This Recommended Practice (RP), IEST-RP-NANO200.1, provides an overview of factors involved in the design, start-up, and operation of facilities in the field of nanotechnology. The overview focuses on the unique considerations related to planning, design, construction, and start-up that typically confront owners, designers, and users of the advanced-technology facilities supporting research or production at the nanometer scale.

Insights from the Working Group Chair

Considerations are discussed for each project phase:
• Project planning—Project definition and programming, site surveys, codes and regulations, safety and security
• Design—site, building, safety, engineering, and technical considerations
• Construction—process, commissioning, special requirements
• Start-up and operation—Building operations manual, safety, operational systems, controlled-material handling, process equipment

Prior to commencement of work on this RP, many nanotechnology facilities had been completed or were under construction. The lessons learned by those involved in these projects have been shared at workshops and conferences. In nearly all cases, university and governmental planners and decision makers expressed that the plan/design/build/start-up process would have been much more straightforward if a source for guidance had been available. In most cases, the facilities were far more complex than any project these owners had attempted previously.

This RP represents a collaborative effort of representatives from the design, construction, and user communities, along with equipment providers and owner groups. Intended as an executive-level summary, this document  provides guidance in the planning and decision-making processes required for establishing facilities involved in nanoscale research and production as well as subcellular-scale biological research. Specifications for ranges and criteria recommended within this RP form a framework intended to stimulate further discussion between the owner and the design team.

Facilities established for operation at the nanometer scale are among the most complex in existence. This complexity is based primarily on their breadth, not the complexity of individual components. Such facilities are inherently interdisciplinary and require interface of design requirements rarely addressed in the design of other types of facilities.

Nanotechnology facilities typically require cleanrooms for research and fabrication, but the cleanroom is not the primary focus of the facility. Nanotechnology facilities also have high-performance spaces within laboratory environments, in which environmental controls of parameters such as electromagnetic interference (EMI), temperature, and vibration far surpass the requirements of a typical research facility.

The nanotechnology processes undertaken in manufacturing plants and research and development (R&D) labs require facilities with extremely stringent environmental control. Conventional environmental control has dealt primarily with air cleanliness. In nanotechnology applications, however, environmental controls include: temperature and humidity level; air and water quality; purity of chemicals and gases; sound and vibration; electromagnetic and radio frequency interference (RFI); electrostatic discharge; materials outgassing; safe grounding; assurance of personnel health, safety, and security; and prevention of biohazard.

First printing, July 2013

Planning of Nanoscale Science and Technology Facilities: Guidelines for Design, Construction, and Start-up was prepared by Working Group 200 of the IEST Contamination Control Division Standards & Practices Committee on Nanotechnology.