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shaoning luWhat technical expertise do you offer?
I’m helping NUFAB users on wet etch and dry etch tools, thin film deposition tools (sputter and PECVD) and one atomic force microscopy in NUFAB. My assistance to users’ research is mostly three fold: help users with the equipment principle and operation so that they could better utilize full capacities of the machine; process development when users have no clue where to start or have problems; and repair the equipment when needed.

How do you facilitate research collaboration?
NUFAB has users from a variety of fields, almost every engineering department from McCormick school, a few from Weinberg school, like chemistry, physics and Feinberg medical school. The work they bring has a wide range from implantable or wearable medical devices, quantum electronics, fuel cells, optoelectronics, etc.

They have different questions and need for help to realize their work. Most of the cases, I’m help them within how to realize the work they want, and how to solve the process problem. If the users feel fabricating a sample it is way out of their expertise, we may form a collaboration, taking care different phase of a process development for their research. Occasionally, if we don't have the resources necessary, I also may connect users or PIs in different field by knowing they might be complementary to each other, e.g. connecting a simulation professor/his post doctor to a chemistry professor.

What inspired you to work in this field?
I started my journey in nanotechnology field by researching mechanics of one dimensional novel materials, like nanotubes and nanofibers years ago. To test those tiny almost nonvisible unit material, I had to first develop and make the tools, which used a lot of semiconductor manufacturing techniques, and they’re what we have in NUFAB cleanroom now. I later worked in manufacturing process and technique development in IC industry, which is now moving toward 5nm technology. Being years in this field, I had a growing understanding and interest in the evolving science and engineering, and I like to share and help the students and researchers.

What are the everyday practical applications of your research/work?
My work typically consists of three parts, training the users, help them develop and troubleshoot their process, and maintain and fix our equipment to keep them at the quality running status.

How does what you’re doing make a difference to non-scientists?
At NUFAB, I usually have a lot of users who are device level fabrication people, and they are on the application ends. However, to realize their design, it takes collaboration and expertise that I can offer.

What excites you most about the future of nanotechnology?
The field is getting more and more challenging when to put into real application and manufacturing. I’m excited to see how smart we humans are to get over the hurdles and push technology forward.