Skip to main content

Argonne Cleanroom

The Argonne Cleanroom adds another critical resource at Argonne for addressing Department of Energy (DOE) and other research priorities for the nanoscience and nanotechnology community.

The Argonne Cleanroom (ACR) shares a common infrastructure with a cleanroom managed by the Center for Nanoscale Materials (CNM). The CNM, a U.S. DOE Nanoscale Science Research Center operated by Argonne’s Nanoscience and Technology division (NST), is a national user facility providing critical scientific knowledge, fabrication, and characterization resources for the nanoscience and nanotechnology community. Together, the ACR and CNM cleanrooms provide Argonne with critical resources to address pressing research priorities within the DOE Office of Science.

Virtual 360° tour of the CNM cleanroom

The CNM cleanroom features unique, state-of-the-art toolsets for the creation of devices at the nanoscale. Scientists from around the world use fabrication tools and other capabilities in the cleanroom to invent new technologies and explore the evolution of the universe.



The unique fabrication capabilities and instrumentation within the ACR are available at no cost to all interested users via the CNM peer-reviewed user proposal process. Argonne employees who wish to use only ACR instruments can do so via a separate and less formal application process within NST. Argonne employees who require capabilities spanning both the ACR and CNM facilities in order to complete a project need to submit a CNM user proposal. Links to further information on access to these facilities are provided below, followed by a description of the ACR capabilities.


Dicing Saw

Our ADT 7122 dicing saw is a high-precision cutting instrument for cutting silicon, glass, quartz, YIG, GGG, STO, SiC, and sapphire. The saw has the following features: a 2-in., 2.4-kW spindle; an 8-in. chuck such that the maximum size is a 200-mm wafer; y-axis resolution of 0.2 µm; index accuracy of 1 µm; z-axis accuracy of 2 µm; and repeatability of 1 µm.

Stress Gauge

Our K-Space Stress Gauge is an absolute reflectance measurement system. Based on the proven technology of the standard in situ kSA MOS system, it simultaneously measures the sample curvature in two orthogonal directions by means of a two-dimensional laser array. It performs high-resolution scanning of semiconductor wafers, optical mirrors, lenses, or practically any polished surface. The scanning provides uniform spatial scan resolution over the entire wafer/sample surface. Scans are programmable for line scans, selected area maps, and full area maps and are perfect for circular, square, or patterned samples. The stress gauge also provides quantitative film stress analysis by first scanning the sample and then re-scanning it post-process.

Surface Profiler (3D)

Our KLA Tencor P Surface Profiler is capable of addressing a wide range of measurements: film step heights, etched trench depth, surface roughness and waviness, surface curvature and form, dimensions and surface texture, and flatness or curvature. It can be used for profile measurements of resist and soft films as well as 3D imaging of various surfaces. The precision scan stage design enables high-quality scans over a 6-in. sample stage area with up to 150-mm scan length and 1-mm thickness range. A step-height repeatability of 6 Å or 0.1% (1σ), a noise floor below 1 nm (rms) as measured on the scan stage, and a sub-Angstrom resolution capacitance sensor translate into the most repeatable and sensitive measurements of ultra-thin film step height, roughness/waviness, and curvature. 


Our Jackson-Hirsh medium laminator with 10-in. throat (CARD/GUARD model 6300) is suitable for laminating tags, cards, and badges, plus any other paper as large as 8.5 x 14 in. The instrument is used to laminate DuPont MX5020 film onto silicon wafers. 

Laser Scanning Digital Microscope 

Our Olympus LEXT OLS4100 is a laser confocal microscope that can take high-resolution 3D images by acquiring successive images of the sample between two heights. It then recombines the laser acquired images and the color images to produce a 3D projection that can be measured. It can determine dimensions, roughness, area, volumes, etc. Its specially developed lenses produce high quality images of the sample. The z-axis resolution is 10 nm, and the x-y resolution is 120 nm.

Optical Microscope

Our Olympus MX63 microscope is equipped with a 100x objective to provide super-high resolution of micron features in reflection and transmission modes.

Deep Reactive Ion Silicon Etcher (DRIE)

Our DRIE III system (PlasmaTherm VersaLine) is used for Si deep etching. The system provides profile control and side-wall smoothness while utilizing an award-winning fast process control. Outstanding flexibility and process latitude are offered as well as the highest selectivity to mask material. The system offers profile control with parameter morphing, smooth side walls with short process step times (with fast gas switching, fast and stable pressure control, and solid-state RF tuning), notch-less silicon-on-insulator (SOI) etching (with innovative RF bias waveform control and patented endpoint algorithm techniques), aspect-ratio-dependent etching reduction, process stability (temperature-stabilized inductively coupled plasma), integrated multifunctional endpoint capability with optical emission spectroscopy using EndpointWorks, high aspect ratios, smooth sidewalls, high uniformity, high selectivity, notchless SOI, profile control, and optimized etch rates. It can handle full 150-mm wafers down to small samples (5 x 5 mm) using a 150-mm carrier wafer.