Academic Users

Academic members are researchers that are, or report directly to, a tenure track academic faculty member of a state licensed research university. Researchers paying academic fees must provide proof that their university and UAH receive full F&A cost accounting for the proposed work.

Academic use of facilities will be billed at a rate of $4000/semester line item per student(research effort) for no more than $12,000 per academic year. Research required to achieve preliminary results can be performed at the NMDC though individual agreements with the NMDC management team. These agreements require coverage of direct operating costs. 

Commercial Users

Corporate, government, and other users investors that wish to establish academic collaborations should seek individual PIs directly. Access to the NMDC for research performed at F&A rates less than standard research grant percentages will require charges based on the commercial user policy. 

The commercial user policy was established for corporate, government, and non academic research efforts. This agreement allows the user to operate equipment, fabricate structures, and test devices within the NMDC while maintaining intellectual property and personal privacy. Users will general lab training and specific training on each tool used in the laboratory. Users will be restricted to use based on UAH NMDC safety and operational guidelines.

The 2010/2011 commercial user fee is $135.38/hr which includes common chemicals, deposition materials, facility resources, staff training, and consultation.

Generic Copy of the NMDC User Contract for Commercial Users

Contact Patrick J. Reardon, Associate Director, via email ( or phone (256-824-2530) for an individual copy.

Intellectual Property.

All intellectual property rights in data and information, whether or not patentable, generated under this agreement which are made solely by an employee or agent of the University under this contract shall be owned by the University. All intellectual property rights in data and information, whether or not patentable, generated under this agreement which are made solely by an employee or agent of the Company under this contract shall be owned by the Company. All intellectual property developed jointly by employees of University and Company shall be jointly owned. In the event of a jointly owned intellectual property, the parties agree to negotiate in good faith as to the disposition of the invention.

Additionally, the NMDC agrees to share access to its process database for use in device fabrication at the facility under the condition that generalized processes developed by users (corporate, government, and academic) are shared with NMDC staff to further the development of the database for the best interest of the facility and all its users. These processes contain specific details about the operation of tools within the facility and their use to aid in the creation of miniaturized (micro- and nano-scale) devices. The University understands user may seek intellectual property protection on some of the process steps that are solely developed by user and therefore may not be entered into the user's database. The staff of the NMDC will however be generically informed of all processes, including intellectual property protected processes, developed at the laboratory by user.

To be clear, the following two examples are provided:

  1. A user develops a particular process for etching silicon nitride on silicon using the ICP etcher. The process improves, updates, or verifies the current knowledge database for tool operation. Furthermore, public knowledge within the process database does not restrict the user from protecting intellectual property of the overall device architecture of his/her product. Then the specifics of the process may be shared with the NMDC and/or posted on the process database to improve the overall knowledgebase of the center.
  2. A user may protect the intellectual property of their 1.0 mm thick SU-8 prebake process. In this example, the prebake process achieved improves the accepted trade knowledge of this resist process allowing the Company to develop devices previously unobtainable by other means. NMDC shall have the right to know which chemicals and equipment are being used. NMDC also has the right to know how the equipment is being used, but not the specific temperature or time duration for a particular oven bake. If however, a physical change to the oven is required for the process, then such a change would have to be requested in writing to the NMDC in advance. NMDC would then responsible for updating the physical requirements, user manual, and safety information for that particular piece of equipment prior to use.