, request the staff member perform the processing for them as service work. In either case applicable tool and engineering charges will apply.