KU Affairs

Masdar Institute Gearing Up to Commission Region’s First Cleanroom Lab by This Year-End

July 10, 2012

Faculty and Students Receive Training on Nanotechnology and Cleanroom Fundamentals at UNAM in Turkey

Abu Dhabi-UAE: 10 July, 2012 – Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, an independent, research-driven graduate-level university focused on advanced energy and sustainable technologies, today announced it is gearing up to begin operations at the region’s first cleanroom laboratory by the end of this year.

As part of the preparations, three faculty members and four students from Masdar Institute participated in the Second International Workshop on ‘Cleanroom Training for Critical and Sustainable Technologies’ program that was held from 25 June-8 July in Ankara, Turkey.

Hosted by Ulusal Nanoteknoloji Araştırma Merkezi (UNAM – National Nanotechnology Research Center), the program was supported by the Turkish Ministry of Science, Industry and Technology, Turkish International Cooperation & Coordination Agency (TIKA), Turkish Ministry of Development, and  Statistical, and the Economic and Social Research and Training Centre for Islamic Countries (SESRIC).

A collaborative initiative of United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and UNAM, the workshop focused on the nanotechnology application areas and the participants were trained on the fundamentals of cleanroom use and safety; micro/nano-scale process design and optimization as well as project and process-specific equipment training.

Dr. Irfan Saadat, Dr Hasan M. Nayfeh, and Dr Marcus Dahlem, Professors of Microsystems Engineering program at Masdar Institute, with Omar Alnemer, Aamna Alshehhi, and Helmy Ally, students of Microsystems Engineering as well as Farsad Chowdhury, student of Materials Science and Engineering, participated in the workshop in Turkey.

Dr Fred Moavenzadeh, President, Masdar Institute, said: “Part of our mandate is to initiate measures that will pave way for the innovations in advanced technology and take the UAE to its next phase of growth as directed by the country’s leadership. The preparations for the region’s first cleanroom facility at Masdar Institute bear testimony to our commitment to contribute to knowledge building in high-technology areas. We believe the Turkey workshop offered adequate tips to the faculty and students on conducting cleanroom experiments.”

Dr. Irfan Saadat said: “The field of nanotechnology is rapidly evolving in the UAE as the country is launching itself into high-technology sectors. Participating in global workshops including the one at UNAM in Turkey helps us to expand our understanding of nanotechnology and operations inside a cleanroom laboratory. The high-technology facilities at UNAM provided us with additional insights in Microsystems Engineering and we hope this knowledge will guide us in conducting research projects at Masdar Institute.”

Dr Hasan M. Nayfeh said: “The workshop at UNAM in Turkey proved beneficial prior to commissioning the first cleanroom laboratory at the Masdar Institute. We have purchased tools, and have hired staff that will support micro/nanoscale experimental research. Our plan is to have the cleanroom ready for our first wave of experiments by this year-end, in support of our research programs in microelectronics.”

The participation helped graduate students to be cleanroom-trained and move up the learning curve quickly. The training is also expected facilitate a seamless transition to process-based research. Some of the areas the faculty and students focused on at UNAM include the fundamentals of cleanroom safety, micro/nano-scale process design and optimization, and project and process specific equipment training.

Among the 40 participants of the program, TIKA and UNIDO selected 30 individuals from developing countries and transition economies, while 10 of them came from Turkey.

The seven-storied UNAM facility has 62 laboratory areas including a 400-sqare meter state-of-the-art Class-100 and Class-1000 cleanroom facility. UNAM cleanroom facility (UCF) is hosting highly advanced micro and nano-fabrication equipment including thin film deposition systems, plasma etching tools, high-temperature furnaces, lithography equipment, post-processing tools, and electrical/optical characterization facilities.

Some of the research areas the UCF facility can undertake include micro/nano-scale electronic and opto-electronic devices, MEMS/NEMS devices, micro/nano-fluidic lab-on-a-chip (LoC) systems, chemical and biological sensors, novel photovoltaic materials and devices, flexible/transparent electronics, magnetic materials and spintronic devices.

Established as an on-going collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Masdar Institute integrates theory and practice to incubate a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, working to develop the critical thinkers and leaders of tomorrow.  With its world-class faculty and top-tier students, the Institute is committed to finding solutions to the challenges of clean energy and climate change through education and research.