Cleanroom Showcase: A Week In A Bunny Suit

As architects, we need to understand how people will use the spaces we design. When it comes to designing a leading-edge research facility like MIT.nano, the better we can understand the research, the better we can design for it.

At the invitation of Vicky Diadiuk and the Microsystems Technology Laboratories (MTL), I had the opportunity to enroll in MIT course 6.152J Micro Nano Process Technologies. This week long course is normally offered to MIT students who will be using the MTL cleanroom for their upcoming research.

From bioengineering to light scattering and photonics, my classmates were involved in a wide variety of research fields. Some will be using the cleanroom equipment to create microfluidic devices to study the biomechanics of red blood cells, others will be fabricating nanoscale components for novel electronic devices.

For me, as someone with an architecture background, to actually use the process tools and to fabricate my own nanoscale devices was an incredible learning experience. An atmospheric diffusion furnace now means more to me than just a rectangle on my equipment plans. Piranha solution is now more than just a strategy for avoiding omnivorous fish.

What I learned from my week in a bunny suit had a direct impact on our ongoing design work for the new MIT.nano facility. Lessons learned from this hands-on experience will hopefully translate into a well-informed cleanroom design in tune with researchers’ needs.

I owe many thanks to Vicky Diadiuk and Scott Poesse at the MIT MTL for encouraging this unique experience and to my colleagues at Wilson Architects for their sponsorship and support.

Watch the first video, an introduction to MOSCAP device fabrication!

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