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(l to r) Policy Officer Grace Campbell (Dept of Education), UQ Pro-Vice Chancellor Paul Bonnington, ANFF-Q Node Director Justin Cooper-White, ANFF-Q Facility Manager Anthony Christian, the Honourable Meaghan Scanlon MP, ANFF CEO Jane Fitzpatrick

In labs full of state-of-the-art equipment, cleanrooms are often overlooked. ANFF cleanrooms provide the necessary specialised environments for many fabrication and characterisation processes performed by these cutting-edge tools.

Because cleanrooms are essential for creating new components and devices while maintaining manufacturing quality, space availability can be the limiting factor in the number of tools and users that a facility can accommodate.

ANFF-Q is a critical enabler of innovative research that is key for Queensland’s advanced manufacturing sector. One of its open-access fabrication facilities, located at the University of Queensland, specialises in microfluidics; organic electronics and opto-electronics; biomaterials; novel semiconductor materials; and the vital testing of these components.

On 19 January 2023, the Honourable Meaghan Scanlon MP, Minister for the Environment and the Great Barrier Reef and Minister for Science and Youth Affairs, joined Queensland’s scientific leaders to celebrate the completion of a major expansion of ANFF-Q’s University of Queensland facility. The UQ location has almost doubled its cleanroom space in size from 100 to 190 square metres.

‘As a leading member of the ANFF network, ANFF-Q has provided services to hundreds of researchers and companies who have had their work improved by the capabilities available. We are excited by the opportunities that can now be provided through this critical extension and upgrade for the facility,’ said Jane Fitzpatrick, ANFF CEO.

ANFF-Q’s increased ability to create dust-free environments enables the facility to introduce new capabilities and provide services for more users. Among the new equipment for use at ANFF’s Queensland facility is a nano-3D printer that is the first of its kind in Australia. Additional equipment includes new Inductively Coupled Plasma (ICP) Dry Etcher and Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) systems.

An expanded cleanroom also allows the facility to upgrade to new versions of existing capabilities. New Bruker Dimension AFM and MLA150 direct write lithography machines are higher in resolution and speed, quicker to be trained on, and easier to use. According to ANFF-Q Facility Manager Anthony Christian, the upgrades will bring these technologies to a greater range of users than the tools they have replaced.

Funding for the cleanroom expansion was a collective effort from the federal, state and local levels, with NCRIS, the Queensland Government and the University of Queensland all contributing funding for the facility overhaul.

‘The opening of UQ’s ANFF-Q new cleanroom ensures our scientists remain at the forefront of discovery with access to the latest capabilities and technology needed to achieve high performance fabrication outputs,’ Ms Scanlon said. ‘This capability is fundamental to our nanoscience research and innovation efforts for everything from biomedical devices to semiconductors and quantum engineering.’

For the full story on ANFF-Q’s celebratory cleanroom opening, you can read Minister Scanlon’s media statement here.