Nanohmics operates a 13,000 square-foot R&D, system and instrumentation engineering and prototype/low-volume manufacturing and shipping facility in Austin, Texas. Our facility is close to The University of Texas at Austin, research centers and other semiconductor and high-tech manufacturing companies in the area’s thriving technology sector.

Our laboratories house the dedicated infrastructure and capital equipment necessary for performing research and analyzing experimental work results in the following areas:

Electro-optics

The electro-optics and sensors laboratory is equipped with four full-size optical tables, including a Newport Ultra Clean Research Series with a stabilizer pneumatic vibration isolation system. A range of equipment for building and testing electro-optics and electro-mechanical systems is available, including the following:

 

  • Numerous lasers and other visible and near-infrared sources
  • High-intensity light-emitting diodes (LEDs)
  • Photomultiplier tubes
  • High-speed avalanche photodiodes
  • Various photosensors and focal-plane arrays
  • Optical/laser measurement devices
  • Opto-mechanical mounts and vibration isolation equipment
  • Mastech power supplies
  • SRS lock-in amplifiers
  • Motion control systems and stages
  • High-end test and measurement capabilities
  • Custom optical scatterometry/surface characterization instrument measuring absolute, polarization-dependent and bidirectional scattering distribution functions of surfaces for transparent/opaque substrates (BRDF and BTDF) at a range of wavelengths in the visible and IR
  • Olympus ZXX microscope with distributed video coding (DVC) image sensor
  • XX Fluorescence microscope with Luminera video collection (Image-Pro Plus)
  • Continuum Precision Nd:YAG laser
  • Coherent AVIA high-energy pulsed UV laser
  • Two JDS Uniphase Argon-ion lasers
  • Low-power gas, semiconductor, and solid-state lasers

Advanced materials and devices

The advanced materials and devices laboratory is equipped with a variety of vacuum chambers, pumps, and other equipment that can be assembled into test and growth chambers to support material growth and characterization needs.

A section of the lab includes the following:

  • Softwall Terra Universal cleanroom housing a three-head magnetron sputtering system
  • Custom roll-to-roll web coater
  • Articulating multi-source sputter deposition system designed and built in-house for deposition of coatings on complex surfaces

Material deposition capabilities include:

  • Continuum Precision laser ablation system
  • Microwave CVD diamond reactor
  • Supersonic beam apparatus for preparing low-defect-density films and integrated nanomaterial precursors
  • CVC 601 sputter deposition tool
  • Haas SL30 turning center with a Coherent Highlight 1000F 1 kW diode laser for laser-assisted machining of ceramics and refractory metals

Additionally this laboratory includes:

  • Lindberg tube furnaces
  • Vacuum ovens
  • Buehler Ecomet V grinder polisher and ball milling for ceramic/nanomaterial processing
  • Optical characterization equipment, including an Ocean Optics UV-visible spectrometer (200-1100 nm) and StellarNet NIR spectrometer (900-2100 nm)
  • Nicolet iS10 FTIR spectrometer with ATR
  • High-magnification and stereo Nikon optical microscopes
  • Quad Group Romulus 4 Universal Mechanical Strength Tester
  • Fluke Ti32 thermal imager
  • Filmetrics thickness meter and various micromanipulator probe stations

Electronics design, layout and board fabrication/population

This laboratory includes a wide range of electronic instrumentation for device characterization from DC to RF frequencies and includes the following:

  • HP network and dynamic signal analyzers
  • Logic analyzers and oscilloscopes, including a Tektronix TDS7104 10 Gs/sec digital scope
  • Lock-in and low-noise amplifiers and analyzers with a number of SR830 DSP for extremely small signal analysis
  • Computers equipped with data acquisition and digital input/output cards
  • National Instruments’ LabVIEW control and analysis software for rapid design, implementation, and testing of breadboard systems
  • Microcontrollers and microprocessors, along with state-of-the-art software/firmware development tools (Visual Studio, Python, Xilinx ISE, Microchip MPLAB, Visual DSP)
  • In-circuit emulators for the development of miniature optical sensors and instruments

Nanomaterials, polymer/ink development and thin film

This laboratory has full wet-chemistry and biochemistry workbenches for developing molecular, polymer, and nanomaterials into functional device elements. It contains microfluidic handling and dispensing equipment for sample preparation and delivery and coupling reactive solutions with sensor and test devices, including syringe pumps, electronic valving and temperature-control devices.

It is equipped with the following basic synthesis reaction capabilities:

  • Hot plate/stirrers
  • Microcentrifugation
  • Water baths
  • Ultrasonicators
  • Vortex mixers
  • Ovens and incubators
  • Refrigerators/freezers
  • Laurell 45400B-6NPP/Lite-spin coater

The laboratory also contains:

  • Dedicated chambers for performing emulsion polymerization and other microsphere/nanoscale material synthesis
  • Gas-sampling and reagent dispensing and delivery systems
  • Vacuum Atmospheres Corp. GP-30 inert atmosphere glove box for ambient environment control and a Carver press for high-pressure, high-temperature consolidation of nanomaterials

Chemistry and biomolecular

Basic chemical and biomolecular synthesis, solution-phase reactions, coupling reactions, and coatings/dye are accommodated in our chem/biochem lab.

