The University of Iowa


Optical Science and
Technology Center

University of Iowa Microfabrication Facility

The University of Iowa Microfabrication Facility (UIMF), in the Optical Science and Technology Center (OSTC) is an interdisciplinary central research facility and service center that provides access, hands-on training on state-of-the-art equipment and education opportunities in the areas of micro and nanofabrication, metrology and device characterization. It is an open-research facility serving the academic, industrial and governmental researchers across campus and beyond. Key research areas enabled by this facility include optics, nanotechnology, sensors, micro- and nano-electronics, plasmonics, photovoltaics, spintronics, high-resolution spectroscopy, bio-medical.

Purpose of the facility:

The purpose of the UIMF is many-fold:

  • To provide shared experimental capabilities with advanced equipment, skilled personnel and effective training.
  • To train and support graduate and undergraduate research in the applications of micro- and nano-fabrication.
  • To promote and enable high quality research using a suite of micro- and nano-fabrication tools.
  • To advance fundamental and technical knowledge in the area of micro- and and nano-fabrication technologies.
  • To promote multidisciplinary research and training through the usage of micro- and nano-fabrication tools.

The facility also aspires to offer a common platform for the convergence of multiple scientific and engineering disciplines and acts as a facilitator for collaborative research with various research groups within the University of Iowa and external strategic partners.


Description of the UIMF

The UIMF facility consists of multiple adjacent labs where each lab is dedicated to specific process group. The most recent lab is an ISO 5 (Class 100) cleanroom (IATL 174) that houses state-of-the-art tools on photo-lithography, thin-film deposition, reactive ion etching and wet-bench for sample processing. The IATL 170 is dedicated for the post-processing of sample that also includes wet-etch benches, plasma cleaner, mechanical polisher and vacuum ovens. It also include a metrology section where a 3D Optical profiler, Ellipsometer and various optical microscopes are located. Plans to reconfigure IATL 172 is underway where an ISO 5 cleanroom will house a Direct-write Electron Beam Nanolithography system which is capable of defining patterns at the nano-scale. The expansion of the UIMF will deliver a total lab space approximately 3,000 sqft. The UIMF facility, one-of-its-kind in Iowa stands to offer unique and unparalleled capabilities for micro- and nano-scale device fabrication for a wide range of scientific and technological applications, spanning areas from electronics, optics, bio-medical to energy harvesting technologies.


The facility was initially known as the Microfabrication facility (MFF) that was created from the research efforts and collaboration of several researchers and members in the OSTC. Most of the tools were located in IATL 170 and some of the main capabilities were Ion Milling, scanning electron microscope with lithography capability, thin-film deposition tools and various metrology tools. Most of the tools were damaged in the 2008 flood and over the last 5 years most of them are slowly being replaced. In 2012, the facility went through a major expansion to include an ISO 5 cleanroom to house most of the new tools acquired and the facility was also renamed as the University of Iowa Microfabrication Facility (UIMF) since it is the only central facility at UI to offer these capabilities. The expansion of the UIMF has been made possible due to financial support from the CLAS, OVPR and COE.