Award Winning Adhesives Researcher Credits Microfabrication Facility

The Bhakta Rath Research Award honors a graduate student and faculty mentor for in-depth work with social impact. The 2019 winners are two biomedical engineers with a sticky past.

A smart adhesive doesn’t adhere all the time. In 2015, when Ameya Narkar started his doctoral research with Bruce Lee, associate professor of biomedical engineering at Michigan Technological University, the two turned to biological sources for a glue that could be turned on and off.

Q: How have your methods helped make the project successful?

Ameya Narkar: Our biomedical engineering department is full of approachable experts. It’s a small team and an effective one. I could walk down to a faculty member’s office and ask for advice when our project branched into areas beyond our lab’s expertise. Plus, I was able to work closely with the people in the Applied Chemical and Morphological Analysis Laboratory and the microfabrication facility. Collaboration is essential to successful research.

Read more at Michigan Tech News, by Allison Mills.

MFF Equipment Status

Instrument Status Status Notes
6″ Sputter deposition  Ready Online

Issues – Water flow meter is not indicating flow

20190511 – Installed a barrier to block water from getting to the wall instead of the drain

20180102 – Replaced the outlet water connectors as one had cracked and leaked water on the floor

20180406 – Replaced the pump oil and cleaned both the top and bottom seals on the chamber

20181014 – Replaced the O2 MFC as after 20 mins the flow would go to zero

8″ Sputter deposition Ready Online

Issues – Need to fix the hoist or take weight off the system

20190511 – Installed a barrier to block water from getting to the wall instead of the drain

Denton e-beam deposition  Unavailable Offline

Issues – Needs to be bead blasted

20190618 – Sent back the cryo compressor as it would not turn on

20190511 – Installed a barrier to block water from getting to the wall instead of the drain

20190418 – Cryo compressor rebuilt and reinstalled – system is functional

20181205 – Replaced the oil casing gasket as the rough pump was leaking oil

20180102 – Cryo Regenerated

Fredrick e-beam deposition  Useable Online

Issues – Needs to be bead blasted, new multiple sample holder installed, and redo the water interlock and possibly all the interlocks

20190618 – Replaced the white sensing wire (no sure actually what it was) on the HV controller as it had melted in the sensing coil

20190511 – Installed a barrier to block water from getting to the wall instead of the drain

20171024 – Water lines replaced after one cracked, New Al crucible

20190219 – Topped up the Helium to 250 psi (when off) as the operation pressure was 80 psi, should be 105 psi

Parylene Coater  Ready Online

20190511 – Installed a barrier to block water from getting to the wall instead of the drain

TRION  Ready Online

Issues – Need to install an automatic water shut off

20190529 – Hole in the water line before the plastic to metal tubing connector in the RF system. Replaced all the water lines, flushed the RF loop as the 50% DIW / 50% Ethylene Glycol mixture was not flowing in the RF cooling loop. Opened both RF supplies and checked for coolant. Flushed the system twice and emptied the debris filter in the pump head.

20190517 – Oil case seal replaced to resolve an oil leak, oil filtered, motor in the chiller replaced with the motor from the original chiller as the shaft was unstable

20171127 – Replaced the oil after the pump run out, leak in a seal still

20180622 – Replaced the lid o-ring (#383) there was a leak rate of 1Torr/min

20190108 – Replaced the rough pump with the one from the MARCH – rough pump time of ~60 secs

20190108 – Oil filter was jammed with dried oil contamination – rebuilt with old pump head (need to bleed to get the filter to draw in oil)

20190219 – CAIBE rough pump is now used for the TRION until the 2021 C2 pump is rebuilt (FY20)

CAIBE  Unavailable Offline

20180420 – Installed new stage, fixed the water line that melted, removed the load lock turbo from the cooling as it was blocked and not needed

20180601 – Installed a new microwave source

20181023 – Replaced the shaft seal on the rough pump

20190219 – Rough pump is being used by the TRION

March  Ready Ready

Issues – need to modify the side to allow for the RF cable to penetrate the side

20180127 – Connected water lines to the RF base

20190108 – RF supply is reading a power when it is on and set to zero, rough pump is on the TRION, RF supply is also not tuning and has major RF swings.

