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General Information

This page contains general information about safety in the SMFL.


SMFL Users Manual

SMFL Users Manual (pdf)

  • Lab accidents happen all the time, do you know what to do and how to prevent them?
    • Be able to recognize the hazards you are working with.
    • Eliminate or minimize the identified risks.
    • Evaluate the potential risk - probability and severity
    • Maintain focus on your experiment

Safety Training Information

All users of the SMFL must go through safety training first (refresher or new user) and then take and pass the SMFL Safety Test on a yearly basis.

  • Safety Badge Information
    • A valid safety badge is required to use the facilities. You receive a new safety badge after taking and passing the SMFL Safety Test
    • Badges are good for one year from the date of your last safety test
    • Those without a valid safety badge must wear a Visitor Badge - No processing is allowed.
  • There are two types of safety training courses offered every quarter.
    • New User Safety Training - for people who have never taken the safety test before
    • Safety Refresher Course - for people who have taken the safety test before and/or have an expired badge.
Steps to get your safety training
  • Go to either refresher or new user training on a yearly basis.
  • Remember to sign in at the training session.
  • Once you complete the training session, you will be sent a link to the online safety test.
  • Take the test - make sure you have read the material.
  • See T. Grimsley to review your test results and to get your safety badge.
  • The process is not over until you have reviewed your test.

Specific Chemical Hazards

Fluorinated Acids

Hydrofluoric acid in the SMFL represents a special danger in that it is a toxic. Death can and has occurred from exposure to hydrofluoric acid. The danger arises from the fluorine ion which reacts with the body's calcium to interfere with the transmission of nervous signals, proper functioning of muscles, and electrochemical imbalance. Concentrated hydrofluoric acid represents the greatest danger of fluorine poisoning, but there are other solutions in the SMFL that also represent a fluorine poisoning hazard.

*[SMFL Chemistry#Hydrofluoric Acid ] is a corrosive that is used extensively in semiconductor processing. Primarily for the etching of silicon dioxide.
*[SMFL Chemistry#Ammonium Fluoride] is also a corrosive that is used in the etching of silicon dioxide. Ammonium Fluoride is the main component of[SMFL Chemistry#Pad Etch].
*[SMFL Chemistry#Buffered Oxide Etch (BOE)] contains both Hydrofluoric Acid and Ammonium Fluoride.
*[SMFL Chemistry#Pad Etch] contains Ammonium Fluoride and is used for etching silicon dioxide deposited over aluminum.
*[SMFL Chemistry#Freckle Etch] contains [SMFL Chemistry#Fluoroboric Acid] and is used for etching silicon nodules remaining after aluminum etch.

*Special precautions are needed for the safe handling of HF, NH4F, BOE, Pad Etch and Freckle Etch. They should all be considered as toxic and should never come in contact with the users skin.
*Immediate treatment is required should this occur.

*See the SMFL Users Manual for a full description of the dangers of HF and it's treatment.
** Medical Information about Hydrofluoric Acid and Buffered Oxide Etch (HF & BOE)
** Paper on HF Fatalities (American Journal of Industrial Medicine)
** Hydrofluoric Acid MSDS
** Buffered Oxide Etch MSDS
** HF Medical Book by Honeywell
** Centers for Disease and Control Information on HF
** Image of severe HF burn and description of treatment - somewhat graphic - has a happy ending


*A solution for removing photoresist / organic residues from surfaces. A mixture of [SMFL Chemistry#Sulfuric Acid] and [SMFL Chemistry#Hydrogen Peroxide] ranging from 1:1 to 4:1. At the SMFL, we only use solutions of 3:1 or 4:1.

*Piranha solutions are very exothermic when mixed, rapidly heating to over 100C in a short period.

*Safety Reminders For Use of Sulfuric Acid/Hydrogen Peroxide Mixtures
**It is difficult to dispose of piranha because the waste continues to react and decompose for a long period of time. This builds up pressure in the waste bottles, causing them to burst.
**Commercially stabilized versions of Piranha are available such as Nanostrip (http//
**Personal protective equipment is always required when working with piranha solutions .
**Whenever handling Piranha, only use glass containers, preferably Pyrex.

**In preparing a Piranha solution, add hydrogen peroxide to the sulfuric acid - slowly!
***Piranha solution is very energetic and potentially explosive. When being made it is very likely to become hot, more than 100 degrees C. Handle with care.
***Substrates should be rinsed and dried before placing them in a piranha bath. Piranhas are used to remove residues of photoresist and acetone, not the compounds themselves.
***Adding any acids or bases to piranha or spraying it with water will accelerate the reaction. This includes some photoresist developers , some of which are strong bases.
***Leave the hot piranha solution in an open container until cool on one of the SMFL wetbenches.
***Do not store piranha. Mix only enough fresh solution for each use. Excess solutions should be disposed via the drain (once cool), followed by flushing with copious amounts of water.
***Mixing hot piranha with organic compounds may cause an a very violent reaction. This includes materials such as acetone, photoresist, isopropyl alcohol, and nylon.

