The University of Sydney Nano Institute

Research and prototype foundry


The Research and Prototype Foundry is an ISO Class 5 and Class 7 clean room with space upgradeable to ISO Class 4. Our Foundry will house equipment (‘tools’) for advanced lithography including an i-line stepper and electron beam tools for sub-micrometre lithography, tools for deposition of thin films and others for etching the patterns defined by the lithography tools. The Foundry floor plan is shown in Figure below. In addition to the printing and photography activities that occur in the Foundry, the University is also investigating getting new equipment for 3-dimensional printing which will also use a whole new regime of chemicals.

Research and Prototype Foundry Floor Plan

Research and Prototype Foundry Floor Plan

The Foundry Manager is David O’Connor. He ensures that all personnel operating equipment or working in the space have undergone the Foundry specific induction. Training records are also stored by David O’Connor.


There are several Dangerous Goods being stored and handled in the Foundry. These included gases, flammable liquids, and corrosives. There are also pieces of equipment used that can be deemed hazardous. This section lists the various hazardous equipment and materials that are being used in the Foundry, as well as detailing waste products that are generated.

Listed below are the gases that are anticipated to be used in the Foundry.

  • A helium/oxygen mixture (lens gas) stored in "G size" cylinders.
  • Argon "G size" cylinders.
  • Compressed air.
  • House nitrogen.
  • 5 L nitrogen dewar.

A maximum of five (but generally) four bottles of sulphuric acid (96%) and hydrogen peroxide (4%) are used to strip organic compounds from glass. These chemicals will be stored in a locked 200 L chemical cabinet in individual portable bunding. In addition, there is usually one open bottle under the wet bench, and five dispensing bottles made of high density propylene and glass. The bottles are held in a tray to provide bunding in case of a spill.

IPA and acetone solvents are stored and used within the PRF which is stored in a flammable liquids cabinet. The quantities are however relatively minor, with approximately 10 L used every 4 months. For this reason, there is also minimal waste. HMDS (primers) and HB remover are used; however, no waste is generated from the usage of these chemicals. The solvent benches are in one chase and the acid benches are in another chase. This is to prevent cross contamination and mixing of hazardous substances.

12 L of 35% Hydrogen Peroxide stored in the RPF which will be stored in a DG cabinet for oxidising substances as part of the Photomask manufacturing process. The waste will go to the waste water treatment plant at the SNH.

There are also a number of pieces of equipment used in the Foundry. These are listed below.

  • Centrifuge (spins at 10,000 rpm) – there is a cover over the top when it is not in use.
  • Spin dryer.Laser writer – a shutter goes off if the doors are opened.
  • X ray equipment.
  • Scrubber.

Any hazardous waste generated from the operations taking place in the Foundry will go into the drain where it is transferred into the neutralisation pit and then discharged.

Maintenance of laboratory equipment is managed by the maintenance engineer. This will also be done through the PPMS booking system.

Currently there are no specific procedures in place for cleaning the work area following experiments. This will be contained in the Standard Operating Procedure which is currently in development. 

Safety and Training

Along with the induction process outlined in Section 6.2 of SNH Safety and Operations Manual (PDF 4,899KB), there will be an induction specific to the Foundry. The records for these inductions are stored electronically. Training records are also kept along with risk assessments. Risk assessments are created by the process engineer and then signed off by all the staff, including David O’Connor. These are then stored as PDFs on electronic drives that everybody has access to. 


Access to the Foundry will be restricted to authorised personnel only. This will be through swipe card access which is granted once the induction process is complete. 

Personal Protective Clothing and Equipment (PPE)

PPE required in the Foundry is chemical gloves, an apron, a visor, and safety glasses.

Further Information

WHS documentation specific to the Research Prototype and Foundry will shortly be available on the Sydney Nano SharePoint, which is currently under construction.

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