LNF Mentor Responsibilities and Guidelines

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This page outlines what is expected of lab users, including staff, who are mentoring a new user. If you are a mentor, thank you for making a commitment to this important responsibility.


Mentoring new users is an important responsibility. As a mentor, you pass down process knowledge, experimental techniques, and good cleanroom habits. The LNF has standard operating procedures for doing many things in the lab, but there are some important unwritten things that cannot be learned solely through reading instructions (e.g., how to handle wafers, spin defect-free photoresist, handle chemicals, and inspect samples…). You, as a mentor, should demonstrate these skills. In addition, you should teach the new user all the essentials of operating equipment, cleaning up, and finding their way around the LNF. The person you teach will benefit from the knowledge you pass on, and the rest of the LNF, including you, will benefit from having new members of the cleanroom community who use good lab practices.

General Lab Rules

General lab ethics and culture

  • If you don’t know, ask! There’s a lot to know in the cleanroom, so there’s nothing wrong with not knowing all the answers. However, it is wrong not to find out the answer. Ask a staff member (orange border nametag) or an experienced LNF user such as a Senior Users ( Brown border name tag).
  • Always report issues:
    • Tool problems (always create a helpdesk ticket, this will inform tool engineers and tool users)
    • Misconduct (use the Feedback system)
    • General concerns (contact staff or the LNF user committee)
  • If you make a mistake that leads to tool outages, spills or general damage, REPORT IT IMMEDIATELY. There is no punishment for honest mistakes. Covering up and not reporting these issues is malicious and may result in costly/time consuming tool outage, equipment damage, damage to others samples, or bodily harm to you or other users.
  • Never do something you are not 100% sure about – ask first.
    • Never touch other users’ samples unless you have permission – ask first.
  • Calm, polite and friendly interactions are greatly appreciated: everybody (including staff) is working on a tight schedule.
  • Let LNF know when process and/or materials used change
  • Unauthorized users should never operate equipment alone

Chemical hazard level vs. Cleanliness level – these are different, but both important

  • Chemical hazards put the user in danger
    • Example: We need to rinse a cassette in a DI tank for at least 2 min (or the set number of cycles in a QDR) after a chemical process. This is to remove the toxic and corrosive chemicals (hazardous to user).
  • Cleanliness level is important for process quality
    • Example: We need to do a spin-rinse-dryer run after the DI tank rinse. This is to remove all traces of contamination (hazardous to the fabricated device).

Proper gowning – this is important for keeping contamination out of the cleanroom

  • Teach gowning and degowning sequence and technique.
  • Gowning bags, badges, tags, unpacking, wiping down objects, etc.

Materials segregation-this is important to prevent cross-contamination and for safety

  • Disposal of different types of waste
  • CMOS vs. semi clean bs metals class tools and tanks
  • Metal vs. non-metal vs. liftoff
  • Acids vs. Bases
  • Solvents (the aspirator, filter, etc.)

Storing private materials

  • Private chemicals: show labelmaker, acid/base and organic cabinets
  • Photoresists: private vs. shared, syringe racks in resist cabinet
  • Dryboxes in cleanroom, cabinets in ROBIN. These are for samples, masks, personal items, not for chemicals.

After-Hours policies

  • How to obtain After-Hours access & suit tag
  • Buddy system
  • Contacting LNF Emergency Response Team & 911
  • Show location of campus phones in labs

Online Services

  • Scheduler – how to reserve and activate tools, how to manage reservations (cancellation policies, overtime fees)
  • Reports
  • Staff calendar, lab fees

Helpdesk system and issue reporting

  • Overview of the Helpdesk system
  • How to generate and follow up on a ticket
  • Tool-related ticket vs. general ticket

Online feedback and the LNF community

  • Use of (anonymous) negative feedback and how it helps improve the general conduct in the cleanroom
  • Use of positive feedback: why it should be encouraged

Communication methods

  • Monthly emails
  • LNF Wiki
  • User Communications meetings

Chemicals and Safety

Proper use of PPE – this is important for safety

  • PPE is needed when working with chemicals
  • Show where to find Trionic gloves, neoprene gloves, face shields and aprons
  • Order in which to put them on: Apron, face shield, gloves
  • Order in which to take them off: Gloves, face shield, apron
  • Only wear PPE at benches.

Working with acids/bases

  • ALWAYS WATER BEFORE ACID!” and other safe handling practices
  • Disposal
  • Rinsing labware (inside and outside)

Working with flammable solvents

  • Disposal
  • Using correct aspirators (teach the difference between solvent and acid/base/water)
  • Solvent waste tank filters

Understanding the labware labeling system in the cleanroom

  • Color coding system on shared labware
  • Explain the need for maintaining this segregation for the benefit of all processes
  • Private chemical labels and how to use them
  • Labeling cycles and when to change your labels

Unattended processing

  • Rules for leaving chemicals on benches
  • Leaving samples to be unloaded by next user

Chemical disposal and bottle washing

  • Rinsing acid/base bottles
  • Drying solvent bottles
  • Labeling waste collection bottles
  • Cleaning and disposal of used PR bottles

Equipment Usage

Practice sessions

  • The user being trained must make the tool reservation under their own account, so that training records are accurate.

Using non-interlocked equipment

  • Labware
  • Hot-plates and ovens
  • Microscopes
  • Computers
  • Other equipment in the ROBIN (house vacuum evaporators, CO2 cleaner, microscopes, wafer bonder jig)

Use of on-the-fly interlocked tools

  • How to use on-the-fly systems
  • Default account, as set up in scheduler preferences, will be charged. If not appropriate, account can be edited after the reservation via the Scheduler reservation history tab (until 3 business days past the end of the month)

Power bump and tool restart procedures

  • In general, leave tools in safe state in case of power outages
  • Report the problem immediately to staff and all users
  • NEVER try to restart/reboot/repair a tool