== SMFL Imported Chemical Policy==

*can be found here - pdf document


Safety Training Information

Information about the SMFL Safety Training Policies and procedures

Listing of available sessions for New Researcher and Chemical training


SDS Information

The SMFL maintains it's SDS database of Standard Chemistry on this wiki.

The SDS listing of Approved Researcher Chemistry can be found here

  • There are several computers in the cleanroom - the easiest ones to access for SDS information are:
    • Gowning
    • Photo 1
    • Photo 2
  • These computers are all marked with the yellow /black SDS sign above them.

Image Added


Special Chemical Hazards

The information below is given on these particular chemicals as the pose special risks to SMFL users.


SMFL Imported Chemical Policy

  • The SMFL has a large number of chemicals available for use in the facility. There may be times when a chemical needed for a project is not stocked in the SMFL.


  • Before any chemical can be brought in, it


  • must


  • be signed off by the SMFL. This applies to all users whether they are internal or external.


  • The



  • SDS before the chemicals can be brought into the lab.
    • Fill out sections 1,2 & 6 and bring to T. Grimsley in 17-2175 2511 for review and signoff.

==NFPA Hazard Diamond==

*The SMFL uses the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) Hazard Diamond for labeling of chemical containers.
** Information about the NFPA Label
** Look up the NFPA Ratings for chemicals
*See the [SMFL Chemistry] for specific NFPA ratings for the materials found in the SMFL.

==MSDS Information==
'''*The SMFL maintains it's [SMFL_MSDS ] on this wiki.'''

*There are several computers in the cleanroom - the easiest ones to access for MSDS information are:
**Wet Etch 1
**Wet Etch 2

*The computers are all marked with the yellow /black MSDS sign above them.


Safety Infractions in the SMFL

From Section 1.9 of the SMFL Standard Operating Procedure

Violations of SMFL policies will be taken seriously and could result in loss of lab access.
Please encourage proper lab usage and report any serious violations to the SMFL staff. Forms for doing this are located on the website and in the SMFL gowning area.
The following procedure will be used by SMFL management.

  • Users that violate SMFL safety policies will be given either a reminder or a warning.
  • Upon receiving a warning, the user will notified in writing. The user’s advisor/supervisor is also informed.

1.9.1 Actions that will result in a verbal reminder
– Safety glasses on top of users head.
– Wearing open toed shoes in cleanroom – user will be asked to leave cleanroom to change footwear.
– Forgetting to wear your badge in the cleanroom (assuming you have one).
– Minor improper lab protocol (opening the lab door to take to someone in the hall)
– Using lab phones for non-business purposes.

  • This list is not all inclusive. A reminder may be issued for any act that is not in keeping with SMFL lab policies.
  • Constant reminders to a user about a particular issue will result in a warning.

1.9.2 Actions that will result in a warning.
– Improper use of PPE (Not wearing any PPE while performing chemical work) leaving PPE on center table, not rinsing gloves after use, wearing PPE outside of Wet Etch Bays).
– Improper chemical handling (not labeling chemistry, head inside hood/over heated bath,dipping/pipetting from chemical baths, improper waste disposal).
– Improper use of card swipe (loaning someone your card, taking/using another lab users card for the purpose of letting uncertified users on a tool or charging other projects for your time).
– Processing with an expired safety badge or with a Visitors badge. In the case of a Visitors badge, the sponsor/host/TA will also be given a warning.
– Major improper lab protocol - in cleanroom without suit
– Any action that results in damage or injury that was negligent in nature and not accidental.

This list is not all inclusive. A warning may be issued for any act that has a higher potential for harm to users or equipment.

  • First Warning
    – Lab user is informed in writing about the warning.
  • Second Warning
    – Lab user is informed in writing about the warning.
    – Off hours privileges are lost if Lab user had OH status.
  • Third Warning
    – Lab user is informed in writing about the warning.
    – Safety badge is removed.
    – Safety certification is lost. User must go through new user training.
    – Tool certifications are lost. User must go through tool certification again. Trainer on second certification must be different than the original.

Any serious safety violation may result in immediate loss of privileges and lab access. This is at the discretion of the SMFL management.


Globally Harmonized System (GHS) of Hazard Communication

Starting in 2015, the SMFL has moved to using the GHS for communicating chemical hazards.

Some features

  • International standard for labeling chemistry.
  • Labels will contain more than just basic hazard rating – specific warnings and dangers.
  • MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheets) will now be referred to as SDS (Safety Data Sheets).

As the GHS labels must contain specific information, users are no longer able to make their own chemical labels as was the case with the previous system.

All chemical labels are to be provided by the SMFL


  RIT Environmental Health & Safety Website - Find the RIT Accident Report Form here