A state-of-the-art lab designed for research programs ranging from photonics to quantum computing to nanoelectronics opened its doors on June 4.
The Molecular Beam Epitaxy (MBE) facility, located in the Mike & Ophelia Lazaridis Quantum-Nano Centre, is a high-end research and development lab with production capabilities.
Equipped to grow novel compound semiconductors structures, the lab will accelerate progress in nanotechnology (nano-materials, nano-electronics and photonics), quantum computing and quantum encryption as well as other areas of research.
“Molecular Beam Epitaxy is the most powerful technology for materializing the devices of the future,” says the head of the laboratory Zbig Wasilewski, pictured above.
The Waterloo electrical and computer engineering professor and the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology Endowed Chair explains that well-controlled manipulation of material structure at atomic level is essential in achieving the desired properties of devices.
Powerful tool for nanoengineering
"MBE is arguably the most powerful tool for such nanoengineering. Because the processes are conducted in ultra-high vacuum (UHV), contamination by foreign molecules is minimized. This is very important, since even a single contaminant atom in a strategic part of the nanostructure can alter considerably its properties.”
The 1,200-square-foot lab, which received funding from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), and the University, houses a robotic cluster-based MBE system designed to accommodate additional two growth reactors in the future. The robust automated wafer transfer and extensive computer control add entry-level production capabilities to this high-end research system, enabling seamless progression from research to prototyping to pilot production, a feature which is expected to catalyze interactions with other research groups and industrial partners. [Waterloo Stories]