Have you ever joined a research group or a project and all you have to start with is an unorganized notebook of a previous graduate student? Are you starting a new project in your research group and wish to have more expertise or expert collaborators? Are you afraid of losing the tested knowledge that your students develop in your laboratory or cleanroom when they leave the group? These questions arise for professors, researchers and students who are working in micro- and nano-fabrication facilities due to the vast variety of materials and processes.
A student joins a group and develops a complex fabrication process optimized for a project. That optimized and polished process is published in a paper or described in a thesis. However, there are countless tests, trials and failures during the development of the process flow. These failures never make it to a publication! Best case scenario, they are featured in a notebook or mentioned in the thesis. The problem shows up when that student leaves the group and a new student takes over the project: now those trial and errors are useful to have in an organized format. A group leader who is starting a new project and does not have a lot of experience in the related fabrication processes. Wouldn’t it be great to have reports from other experts in the field about dos and don’ts. It would save a lot of time and resources.
Our mission is to publish the unpublished: the notes that cleanroom researchers, graduate students, post-docs and staff make but never published. These notes are worth publishing but most of the time they do not make it to a publication! We publish them online for you in an open access repository (Zenodo) and give these documents a DOI and they can be cited!
We have created an online platform where users from around the world can post articles to share their experience with all the different processes involved in microfabrication. The focus is on the technical aspects of research. Beyond reporting of successes and state-of-the-art achievements, the users are also encouraged to report intermediate steps and failures of the typical trial and error process involved in the development and optimization of every microfabrication process.
NanoFabNet values your failed trials and make them accessible to everyone and easy to search through. Moreover, some researchers may want to place their reports and failure results on arXiv as a pre-print. However, the current constraints on the style and preparation of an arXiv article is too complex and time consuming to be considered as an option for a failure in the cleanroom! As a result, we remove these constraints and allow researchers to publish a very short and “unpolished” simple document that will be searchable via our tagging system based on different materials and processing. We publish these reports in an open-access repository and give them a DOI. Therefore, they are not lost or taken for granted. They can be cited in publications. In addition, our commenting system allows users to tell others about their experiences pertaining to the report and if they have other findings or they came across the same issues or fixes. We archive the full version history of your articles and keep all the versions. This allows researchers to improve their work and make a new version with minor or major revisions. Our network makes collaborations possible between different research institutes, inspiring new projects and opportunities.
NanoFabNet was founded by Prof. Tobias Kippenberg (Principle Investigator of Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements - LPQM) and Mohammad Bereyhi (Graduate Student at LPQM) in February 2019. Our infrastructure is hosted in EPFL, Switzerland. We realized there was a need for a place to share information about trials, failures and successes in nanofabrication and wanted to provide a platform for this. We are funded by EPFL’s Open Science initiative.
We collaborate with many cleanrooms, universities and research institutes. Are you interested in joining the NanoFab-Net community? Contact us!