Nanotechnology: Considerations for Facility Design

By John Weaver

Purdue University

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The growing area of study broadly termed nanotechnology provides a new set of challenges to the facility designer. While evolutionary changes in the quality of clean spaces occur, it is the collaborative nature of this field that requires revolutionary changes in facility design. The main challenge is to accommodate areas of a facility with quite different technological needs, and to design and locate them such that clashes in technology are avoided. The Birck Nanotechnology Center at Purdue University is a recent facility that was designed and constructed to accommodate the diverse needs of nanotechnology research, and is currently in full operation. This case study discusses the decision points in the design of a nanotechnology research facility and their effect on the implementation of this facility. Of particular interest is the conjoining of a semiconductor/MEMS nanofabrication cleanroom with a pharmaceutical-style biocleanroom.

NOTE: This seminar is also the keynote address at the Controlled Environment Testing Association annual meeting.


John Weaver is the Facility Manager of the Birck Nanotechnology Center at Purdue University, and was instrumental in the design, construction, and implementation of this facility. He draws on 34 years of experience in the semiconductor industry with RCA Corporation, Hughes Aircraft Company, and recently retiring from Delphi Corporation as Manager of Contamination Control. His experience includes process development and support, device development, and processing facilities development and operation. He has published numerous papers in both process development and contamination control, has two patents, authored a book and a book chapter, and taught many short-courses on cleanrooms and contamination-control subjects. He is the recipient of the Willis J. Whitfield Award for contributions to the field of contamination control, a Senior Member of the IEST, Vice-Chair of the SPC on nanotechnology, and a Technical Editor of the Journal of the IEST. He is also a Principal Member of the NFPA 318 committee that writes fire standards for cleanrooms.

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Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  • John Weaver (2007), "Nanotechnology: Considerations for Facility Design,"

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Birck Nanotechnology Center, Room 1001