All posts by cekendri

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.

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.


M and M BuildingWelcome to the new microfabrication core facility website, it has been a long time coming and hopefully it will help answer most questions you have about the microfabrication core facilities capabilities, access, and policies. This website would have not been possible with out the hard work by Sue Hill.

If you would like a link posted to your personnel website or research group please let me know and I can have you added to the Networking section. This is not only to highlight our users, but to also allow for past, present, and future users to find collaborators at Michigan Technological University.