Nano and Microfabrication Core

MBI’s Microfabrication Core was formed to support the microfabrication needs of MBI PIs, collaborators, research fellows and graduate students through direct fabrication or recommendation of  suitable solutions.

Microfabrication Core helps with the design and fabrication of innovative devices to further our understanding of cells.

Our process starts with a discussion with PIs or students about their design. We help them draw the lay-out of the photo-mask (when applicable) using AutoCAD/L-edit software, and according to the fabrication process requested we write or outsource the mask, and use it for photo-lithography.

Pattern transfer to make a hard silicon mold is done using dry etching (RIE/ICP silicon or silicon oxide etching) process. Sometimes the photo-resist (SU8 or AZ) based mold is used as it is. Finally the produced wafer is released after characterization. If necessary the testing of the mold is done using PDMS molding,

Other than standard UV-lithography, we also develop and investigate new fabrication techniques and optimize processes for various novel applications in mechanobiology and microscopy. Nano Imprinting Lithography (NIL) and wet anisotropic etching are two examples of alternative techniques we exploit.

Facilities

We have following facilities to support our work:

In-house (Shared with NUS-NNI)

A class 10K cleanroom (T-Lab Level 11) with the following equipment:

• Heidelberg DWL66 fs, laser writer for mask writing, with gray scale and direct writing capabilities;

• MJB4 SUSS MicroTec Mask aligner  with Deep UV option;

• CEE Spin coater CEE;

• Hot plates for photo resist baking;

• CaliTech CT-605 Spin rinser/dryer;

• AJA e-gun and thermal evaporator;

• Bruker Dektat Contact Profiler;

• Optical microscope (Olympus);

• JEOL JSM 6010LV SEM

In-house (Independent)

As an independent facility, we maintain mask drawing tools and a separate fabrication room for PDMS molding. All these facilities are located on T-Lab Level 9. Specifically, we have: Photomask drawing tools (L-edit and AutoCAD); PDMS molding station (spin coater, oven, degasser and weighing scale); UV lamp exposure systems and oxygen plasma setup.

Collaborative Facility

The MBI Nano and Microfabrication Core works in collaboration with the Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE-ASTAR) to create nano/sub-micron fabrication and multi-architecture chips, as well as the Nanyang Technological University for silicon etching (deep reactive ion etching).

Outsourcing

We also outsource some specialized processes to ASTAR institutes like Institute of Microelectronics (IME), Data Storage Institute (DSI) and independent manufacturers.

MBI cleanroom

MBI shares a 10k cleanroom with NANOCORE at T-Lab – Level 11 for basic microfabrication processes.

Projects

The Nano and Microfabrication Core helps with the design and fabrication of innovative devices to further our biological understanding of the cell. Our focus lies, but not limited to, topological features; geometrical stamps for protein stamping; pillars for mechanical sensing, as well as microfluidic devices for controlled cell experiments.

A short list of ongoing projects at MBI comprises:

• Micro/nano pillars

• Geometrical patterns for protein stamping (PDMS stamping; UV stamping)

• Microwells

• Micro fluidic devices

• Nano-imprinting

• Multi architecture chip (MARC)

• Surface topography (Diffuser lithography; Thermal reflow; Gray scale lithography)