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Cleanroom Protocol

Cleanroom Protocol  

Cleanroom Manual Download.

  1. Students should pass the general safety.
  2. Chemical safety training.
  3. Cleanroom protocol training before their first experience with equipment inside the cleanroom.

To use a cleanroom, students need to pass this training. Training is conducted multiple times each semester. We also provide the same training to outsiders who want to use the NSU cleanroom.
The following describes procedures to be followed for a successful Cleanroom experience.


I. Introduction
A Class 100 Cleanroom is defined as having less than 100 particles of more than .5 microns in size within a cubic foot of air. Similarly, a Class 1, 000 Cleanroom has less than 1, 000 particles of more than 0.5 microns in size within a cubic foot of air. This level of cleanliness is necessary to maintain the reproducibility of newly developed state-of-the-art electronic device processes. To reach and maintain this level of cleanliness, the transfer of particles and chemical contaminations must be eliminated wherever they are found.

Attitude towards cleanliness will ultimately determine the success or failure of any Cleanroom policy. All the elaborate equipment installed to provide a microscopically clean controlled environment would be to no avail if users do not believe in and help enforce the policies. It is also recognized technology is continually changing and Cleanroom users are a tremendous resource of new ideas. With this in mind, it is strongly encouraged to recommend changes that may make the facility safer, cleaner, easier to use, or less expensive to maintain. When in the Cleanroom, be aware of your knowledge limitations. It is extremely important to seek help if are unsure about the operation of this facility.

II. Enforcement
The policies and procedures described here are intended to ensure the safety of all users, protect the very complex and expensive equipment in the Cleanroom and to create an environment in which many different research groups can co-exist. It is expected that Cleanroom users will police themselves by encouraging and assisting one another in adhering to these policies. Safe work offenders will be penalized, typically through suspension or expulsion from the cleanroom. The penalties are clearly defined in this manual.

III. Equipment Schedule Rules
Schedule runs in advance whenever possible, do not monopolize equipment.
Comply with your schedule, 15 min. maximum hold of equipment before position is queue is lost. Remove tooling (boats, etc.) from systems and clean-up particles from process chamber after each use. Note and report any anomalies to the next user and staff.

IV. Access to the Cleanroom
The Cleanroom is equipped with a Card Access System, which limits access to authorized users only. Users must have their ID card in order to enter the Cleanroom. Except in the case of emergency evacuations, users will be required to exit the Cleanroom in the same way they entered. The card system will record the times of entry and exit for each user. This data will be used for accounting purposes. Prior to being granted access to the Cleanroom, applicants must attend an orientation session on Cleanroom safety and procedures. Handouts will be provided at this session including the Norfolk State University General Laboratory Safety Manual and various policy and procedure handouts. Applicants must sign a form acknowledging they have read and understood the contents of the handouts. Applicants may also be required to take an exam on the contents of the handouts. The Cleanroom is open 7am to 7 pm Monday through Friday. Weekend access and Holiday access is to be provided by the Principle Investigator. Authorized users are able to come in at any time the Cleanroom is open. However, always use and follow the “Buddy” System.


V. Buddy System
The buddy system must always be used in the Cleanroom. As implemented here, the buddy system requires a minimum of two people inside the Cleanroom at all times and they should both be authorized users. This is to ensure the safety of all users. A list of emergency phone numbers is located in the hallway of the Cleanroom and in the corridor outside the Cleanroom.

VI. Visitors
Whenever possible, visitors should remain outside the Cleanroom (the entire facility may be viewed through the windows and through the chase). If a visitor must enter the Cleanroom, he/she must wear proper Cleanroom garments and sign in and out in the visitor's log. A qualified Cleanroom faculty/staff member must escort and remain with the visitors at all times. The escort will be responsible for ensuring visitors follow the facility policies and procedures.

VII. Safety Procedures
Use special care to keep fume-hoods in ultra-clean conditions. Emergency exit doors are ONLY for EMERGENCIES, such as fire or explosion in the lab, or movement of very large pieces of equipment in and out of the cleanroom. In case of an alarm, exit immediately, DO NOT take time to remove your gown until you are clear of the building. IMPORTANT – Hot plates (one of the main causes of cleanroom fires):

  • Never leave them on when unattended.
  • Make SURE that the temperature is: 200C BELOW flash point of contents and 200C BELOW melting point of beaker materials.
  • Ask for help if you are unsure of any part of the process.
  • Do not walk around unnecessarily and be cautious when approaching another user’s work space. Personnel movement is to be restricted to minimize the stirring up of settled particulate matter. Storage of excess stuff in the Cleanroom is not permitted. If you turn it ON, remember to turn it OFF.


  • Vacuum Chuck: Because others may be on the system.
  • Deionize Water: Because DI system will become empty.
  • Nitrogen Gas: Because the Nitrogen Dewar will quickly deplete.
  • Hot Plate: Because the lab and personnel might burn.