Introduction to CMNT
The scientific and economic importance of nanotechnology continuous to grow at a fast pace. The prevalent silicon based integrated circuits technology has diversified out of pure electronics and become a key enabling technology for silicon based integrated optics (silicon photonics), micro- and nano-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS and NEMS) as well as lab-on-a-chip applications. Merging of these functionalities makes the silicon based material system a rich and versatile platform for the development of microsystems and the exploration of devices and physical properties at the nanoscale. Introduction of novel materials such as graphene and other 2D materials, novel transistor concepts and unconventional computing schemes such as quantum computing pave the way towards breaking down the limitations of current technology.
In order to allow access to a state-of-the-art research facility, to enable quick implementation of ideas in a highly competitive and dynamical research environment and to maintain a highly developed knowledge base, several research units within the Department of Physics and the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology at RWTH Aachen University have agreed to set up a shared user facility, the Central Laboratory for Micro- and Nanotechnology (CMNT), that will be open to new members either from RWTH Aachen University or external users from academia or industry.
Currently, CMNT is distributed over several labs in multiple institutes. The main CMNT lab (CMNT - Module 1) provides a clean-room of 509 m2 with a maximum class 5 of particulate air cleanliness (as per DIN EN ISO 14644-1) sourrounded by a grey-room of 545 m2. In the near future the other labs of the facility will be concentrated in a new building (CMNT - Module 2). Module 2 will be spatially connected to Module 1 and will provide an additional clean-room of 625 m2 (also with a maximum class 5 of particulate air cleanliness) and a grey-room of 400 m2. CMNT will then serve as the core micro-/nanotechnology facility at RWTH Aachen University.