Cleanroom Protocol

Standard Operating Procedure (SOP)


The UCR Nanofabrication Cleanroom is available to qualified users 24 hours/day, 365 days/year (accessible with a key card). Staff is normally available 8am . 5pm, Monday . Friday; all equipment is available to users with the following exceptions:

  • CVD tube Furnace available only with staff present.
  • Use of Chemical wet benches requires two users qualified on the wet bench to be present in lab. (Buddy System).

The NanoFab is a class 100/1000 environment and in order to maintain the safety of the facility and integrity of the work space, the following SOP should be followed at all times:

  • Operational Rules
    • Users are forbidden to operate or attempt to operate any equipment for which they have not received full training and qualification by the cleanroom staff or a qualified super-user.
    • Users should not attempt to repair, fix, alter or modify any equipment without staff approval; if a problem occurs with a piece of equipment, the event should be logged and the staff notified immediately.
    • Users should not wander around the cleanroom disturbing experiments or enter the service chase areas for any reason without permission of lab staff.
    • For use of chemical wet benches, a minimum of two people are required inside the lab at all times.
    • If a user violates these policies, lab privileges may be revoked; remember, all actions within the cleanroom envelope are recorded on video.
  • Contamination Sources
    • The human body is the main source of contamination in a clean room. Humans are constantly shedding hair and dandruff, often spray saliva when talking and have a mixture of sweat and oils on their skin. Hair, dandruff and skin oils can lead to defects in masks. Sodium and potassium in aqueous body fluids are semiconductor poisons, which in small concentrations can drastically alter the conductivity of doped silicon. Minute traces of gold, which may rub off jewelry even in casual handling, can also poison semiconductors.
    • Other sources of cleanroom contamination are ordinary paper, cardboard, pencils, dirt off the floor and dust in the air.
  • Control Measures
    • The NanoFab provides caps, coveralls, shoe covers, gloves and safety glasses to lab users. Once cover gear tears it generates particles so change worn items. You will be instructed in putting on cover gear at the start of the lab tour and orientation.
    • The NanoFab provides surgical gloves (nitrile, tan colored) to lab users. These gloves are available in bins located by the door in the gowning room. You must wear them at all times in the lab for the protection of lab surfaces from contamination of oils and salts on your hands. Keep your gloves clean; do not touch your face with them. If you do, change your gloves.
      • NOTE: CVD furnace area requires double gloves. Replace outside pair anytime they are contaminated by any surface.
    • Lab users must use notebooks with plastic covers only, No cardboard! Store your notebook in a plastic bag when you take it out of the NanoFab. You may also use ballpoint pens, lap top computers and personal digital assistants inside the NanoFab. Cardboard and pencils are not allowed.
  • Room Entry

    The hallway located just outside the cleanroom space is NOT considered a clean area and this should be remembered at all times. There is a tacky mat on the floor in front of the entry door that must be used to minimize the introduction of foot-borne particles.

    To avoid an unwanted drop in room pressure:
    NEVER open two doors into the gowning room at the same time.

  • Access Cards

    In order to enter the cleanroom you must enter through the gowning room. The access card reader on the wall has one green power indicator light that should be on at all times. Swipe your access card until the second green turns on and the door latch opens. This will begin timing your visit for accounting purposes. Once you enter the gowning area, verify that the door closed behind you.

    When leaving the cleanroom, wait until the door closes behind you then swipe your access card again. When the second green light appears, you have successfully swiped out and stopped the timing for your visit.

    If the second light does not appear or you are unsure, inform staff immediately so the incident can be reviewed for proper charging.

  • Restrictions


    • Sandals, hi-heels or bare feet are not permitted in the cleanroom.
    • Radios and headphones are not allowed in the cleanroom.
    • Safety glasses and face shields are provided. Safety glasses must be worn at all times at benches and face shields whenever pouring a chemical.
    • A coat rack is provided for external garments and bags

    Telephone Policy
    Lab telephones are restricted to local area (951) outgoing calls. Cell phone usage is permitted in the outside hallway only. Cell phones must not be used in cleanroom when operating equipment. Lab members are reminded to be courteous to other members when using a cell phone

  • Nanofab Ettiquitte

    Mutual consideration among fellow lab users is essential to the efficient operation of the lab. It will also make life more pleasant for all involved. Please think about how you would like other members to deal with you when you are working in a shared space.

    Leave your work area the way you would like to see it when you come in:

    • No acid on sink tops, no unlabeled beakers. Place a chemical ID tag with chemical and your phone number even if you leave briefly
    • No boxes and other items cluttering the work surfaces
    • Report equipment problems immediately to staff
    • No used gloves, cleanroom wipes or glass slides lying around
    • Clean photoresist spinner chucks when finished spinning
    • No empty bottles lying around. Rinse 3 times and place in equipment chase when empty. Return carriers to chase
    • No partially full chemical bottles on the floor. Must be stored in bins under bench
    • No multiple open bottles of the same chemical. Use what is available before getting more. If you suspect contamination, mark the bottle and report it to staff
    • Return chemicals from sinks to their cabinets
    • Do not abandon failed experiments. They can be traced and may lead to your suspension or expulsion from the NanoFab
  • Gowning Area

    Due to the modest size of the cleanroom gowning area:

    • Directly outside the gowning room, there is a gown/cap storage unit. Each cleanroom user has been assigned a cubby hole inside the cabinet. Inside the cubby hole with your name on it, you will find a ziploc plastic bag to store your cleanroom Smock and Hat ONLY. When finished in the cleanroom, roll your smock up tightly with your cap inside and ziploc it into the bag. This will help minimize contamination transfer
    • NEVER open the ziploc bag outside the gowning room. There is a cubby hole labeled "Smock Storage Bags" inside the gowning room to store the bags once inside.
    • If your smock becomes torn or tattered, there are new smocks available inside the gowning room. Please notify staff if supply becomes low.
    • After each use, place all shoe covers in bottom row of cabinet INSIDE gowning room labeled "Used Shoe Covers".
    • Safety glasses and gloves (non Acid) may be stored in your personal cubby hole.
    • The hangars in the gowning room are reserved for Staff, SuperUsers and Visitors. If you need to leave the room and will return shortly, (bathroom break, refreshment, etc.) then you may use any available hangar space for your smock and cap.