20190219 – Put a new copper ground from the vacuum line to the water line in the chase, without the MARCH RF goes crazy

20190315 – Replacement RF supply received and in working order. C1 is not turning properly as the bearing is bad.

20190320 – Rebuilt C1 and moved the RF input to go directly to the variable capacitors. System is tuning properly from 0W to 300W.

Ellipsometer  Ready Ready

Issues – None

20171024 – Light source realigned to give a lower gain of 2

FTIR  Ready Ready

Issues – Calibration

Curvature System  Ready Ready

Issues – Calibration

Oxidation Furnace  Ready Ready

Fall 2017 – Installed a water bubbler, but the lines are not sending the steam to the furnace correctly.

20180131 – Installed a new TC for zone 2, testing in the lab class

20180604 – Installed a new controller and the system seems stable

Diffusion Furnace  Ready Ready

Issues – None

20190201 – Installed a quartz liner for MDE to anneal their SU-8 films

2″ Furnace  Ready Ready

Issues – None

RTP  Useable Chiller is leaking water if run at too higher pressure

Issues – Need to make sure we have the proper cooling, system was run with glass samples and melted to the silicon TC and damaged it (2019 May)

Dicing Saw  Ready Ready

Fall 2017 – Moved the water supply off the tape to the building supply, replaced a leaking water pressure switch

20180413 – Replaced the pressure flow switch but it is not fast enough or not sending the right signal that there is water in time.

20180601 – Replaced several of the boards after boards 6 and 7 were swapped as recommended by the company and this lead to several issues with burnt out leads and blown fuses

20180814 – Installed a 12VDC power supply that will need to be manually turned on to turn on the water, fix for the water pressure issues. The optics head was realigned as it became lose and users had been bumping it.

20180901 – Installed a Cole-Parmer Venturi Vacuum Pump, 3.2 cfm, 28.0″Hg

EV620 Mask Aligner  Ready Ready – Turning off the lamp to preserve the life time

Issues – Logging sometimes fails as the optics stage gets stuck

20180814 – Fixed three air leaks, two on the right side of the stage as the tubes had cracked

Wet bench – Chemical processing  Ready Ready

Issues – Air leaks

Vacuum oven  Ready Ready

Issues – None

20180131 – Installed a vacuum pump

Hotplates  Ready Ready

Issues – None

Spinner  Ready Ready

Issues – None

Wire bonder  Ready Ready

Issues – None

Cleanroom Optical Microscopy  Ready Ready

Issues – Calibrate the CCD capture measurements, can use the SYP mask

20190219 – 100x objective repaired

Probe station  Ready Ready

Issues – probes need better bases

20180913 x-y belt replaced with a No slip positive drive belt RBC PIC DESIGN PART#F32BS18-112

Parameter Analyzer  Unavailable Offline

Issues – Communication errors with the SMU, system needs to be rebuilt $30K

Capacitance Voltage Measurement  Ready Ready

Issues – Need to automate

Four point conductivity  Ready Ready

Issues – Need to automate

Atomic Layer Deposition Ready Ready

20190401 – New TDMAH installed and Hf deposition tuned to give a 4″ uniform deposition, growth rate is too fast per cycle, need to calibrate for the ALD region

20181205 – Milled a trench in the sleeve, put in the old ceramic pins, put in metal pins to stop the sleeve from moving

20181015 – Redo the N2 to be SS instead of plastic

201805023 – set up the process to represent an ALD valve that has constant Ar carrier flow

20180601 – Installed Ferrocene iron ALD source

20180814 – changed the precursor setup – Ferrocene is not producing a vapor pressure?

20190102 – Replaced the manual shut off valve on the ferrocene with an all metal valve – finally do not see F – not sure if it was the valve. Disconnected all the lines to the shower head that is not used.

