Today’s SNF grew out of the Integrated Circuits Laboratory, established at Stanford in the 1960’s. The ICL encompassed a broad range of research initiatives for the design, modeling, and fabrication of devices. It also included laboratory space in the basement of the McCullough building used by researchers for fabricating, characterizing, and validating new devices and materials. The ICL was well-known for the development of SUPREM (Stanford University Process Engineering Modeling), device fabrication simulators still used in research and industry throughout the world. Research in the ICL also gave rise to pioneering work in the areas of image sensors, image processing, bio probes, pressure sensors, accelerometers, implantable electronics, and high voltage drivers.
In the early 80’s, the facility was expanded and upgraded to enable development of larger, more complex devices, such as the MIPS chip and the Geometry Engine. This era also saw the collaboration of an industrial partnership with 20 leading semiconductor companies to develop a new, broader "integrated systems" approach to electronics research and education. In 1985, ICL fabrication moved into a new, state-of-the art, Allen Center for Integrated Systems cleanroom.
As a teaching laboratory, the CIS cleanroom was used exclusively by Stanford researchers and collaborators. This changed in 1994, when the laboratory joined NSF's National Nanofabrication Users' Network. Renamed the "Stanford Nanofabrication Facility", the lab opened its doors to all researchers, including industry as well as other government and academic institutions, thus giving rise to the dynamic and diverse community of researchers who comprise SNF today.
Over the years, the equipment and staff expertise has evolved to accommodate the ever-changing research needs of its labmembers. While SNF remains firmly grounded in device fabrication technologies, expansion with the ExFab and MOCVD satellite labs enables us to anticipate growing needs of the research community for new materials, multi-materials assembly, fast/flexible patterning, and rapid microprototyping.