The tools you need, developed in-house

Our technical operations teams and machining and nanofabrication facilities support our researchers, staff and students to develop the tools they need through designing, prototyping, and producing equipment, and by training and supervising users to create the parts and devices to customize existing research instruments in order to solve specific research problems. Read: The tools for innovation from concept through creation,

Custom tools developed in-house at the Blusson QMI machine shops

Blusson QMI is home to two machine shops: a Computer Numerical Control (CNC) shop and student machine shop (Room 125) and a high-head prototype machine shop (Room 124B). These are important facilities for the institute, offering support to researchers by enabling them to participate in the development of custom mechanical, ultra-high- vacuum and cryogenic equipment.

The Machine Shop team works with our researchers, staff, and students to design, prototype and manufacture components for ultra-high-vacuum and cryogenic equipment to be installed on various Blusson QMI and AMPEL research equipment.

Activities include:

  • performing general and computer numerical control (CNC) machining
  • fabrication and assembly of specified vacuum, cryogenics, and mechanical components and devices

The team also plans and complete custom jobs, developing supportive tools and components for specialized research equipment for unique applications. In most cases, these are novel parts that are not commercially available.

Accessing the machine shop

Students, research associates, and faculty are invited to submit their machining requirements to Harish Gautam by email to; accepted formats include 2D (PDF format) and 3D drawings (STEP format) including hand sketches via email.

For more information, including a list of tools that are currently available and machine shop hours are available at the Advanced Materials and Process Engineering Laboratory (AMPEL) website.

Training for graduate students

A feature of the Blusson QMI machine shops is the ability for students to learn machining skills under the supervision of shop technicians. For more information, email Harish Gautam, Machine Shop Supervisor, at

This 8" wafer-capable EBL is already available for use by academic and industry parters.

The first nanofabrication lab of its kind in Canada

The newly renovated Nanofabrication Facility, operated by five dedicated engineers and managed by Director Kostis Michelakis, is enhancing Blusson QMI’s ability to conduct world-class research. This state-of-the-art infrastructure and associated expertise is being made available to industry partners to provide advanced fabrication services. This facility is also the cornerstone of the SiEPICfab industry consortium recently established under Lukas Chrostowski’s leadership.

This 8″ wafer-capable EBL is already available for use by academic and industry partners.

The infrastructure project includes facility upgrades and the purchase of specialized equipment that together, with the recent acquisition of industry-standard tools such as an 8” wafer-capable, electron beam lithography (EBL) tool, will help create the first nanofabrication facility of its kind in Canada.

Phase 1 of this initiative was recently completed with cleanroom upgrades to higher ISO levels. Whereas the previous level was enough to support photolithography work, recent upgrades have increased the cleanliness levels by a factor of 10. The cleanroom is now available to academic and industry users.

Phase 2 completes this series of upgrades and acquisitions. By retrofitting the existing space and adding a focused ion beam (FIB) system to the current suite of nanofabrication tools, Blusson QMI will be able offer a more streamlined production process for researchers (from both industry and academia) who are designing nanostructures (optical circuits, for instance) on semi-conductive substrates (wafers) requiring a high degree of reliability and accuracy in the etching process. Our FIB system will be up and running in early 2021.


To book Nanofabrication Facility equipment such as the EBL, please refer to the facility guidelines and UBC booking system or contact Kostis Michelakis at