20190219 – Installed the TDMAH to test uniformity and optimize the system

Filmertics 3D Profiler Ready Ready

20171127 – 100x received and installed

20180814 – Had to realign the fringes with the focus point.

Big blue wet benches Useable Ready

20181015 – Connected the 3-phase supply to the left side – Alarm 1 is coming on so it is not running yet.

Connected the aspirator, ran a new waste line to the current acid neutralization system. Need to install an automatic water shut off valve to the house water as the shut off requires a 10′ ladder to get to.
1 – I put in a new controller for the right bench and it allows for the bench to be used. The old controller might be ok, but I did not realize you had to power cycle the bench with the main breaker if the EPO is pressed. There is still an alarm going and I am not sure yet what is causing it.
2 – I started checking the controls to see if everything works – did not get very far, but there is running DIW and N2
3 – The aspirators are not working and this is very much likely because Bill has decided to run these to the new acid waste storage tank instead of the current one. To finish the new tank will take significant time and funds to get operational and with the current usage I do not see the point. I might be able to tee into the current tank, however I am not sure what has been done to turn off the aspirators.
4 – The left bath seems to have no power, but the breaks are not labelled to know where the power is going – luckily for me there is only one break currently off – however it did not turn on the left controller for the bench.
5 – The left bench is not connected at all for waste and this will mean breaking the lines on the 3rd floor to install tees and then running tubes up to the 4th floor to be connected.
EasyNano CVD CNT Ready Ready

Installed in January – April 2019 and fully operational – installation included HVAC, flammable gas cabinet (H2, C2H4), gas lines for Ar, N2, H2, C2H4, 3-phase power


Firstnano chemical vapor deposition system

A firstnano chemical vapor deposition (CVD) system has been installed in the Michigan Technological University Microfabrication Shared facility (MFF). This system allows for the growth of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) using hydrogen and ethylene and an iron catalyst. This capability was brought into the MFF by Dr. Parisa Abadi through her start up package and has generously allowed other faculty and researchers at MTU access to this system. If you would like to use the system, or would like like more information please contact Dr. Parisa Abadi (pabadi at mtu dot edu) or Chito Kendrick (








First CNT growth using the nanofirst system – Images taken using the FE-4700 SEM in ACMAL

MFF Internal Use Fee Rates

Dear Users,
The Microfab just went through it’s biyearly review of use rates. This has lead to changes to all three rates:
  • D98077 (baseline) – $19.50 ($1.00 decrease)
  • D98081 (EV620 Mask aligner) – $71 ($0.50 increase)
  • D98095 (thin film deposition and etching) – $43 ($0.50 increase)
I am doing my best to keep these rates as low as possible to allow for more usage at the lowest cost possible.

Electrical and chemical characterizations of hafnium (IV) oxide films for biological lab-on-a-chip devices

Many biological lab-on-a-chip applications require electrical and optical manipulation as well as detection of cells and biomolecules. This provides an intriguing challenge to design robust microdevices that resist adverse electrochemical side reactions yet achieve optical transparency. Physical isolation of biological samples from microelectrodes can prevent contamination, electrode fouling, and electrochemical byproducts; thus this manuscript explores hafnium oxide (HfO2) films – originating from traditional transistor applications – for suitability in electrokinetic microfluidic devices for biological applications. HfO2 films with deposition times of 6.5, 13, and 20 min were sputter deposited onto silicon and glass substrates. The structural, optical, and electrical properties of the HfO2 films were investigated using atomic force microscopy (AFM), X-ray diffractionenergy dispersive X-ray spectroscopyFourier transform infrared spectroscopy, ellipsometry, and capacitance voltage. Electric potential simulations of the HfO2 films and a biocompatibility study provided additional insights. Film grain size after corrosive Piranha treatment was observed via AFM. The crystalline structure investigated via X-ray diffraction revealed all films exhibited the (111) characteristic peak with thicker films exhibiting multiple peaks indicative of anisotropic structures. Energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy via field emission scanning electron microscopy and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy both corroborated the atomic ratio of the films as HfO2. Ellipsometry data from Si yielded thicknesses of 58, 127, and 239 nm and confirmed refractive index and extinction coefficients within the normal range for HfO2; glass data yielded unreliable thickness verifications due to film and substrate transparency. Capacitance-voltage results produced an average dielectric constant of 20.32, and the simulations showed that HfO2 dielectric characteristics were sufficient to electrically passivate planar microelectrodes. HfO2 biocompatibility was determined with human red blood cells by quantifying the hemolytic potential of the HfO2 films. Overall results support hafnium oxide as a viable passivation material for biological lab-on-a-chip applications.

