Process Research Laboratory for Wafer Deposition

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The Georgia Institute of Technology wanted to convert the four-story, 150,000-square-foot Bunger Henry Building into research laboratories and office space. Originally designed in 1962 as classroom and laboratory space for the institute’s chemical engineering students, the renovated facility will be occupied by the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Georgia Tech retained POWER to renovate an existing two-story atrium space into a 5,280-square-foot research laboratory. The new Lab 216 is located on the second floor of the building, contains a 1,350-square foot Class 100 cleanroom, and will be used to research an improved wafer deposition process.

Lab 216 uses standard cleanroom materials and finishes. The cleanroom space is supplied with 100% outside air via a dedicated air handler on the roof that feeds four dedicated recirculation units. Because the space was originally an atrium, POWER’s design created a ceiling consisting of 80 HEPA filters plus cleanroom tiles. An interstitial space contains a clean air return plenum with supply air ducting, process piping and exhaust runs. Directly above the interstitial space, POWER designed an equipment platform to support the four recirculation units. 60,000 cfm of air is used to maintain the cleanroom at Class 100. The cleanroom is accessed by passing through a contained air shower into a contained 150-square-foot gown/degown area.

Process equipment includes three Swan MOCVD reactors, an ICP Etching System by Trion Technology, a Platter Etching System by Epigress, and auxiliary equipment. The laboratory design includes a gas supply room, with piping routed through the interstitial space and dropped through the non-HEPA ceiling tiles to point of use. Process gases include compressed air, nitrogen, hydrogen, ammonia, disilane/hydrogen, and silane/hydrogen. Hydrochloric acid, chlorine, silicon tetrachloride, arsine and phosphine – pyrophoric/toxic gases – are delivered through double-wall high-purity piping. Two scrubbers are used in Lab 216.

The chemical detection system involved strategic placement of chemical detection heads throughout the lab, and connecting them to a PLC-based central control unit. A pre-established protocol is used by the system in the event of a chemical leak, with potential notification to the building fire alarm system, the lab professor’s cell phone, and the campus Police Department.

Security and access control of users is essential in maintaining the required environmental parameters and controlling research materials. To achieve the required degree of security, electronic locks with card readers are installed at the lab entrance and at all significant interior access doors. The access system is connected to the campus-wide security system.

This challenging renovation was further complicated by concurrent upgrade designs by another firm to the antiquated building systems. POWER’s design team coordinated carefully to ensure adequate space for piping and ductwork.