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Getting Around

This section covers the administrative and general culture of accessing and navigating the labs.  

Effective and conscientious communication is essential for the health and productivity of our research community.

  1. Equipment status.  Make sure to communicate the status of a piece of equipment using the lab management system, Badger.
  2. Individuals. Specific fab or equipment questions can be addressed to the appropriate staff person. Any labmember can be contacted by their email/Badger ID.
  3. User Groups. Problems, questions or comments can be addressed to the subset of labmembers who use a specific tool or tool set, by using the appropriate Mailman list
  4. The Labmember Community.  The entire labmember community (all registered labmembers and affiliates) can be addressed using the labmembers group email. Be sure to keep  communications at a professional level and concern only matters that are of interest to this broad group. Please do not use it for non-SNF-related communications. Email lists are managed through Stanford’s mailman system.
  5. Process support.  The labmember community is

Please keep your communications respectful and relevant to the community you are addressing.  Questions about specific process recipes might be best directed to the mail list for that equipment. Announcements for technical and professional seminars and workshops are entirely appropriate for the SNF Labmembers email list.  "Free ice cream on the patio!" would welcome on the Labmembers email list, but one can imagine some topics that would probably not.  Make use of these mail lists with some consideration for the audience.


We highly recommend that you:

  1. Document.  Beyond Badger, make sure to document your work as much as possible.   Any small detail may be the difference between a functional or a non-functional structure.  Given the time normally invested in a fab run, a little extra time invested in documenting can save you (and any fellow researchers following in your footsteps) many weeks of work.  These details may be as simple as an added acid dip, or as obscure as a slightly modified recipe step in a plasma etch process.  For examples of the kind of information you might collect, refer to the process run sheets on this site.
  2. "Process Defensively."  As an educational and research enterprise, SNF can only provide best effort support for our researchers; we cannot warrant project success nor can we guarantee performance of equipment or protocols. Understanding that equipment and lab resources are shared by a broad range of researchers and researcher needs, we recommend a "defensive processing" approach, as described below.  The lab community of staff and fellow labmembers can help you -- and indeed, are the best sources of know-how for being productive in the lab.
    • Define the Process flow. Define the sequence of process steps required to achieve your structures. SNF staff are available to help USER identify and monitor key process steps which may be susceptible.
    • Identify critical steps.  Carefully analyze the sequence to identify the key steps that may make or break the success of your experiment.  A critical step may be one that is vulnerable to process or equipment variation (such as non-uniformity across a wafer, load, or load-to-load), equipment history (such as the process recipe of the previous user), or has not been characterized (such as when a specific etching profile is needed.)
    • Use protective measures. Spend a little extra effort in preparing for processing, especially before the critical steps.  For example, you may run a recommended clean cycle or an etch rate test using your specific recipe, before  committing your sample.
  3. Ask the Community.  Most of what you need to know to process is not Google-able or in the Methods section of any paper.  And it's more likely than not that someone knows how to do something you are trying to figure out.  SNF's greatest asset is its community:  students, faculty, external researchers, staff, alums. 
    • use discussion lists (see section 2.1 Communication above for the overview; see For Labmembers: Lab Communication for links)
    • attend Process Clinics, held biweekly in hybrid format (see the Labuser Guide home page for dates and connection info)
    • just have conversations with people in and around the lab - most people love to talk about their work