Collins, J.L., Hernandez, H.M., Habibi, S., Kendrick, C.E., Wang, Z., Bihari, N., Bergstrom, P.L. and Minerick, A.R., 2018. Electrical and chemical characterizations of hafnium (IV) oxide films for biological lab-on-a-chip devices. Thin Solid Films662, pp.60-69.

3D Optical Profiler

The new 3D profiler ( has arrived and is installed. The system will allow for measuring the surface profile of samples to extract feature heights and surface roughness. Contact Dr. Kendrick ( if you would like to learn more about the system.


Per spec

object spec

Mech spec




The Microfabrication Core Facility (MFF) was host to 15 students from the Summer Youth Program (SYP) on the 18th of July (and a further more on the 25th of July), aged from 12 – 14 years. The students learned about the fabrication of silicon based devices and how silicon wafers are produced. Additionally, they had hands on experience in the cleanroom and used the photolithography process to transfer a pattern on a photomask to a silicon wafer. The pattern had a scale on it from 100 um (diameter of a human hair) to 1 um (diameter of bacteria) to allow the students to understand the scale that MFF users work at. The students also hand cleaved silicon wafers to produce dies of gold Michigan Technological University (MTU) logos as a keepsake for their time in the MFF.


The last group of five students gowned up and ready to do the photolithography process.

WP_20170719_09_04_17_Pro  WP_20170719_09_03_52_Pro

Left – The wafers after the photolithography process, Right – Gold MTU logos ready to cleave

If you are interested in what the MFF can do regarding teaching/research/K-12 contact Dr. Chito Kendrick, or


Portable Blood-Typing

Portable Blood-Typing research in a lab

Adrienne Minerick, a professor of chemical engineering and associate dean of
the College of Engineering at Michigan Tech, has spun off Microdevice Engineering, Inc.
to market her portable blood-typing technology. Together with Mary Raber,
assistant dean of academic programs in Michigan Tech’s Pavlis Honors College,
Minerick is developing a handheld point-of-care device to type ABO-Rh blood and
hematocrit (blood cell concentration) in five minutes. The device is being engineered
to be as easy to use as a blood glucose meter.

The lab on a chip devices being used by Adrienne Minerick’s cop many are being
fabricated using the Microfabrication Core Facility.

Northern Nano Lab Alliance Training Grant Program

The National Science Foundation’s National Nano Coordinated Infrastructure Program ( has set up a network of nodes to support nano-related research and education. Headquartered at the University of Minnesota, the Midwest Infrastructure Corridor (MINIC) is one of those nodes. MINIC has national reach, supporting work in Nano-bio, 2D materials, and other emerging fields. However MINIC also has a responsibility to support and enable other nano and micro fabrication laboratories in the upper Midwest. To accomplish this latter goal MINIC has created the Northern Nano Lab Alliance (NNLA)( Currently made up of eight labs, this organization meets regularly to share best practices, and develop new methods to improve lab operation.

MINIC is pleased to announce a new Training Grant Program to members of the Northern Nano Lab Alliance. This program is intended to train researchers and provide low-cost access to tools that are not available at their home labs. This may be used to enable various research projects or to provide participants with desirable skills. The basic rules are laid out as follows:

MINIC will provide program participants tool access at 50% of the current academic rate ( This subsidy is limited to $1500 per year per participant. Participants are encouraged to carry out the processing work during a visit to maximize the training experience. Where this is impractical, remote training will be available on a limited set of tools. Contact the NNLA coordinator ( for a current list.