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School of Engineering

Microfabrication in practice

Monday, May 7, 2018
Students have created the smallest known rendering of the Tufts seal.
A nanoscale rendering of the Tufts seal next to the original Tufts seal

In a new course, "Microfabrication in Practice," students are using new machines to create small-scale renderings. Taught by Jim Vlahakis, the course is an introduction to the microfabrication industry using both traditional lectures and hands-on work in a cleanroom laboratory. 

For their final project in the course, mechanical engineering seniors Michael Brienza and Robert Hrabchak and electrical engineering Ph.D. candidate Aydin Sadeqi used a Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) to employ a process called Electron Beam Lithography (EBL). The students used a new Tescan Vega 3 EBL system in the Tufts Micro and Nano Fabrication Facility to make parts at a level reaching the atomic scale.

The Tufts seal rendering was written in a space 2 um x 2 um in size; four such images could fit inside a red blood cell. 

While this technology is used in labs and other educational institutions, it has only recently come to Tufts. The students hope to continue using this technology to create microsensors that could allow a device to optically sense the composition of fluids passing over its surface. This would have many uses in the field of biomedical engineering.