NIST breaks ground on Advanced Measurement Lab

Chris Anderson

GAITHERSBURG, MD—The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is expected to break ground this month on a $174-million, 511,000-square-foot Advanced Measurement Laboratory (AML) that will include a wing devoted to cleanroom measurement and research.

When completed in 2004, the AML will be one of the most technologically advanced buildings in the world, with sections of the facility constructed to virtually eliminate vibration and with precision temperature controls that will keep some areas of the building within ±0.01 degree Celsius.

“With its state-of-the-art stringent controls on particle matter, temperature, vibration and humidity, the AML will allow NIST to provide U.S. industry and science with improved measurements and standards, and together, speed the development of research advances,” says Ray Kammer, director of NIST.

The wing devoted to cleanroom research comprises roughly 90,000 square feet divided into 14 Class 100 labs. “We will be able to upgrade those spaces to Class 10 as needed and dictated by the research, but the labs will be Class 100 as a baseline,” says Todd W. Snuffer, assistant project director of the AML for NIST.

The wing itself will consist of four levels: a sub fab level, a cleanroom level, a mezzanine level and a mechanical penthouse. The configuration for the cleanrooms will be bay and chase. A corridor surrounding the cleanroom areas will allow for public tours without requiring people to don gowns. A Class 1000 corridor within the outer corridor provides access to the chases.

The modular layout of the cleanroom wing will allow for reconfiguration of the space to enable the creation of new cleanroom labs according to NIST's research needs, says Chris Conley, project director for the AML.

Labs slated for inclusion in the cleanroom wing include wet etching, dry etching, thin-film wet-dry etch and ion implant, among others.

An artist's rendering of NIST's Advanced Measurement Lab (AML). When completed in 2004, the AML will be one of the most technologically advanced buildings in the world.
Click here to enlarge image

When completed, the new building will replace NIST's current research facility, which it opened in the 1960s. “We got to the point with the old building that there was only so much we could do to provide researchers with the kind of laboratories and conditions they need,” says Michael E. Newman, spokesperson for NIST. “In order to provide the research necessary for the rapidly moving pace of science and industries such as the semiconductor industry we needed to build a facility from scratch and luckily Congress agreed.”

Lead contractor for the project is a partnership between The Clark Construction Group Inc., Bethesda, MD, and Gilford Corp. of Beltsville, MD. The Clark/Gilford partnership was selected both for its expertise in the construction of research facilities and because the partners are experienced in selecting and using contractors from small businesses. A condition of the construction contract with Clark/Gilford states that the company must award a minimum of $62.5 million in contracts to smaller and disadvantaged firms.

Lead architect on the project was HTR Architects, Alexandria, VA.


Easily post a comment below using your Linkedin, Twitter, Google or Facebook account. Comments won't automatically be posted to your social media accounts unless you select to share.