  1. Training and qualification. Training is equipment-specific is arranged by contacting the responsible staffer listed on the equipment pages. Technical Liaisons are available to discuss process flow and materials issues -- this is helpful in determining which pieces of equipment may be most appropriate for your needs. Information about process capabilities and materials compatibilities cab be found in the Labuser Guide.  Equipment and staff availability may limit how quickly your training request can be accommodated. Also, the amount of time it takes to become trained on a piece of equipment varies widely as it depends on the complexity of the operation and your requirements. Staff will work with your technical and scheduling needs.  Once you've demonstrated your knowledge and ability, you will be added to the "qualified users" list, which gives you privileges to enable, disable, and reserve this equipment.
  2. Enabling and disabling Tools. Each piece of equipment in the lab is interlocked to the lab management system (Badger). In order to use a tool, it must be "enabled". Only qualified users may enable  and use a particular tool. In general, if use of a tool prevents others from accessing this capability, the user must be enable for the duration of use, even if unattended.  There are exceptions, indicated in specific equipment pages for these tools.  When you are done using a tool, it must be "disabled." Make sure to check before leaving the lab for the day that your tools are disabled.  If you forget to disable, this discourages others from using this system and will also continue to incur charges.  And be a good lab citizen by reporting any problems you encounter, or shutting down equipment if it is not usable.
  3. Equipment Reservations. Labmembers can reserve equipment, subject to some restrictions.  First, you must be qualified user. Second, there are limits on reservation horizon time, with default as one week in advance. Third, there may be limits on reservation length (one example would be two-hours maximum between 8 am-5 pm weekdays). Reservation rules for each tool can be access from the Policy tab on the lab management system. In addition, make sure to observe the following equipment reservation etiquette rules:

    - Don't over-reserve. Reserve just the amount of time you realistically need.
    - Release unused reservations on the lab management system as soon as you know you will not be able to use.  This released the time so others may use.
    - Notify others of a reservation cancellation on high-demand tools.  You can use the tool email list. 
    - Do not reserve time for others.
    - 15 minute rule. If someone does not show up after 15 minutes, they lose their reservation.
    - Communicate, communicate, communicate.  Problems happen. Someone may need more time or be late to their reservation. Make every attempt to communicate your needs and respect those of others; work out differences in a professional, courteous manner.
  4. Equipment Status and Problems All lab and staff members must report process and equipment problems so that anyone can check the status of any equipment. Each tool can have one of the following equipment states:
    - Up: Green "up" arrow means the equipment is fully operational.
    - Problem: Orange "question" mark means the equipment is operational, but must be used with caution. Make sure to check the equipment messages for any special instructions; failure to do so could result in damage to your samples (or even equipment!) And if you observe a problem, however minor, report it; your fellow labmembers will appreciate it!
    - Shutdown: Red "stop" sign with an "X" means the equipment is shut down and cannot be used. If you are using a tool and it experiences problems, you may be required to use the "Shutdown" function -- your training and the operating procedures will cover the circumstances and procedures for when shutdown is required. 
  5. Equipment repairs. Unless your training covers it, you should not attempt to repair equipment. Your help, however, in observing and noting the symptoms of any equipment problems is much appreciated.



Not all labmembers require access to all the SNF lab spaces.  However, all labmembers must become familiar with the hazards in the building they will be working in regardless of whether there is any contact with any chemical or physical hazards.  And some labs require additional training for hazards specific to those labs.  The training requirement for each of the labs is summarized below.  By default, the full building and cleanroom tours are scheduled for all new labmembers; make sure to inform if you require the building tour only.


Lab Space Required Safety orientation Additional Requirements for Access
Cleanroom Bldg & Cleanroom tour  
ExFab Bldg & Cleanroom tour  
Mavericks/Room 155 Bldg tour Experiment review with staff
Ocean/Room 151 Bldg tour  
The MOCVD Lab Bldg & Cleanroom tour Only MOCVD users may access


Before entering any lab spaces, make sure to wear appropriate street clothing, which includes long pants (or equivalent) that cover legs, and closed-toe shoes that completely cover the feet.  This table lists the dress code for entering these lab spaces.  Note that additional PPE is required for certain specific operations, especially with chemical handling.

Lab Space Lab Dress
Cleanroom Safety glasses, gloves, hair net, shoe covers, bunnysuit. 
Cleanroom boots are recommended/required for some operations.
ExFab Safety glasses, gloves, hair net, shoe covers, cranberry coat
Mavericks/Room 155 Safety glasses, gloves, blue coat
Ocean/Room 151 Safety glasses
The MOCVD Lab Safety glasses, gloves, hair net, shoe covers, blue lab coat


Last modified: 6 Apr 2023