Facility Profile: Pritzker Nanofabrication
The University of Chicago’s Pritzker Nanofabrication Facility, completed in 2015, has an ISO Class 5 cleanroom which special- izes in advanced lithographic processing of
hard and soft materials. Its cleanroom components
are part of the nearly unlimited range of scale and
focus in research space found within the University
of Chicago’s Eckhardt Research Center (ERC). The
Pritzker facility hosts a 13,000 sf, Class 100 clean-
room. It was envisioned to serve as a core facility
with highly specialized tools to enable chemists,
engineers, and physical scientists to solve some of
the world’s most pressing challenges at the molec-
The cleanroom was originally designed for a
generic “straw man” program by Abbie Gregg Inc.,
which worked with HOK to obtain approvals for
the facility. Jacobs Engineering was selected as the
final designer of the cleanroom build-out.
The designers sought to create a high-perfor-mance, vibration-free space for the cleanroom,
imaging area, and other high performance laboratories on a tight urban site next to high-traffic
streets. Working with Colin Gordon and Abbie
Gregg Inc., HOK determined that these spaces
must be located well away from the street traffic.
This resulted in the creation of two deep basement
levels that extend beyond the building to the west
under the landscaped quadrangle to achieve the
area requirements. The cleanroom and imaging
areas are in the area on each basement level that is
furthest from the street.
Electromagnetic interference was also mitigated
using epoxy-coated reinforcing bars, tested and
used for their ability to conduct electric current, in
foundations. In addition, moving metal elements
such as steel doors were eliminated.
The cleanroom offers a unique view corridor,
with large expanses of glass, which enables visitors
to easily observe the cleanroom scientists in action
while also visually connecting the cleanroom users
to building activity.
The Pritzker Nanofabrication Facility has
partnered with Northwestern University in the
NSF-supported Soft and Hybrid Nanotechnology
Experimental (SHyNE) resource. It is open to all
properly trained users through a fee for use structure.
Equipment includes advanced electron beam
lithography systems; I-line optical stepper; direct
write lithograpy capable of handling piece parts
to 150 mm wafers; physical vapor deposition
tools including sputtering systems, electron beam
evaporators, and a thermal evaporator; plasma
The University of
Eckhardt Research Center.
All images: HOK