The lab includes:

  • Chemical fume hood for handling corrosives, acids, and other solvents, including reaction glassware for accommodate chemical transformations
  • Dedicated section for oligonucleotide microarray hybridization/analysis, simple-cell lines and antibodies, particularly for diagnostics platforms with surface-anchoring chemistries
  • Hybaid PCR Sprint thermal cycler for oligonucleotide amplification
  • Microtiter plate spectrophotometers; an Ocean optics spectrophotometer with capabilities from UV to Near-IR; a StellarNet NIR spectrometer; a Thermo Scientific-Nicolet iS10 FTIR with ATR; and a customized Agilent G2500A GeneArray fluorescence scanner for analytical characterization of nanomaterials and biological solutions

Instrumentation and device assembly

Nanohmics has dedicated engineering and development capabilities for designing, constructing, and assembling prototype instrumentation for research programs and applied development for low-volume commercial product manufacturing.

Design facilities include:

  • CAD workstations, using SolidWorks, L-Edit and AutoCAD for industrial and mechanical design
  • DesignWorks Professional 4 for schematic capture
  • Ultiboard and OrCAD Suite for printed circuit board layout
  • Pentalogix ViewMate for inspection of Gerber photomask files
  • National Instruments LabVIEW for laboratory interface control packages
  • MS Visual Studio (C++, Visual Basic) for full software application development on desktop and mobile platforms

Additionally, Nanohmics frequently works with embedded microcontrollers (MicroChip PIC, Atmel, Freescale, Si Labs) for hardware control and digital signal processors (TI, Analog Devices Blackfin) for signal and/or image processing. Other capabilities for using embedded logic range from small CPLD arrays (Lattice) to large FPGAs (Xilinx).

We have in-house machining and micromachining capabilities, including basic photolithographic and embossing, contact printing, an ENCO Jenix DSC802M end mill, presses, and saws and 3D rapid-prototype printers. Electronic printed circuit board fabrication is outsourced to a local partner with automated assembly, test, and inspection capabilities.

We regularly work with local rapid-prototype machining, SLA, SLS, and molding shops to generate custom parts/tools using CNC milling, lathing, wire EDM, surface grinding, and inspection equipment to support construction of prototype and low-volume manufacturing projects.

The prototype development laboratory operates under the principles prescribed by CE and UL certification and for ISO 9002 compliance to facilitate transfer into the manufacturing environment.

Microelectronics Research Center (MRC) at the University of Texas at Austin

Nanohmics is a member of the advanced users group at The University of Texas at Austin MRC, part of the National Nanofabrication Infrastructure Network. Nanohmics has a full-time microfabrication technician on staff at the MRC who supports R&D programs in advanced materials and devices. This relationship with MRC provides access to a complete state-of-the-art semiconductor microfabrication facility, including:

  • Full lithographic processing (EVG 600 and MA6/BA6 contact aligners)
  • Soft lithography (SU-8 patterning and elastomer casting)
  • E-beam lithography (Jeol JBX6000)
  • Nanoimprint lithography (Molecular Imprints Imprio 100)

Additional semiconductor processing capabilities include:

  • Vacuum deposition (CHA e-beam and ion-assist evaporators, MRL Industries diffusion furnaces)
  • Patterning and etching (Plasma Therm PECVD, Trion Oracle RIE, Oxford 100 ICP, March Asher, AG Associates RTA)
  • Packaging (ADT dicing saw, Wesbond 7400A Wire bonder)
  • Acid/solvent hoods, dryers, wet/spray etchers, and spinners for micro- and nano-fabrication

Analytical equipment including:

  • High-resolution scanning electron microscopes (Zeiss Neon 40)
  • Transmission electron microscopes (Tecnai G2 F20 X-twin)
  • Woollam Ellipsometer, Dektak 150 Profilometer and Veeco AFM for characterization

 

Analytical characterization

Neighboring Cerium Labs, a private spinout analytical characterization venture from Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) and SVTC international, a local semiconductor consortium group, provides the laboratory for performing more complex analytical characterizations. Its capabilities include HRSEM with EDS and other biomolecular/molecular characterization, such as IR/Raman spectroscopy, quadrupole mass spectroscopy, XPS and NMR.

Nanohmics also works with Texas State University polymer characterization laboratories, which provide a way to perform mechanical testing (hardness, elasticity constants and rheology), with access to basic extrusion/injection molding prototyping.

We routinely construct biotech instrumentation for commercial customers, including fluidic control systems, sample preparation and custom thermoelectric-cooling control systems.