BU Photonics Center Shared Facilities

The Boston University Photonics Center (BUPC) is a 235,000 square foot facility with ten floors that house more than twenty-five faculty research laboratories, three shared laboratories and a business incubator.  The BUPC also has instructional and seminar facilities specifically designed for photonics research and education.

The building’s structural steel frame is built as a composite floor system that consists of a reinforced concrete slab on galvanized metal deck sitting on sand and gravel.  The bracing system for lateral forces consists of moment frames along the exterior wall in the east-west axis and diagonal or eccentric north-south bracing.  The floor system takes into consideration both externally and internally generated vibration sources to limit vibration characteristics as required for laboratory operations.

The BUPC houses three core-shared facilities that are utilized by faculty, students, and incubator companies and include:

  • Optoelectronic Processing Facility (OPF)
    Within its 2500 square feet, this multi-user facility contains state-of-the-art equipment for semiconductor and optoelectronic fabrication from bare chip to fully populated components. The facility includes: both Class 100 and 1000 cleanrooms and equipment facilitating photolithography, wet chemical processing, thin film depositions, plasma etching and cleaning, thermal oxidation, thermal annealing and electrical characterization.

    The Class 100 cleanroom is used as a photolithography room. A Headway Research photoresist spinner with a programmable controller resides alongside the flat top wet bench for soft bakes, developing, and photoresist stripping/wafer cleaning. This system complements the Suss Microtech Delta 80 photoresist spinner used for large wafers and mask blanks. This cleanroom also features Suss Microtech MJB3 and MA6 exposure tools for UV exposure of photoresist using masks purchased from vendors or fabricated on the Heidelberg direct write system.

    Wafers from the photolithography cleanroom are processed in the Class 1000 cleanroom.  This processing includes cleaning, etching, deposition, and characterization. A Tencor surface profilometer is used to measure the step height of features that they make on wafers. The high-powered microscope allows users to capture still or video images from the sample.  A spectroscopic ellipsometer allows for accurate index of refraction measurements.

  • Integrated Optics Laboratory (IOL)
    This multi-user facility features a Class 100 cleanroom and a standard laboratory space for bonding and spectroscopic analysis of components. In the Class 100 cleanroom, a Suss Microtech FC-150, flip chip bonder is used to seal and create eutectic bonds through either a thermocompression process or soldering. The standard laboratory space includes a soft lithography area and spectroscopic tools. The soft lithography station uses PDMS to make replicas from masters created through photolithography or e-beam writing. The Bruker FTIR along with the Hyperion microscope allows users to measure materials to determine the light transparency or absorption at a specific wavelength. The Varian Cary 5000 UV-VIS-NIR spectrometer covers wavelength ranges from 175 – 3300 nm.

  • The Precision Measurement Laboratory
    This multi-user facility allows for the measurement of features and surface morphology. The laboratory features a JEOL SEM with imaging, Cathode Luminescence, and Energy Dispersive Spectrometer (EDS). EDS allows for validation of elemental composition and surface contaminants while the Cathode Luminescence, allows for the detection of energy released in the visible spectrum from electrons in an atom. The Veeco Atomic Force Microscope and Pico-Force System allow the surface profiles in three-dimensional space to be acquired and measured. The Zeiss Field Emission Scanning Electron Microscope (FESEM) allows polymers and plastics to be viewed without coatings or destructive analysis, and also allows for non-conductive samples to be viewed without gold coating the samples. The beam blanker added to the Zeiss FESEM allows for e-beam writing of nano-scale structures. The ZYGO NewView 6300 with dynamic MEM’s capability allows testing under controlled temperature and the viewing and measurement in-situ.

In addition to these shared facilities, approximately 100,000 square feet is devoted to faculty research spaces. The business incubator provides 23,000 sq. ft. of flexible space that can be configured to house up to 14 photonics start-up companies.

The BUPC is located in the midst of one of the world’s largest concentration of biological and biomedical research centers. BUPC faculty and staff have developed extensive networks connecting faculty technology development and end-users in the greater Boston life sciences community. BUPC faculty has access to major shared laboratory facilities at the BU Life Sciences Building, BU Medical School and the National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratory (BSL4 facility).