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Board 29: Creating a Virtual Reality Simulation of Plasma Etcher to Facilitate Teaching and Practice of Dry Etching in Nanotechnology Education

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

October 19, 2019

Conference Session

Poster Session

Tagged Division

Computing and Information Technology

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Paper Authors


Reza Kamali Utah Valley University

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Dr. Reza Kamali-Sarvestani is an Associate Professor of Computer Engineering at Utah Valley University. He received his B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from Shiraz University Iran, and M.S.E, Ph.D. degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from University of Alabama in Huntsville in 2009, and 2011 respectively. He joined Utah Valley University (UVU) in 2012. He is currently working to develop a Virtual Reality course on nano/microfabrication. Dr. Kamali’s work is supported by funding from National Science Foundation, Utah Valley University, and local/international companies. He is a member of IEEE and ASEE.

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Matthew Meyers Utah Valley University

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An animation student at Utah Valley University, Matthew is a member of the research team responsible for creating the virtual reality simulations described in this paper.

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Nima Kamali-Sarvestani Utah Valley University

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Nima Kamali is currently a junior student at Lone Peak High School, Highland Utah. His interests in Virtual Reality and nanotechnology led him to work with Utah Valley University on their nanotechnology project. He has interests in learning more about STEM education.

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We have developed a “Dry Etching” laboratory experiment using Virtual Reality (VR) for an associate level course in nanotechnology. This laboratory will be representation of a plasma etcher to be used as a pedagogical tool to train students in its proper use. Plasma etching tools are expensive and require extensive maintenance, and using chemical gases in a real-world plasma etcher requires careful attention and error-free procedures. While dry etching is an important part of nanotechnology training, it is normally taught one-on-one to ensure a safe laboratory practice. In this paper, new methods are being addressed to help the teaching of plasma etching in a large size classroom. Our method provides an automatic assessment measure. Virtual Reality enables students to have full access to a plasma etcher in a virtual classroom and learn the proper steps to run the machine in a safe environment. We have developed a training session to learn the basic procedure for using the plasma etcher. These procedures were practiced, and then presented to a group of volunteer students who wanted to learn and work with a plasma etcher. Several processes were documented to create this pedagogical tool for the classroom: correct application of dry etching and expected result of an etching process, an understanding of the sample preparation for plasma etching, and the processes to apply etching and related variables. These processes, along with a representation of the machine, were created in virtual reality. It gives students a tool to help see and understand abstract concepts presented to them during their education in nanotechnology. This will benefit institutions who do not have access to a plasma etcher or have limited space or equipment for teaching dry etching.

Kamali, R., & Meyers, M., & Kamali-Sarvestani, N. (2019, June), Board 29: Creating a Virtual Reality Simulation of Plasma Etcher to Facilitate Teaching and Practice of Dry Etching in Nanotechnology Education Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32314

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