Well that's it. That's all she wrote. There is no more to 2020. Let's take a quick minute to see where it has left NANOTECH. What did we do, what didn't we do?
Vacuum Science Workshop (VSW). The Center started a series of activities aimed at improving tech qualification in vacuum science as well as access to leading edge lithography and thin film, capabilities. VSW was the result. It provides evaporators, etchers/ashers, deposition tools in configurations that are ideal for the flexible research-lab environment.
Rebuilds and repairs this year include nearly all major instruments including the VT-UHV STM, JEOL SPM5200, and the PHI XPS/Auger system. The JEOL 6330F is being upgraded for analytical work (all components are now in).
Big changes happened to the NANOTECH cleanroom. New monitoring equipment has been installed to maintain ISO 6 (class 1000) status, and a suite of lithography equipment has been added (or is presently expected). These capabilities will now include basic lithographic submicron line widths, packaging capabilities and mask writing. So the cleanroom can now handle real Si lithography and allows for a wide variety of integrated circuits, nanofluidics, and organic/inorganic integrations to be undertaken. We anticipate a focus on improving overall line width, mask resolution, and masking mechanisms as need arises. However, the clear and first goals of this thrust is that of making Quantum Circuits accessible to the QC and Quantum Information groups.
Installation of the 2010F with full upgrades and analysis capabilities and further plans to add aberration correction... Enough Said! The addition of these imaging capabilities together with the upgrades and modernizations of this microscope has brought a new dimension of materials characterization to WFU. When coupled with the other imaging and analysis capabilities, WFU can now provide competitive fuel spectrum infrastructural resources that are in line with other top ranked research universities.
For service, the Center has signed an agreement with a third party for maintenance and management of the site.
The Center is implementing a new governance structure. Specifically the Center will have two boards, one composed of users of the facilities and invited by current standing members of that board. The other is an executive board to help with disciplinary issues, financing, etc. This one is composed of the VP for research, chair of the director's department (in this case physics), and the director. External review committees, conference committees, and governance committees of any sort will now be ad hoc, stand for one year only, and be drawn from submissions by the members of these two boards. It is the director's responsibility to initiate such calls for service, establish recharge centers within NANOTECH, report to the campus at large through newsletters etc. and report to the board members. This administrative structure is quite similar to the previous setup, but does streamline a few things and adds clarity to committee rights and duties.
Professor Williams establishes a scintillation lab at NANOTECH. Prof. Williams (Dept. of Physics) has moved his fast spectroscopy setup into the optics lab at NANOTECH. Along with Prof. William's usual research, his team working together with Prof. Carroll's group has begun a program investigating a wide range of perovskites as scintillators. The collaboration has already produced several papers. Most importantly, their recent work has laid down specific conditions under which such materials might be expected to perform as scintillators. To learn more: https://pubs.acs.org/doi/full/10.1021/acsnano.0c02529
Except for some changes in the group lab, modifications to other systems here and there, this is the big news that dominated 2020 for NANOTECH. Let's hope for a even more productive 2021.