IEN - Micro/Nano Fabrication Facility
8.5 Handling Chemicals

This section contains the information on Acid/Base and Solvent Storage and how to handle chemicals in cleanroom safely. Please review the presentation on cleanroom safety.


Acid/Base and Solvent Storage

Where located

  • Acids in cabinets labeled “A” located near each fumehood.
  • Bases in cabinets labeled “B” located near each fumehood.
  • Solvents are stored by each fume hood.
  • If there is not enough room in the cabinets next to the fumehoods, return chemicals to chemical storage in the storeroom.
  • Have gloves on when getting acids/bases out of the cabinets.
    • Acids may drip down the bottle and get on the outside of the bottle.         

Transportation of bottles

  • If a bottle is not in storage next to the fumehood you are using, retrieve a new chemical bottle from chemical storage area and transport it to your work area with the designated carriers.
  • Never carry chemical bottles without the proper carrier.
  • Notify IEN staff if you cannot locate a bottle carrier.

What if the chemicals are out?

  • Spare acids and bases are located in the storage room, remember to transport the bottles with a carrier.
  • Spare solvents are stored in the carboys in the storage room.
    • Solvent bottles can be filled by any user in the storage room.
  • It is the responsibility of all users to replace chemicals they have used the last of.
  • Always look though the other cabinets in the clean room before you request more chemicals from the clean room staff.

Know where the storage room is, where the chemical storage cabinets are, and where and how to refill solvents

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How to Handle Chemicals 

How to Pour Chemicals

  • Before you pour any chemicals, do the following:
    • Familiarize yourself with the SDS of any chemicals you will be working with
    • Clean your work area
    • Create a Chemical Warning Label for the chemicals you plan to use before you pour any chemical.
    • Make sure the glass or plastic dishes you plan to use are clean and dry. 
    • Make sure that you are using the proper dishes for what chemicals you are using
      • Only Teflon and polypropylene should be used with HF.  HF will attack glass and some plastics, especially polyethylene.
      • Rule of thumb:  Match the chemical bottle type with the type of container you plan to use.
      • If you are unsure ask IEN staff which dish to use.
  • Minimize the number of chemical bottles in the hood at one time. 
  • Wear appropriate PPE. PPE should remain on during the entire time you are working with the chemicals.
  • Hold chemical bottle with two hands when pouring.
    • Measure chemicals in small beakers or graduated cylinders
    • Clean any measurement labware prior to use and between different chemical measurements
    • Properly dispose of unused chemicals in your measurement labware
      • Never pour this back into the stock bottle
  • Once you have poured the chemical, wipe off the lip and side of the bottle to ensure that no chemical is left exposed on the bottle.
  • Only a MINIMAL amount of chemical needs to be used.  Don’t pour more chemical than you need, especially with developer and solvents.
  • As a common courtesy let other users working in the fume hood know what chemicals you will be pouring or using.  

How to Dispose of Chemicals

  • Acids and bases can be put down the sink, and then run the city water for a minute to ensure that the chemicals have been diluted and flushed down the drain.
  • Solvents should be put into the solvent waste bin.
    • Solvents should NEVER be put down the sink.
  • Chemicals containing lead, cyanide, chromium, chlorophenols, dioxins, mercury, barium, cadmium, beryllium, silver, selenium, tellurium, cannot go down drain and need to be put in a container.
    • Waste containers filled with chemicals should be placed in the waste chemical area in the storage room
    • Environmental health & safety must be called to pick it up.

Cleaning Up (General)

  • After you have disposed of the chemicals properly, wipe off the counter space where you were working.
  • Clean thoroughly and rinse 3 times all glass and plastic ware with DI water and place on drying racks.
  • Remove all PPE and properly store apron and face shield. Gloves should be thrown away.
  • Return all chemicals to proper storage
    • Never leave bottles on the floor or in the fumehood.
  • For empty bottles, triple rinse with city water, write "RINSED" on the bottle, and place on cart in the storage area.
  • Return any equipment you brought to the hood to storage
    • This includes hot plates, sonicators, etc.
  • Remove anything else you brought to the fumehood.
    • Texwipes, aluminum tins, etc.

Cleaning Up (Chemical Spill)

  • Refer to the presentation on cleanroom safety for complete instructions
  • If you spill a chemical, ensure that you or others have not been exposed to any of the spilled chemical.
    • If someone has been exposed, rinse the exposed area in the sink or shower for 15 minutes minimum, and stay with the individual for the entire time they are rinsing. The one exception is HF exposure. Rinse for 5 minutes and then apply calcium gluconate gel.
    • Contact clean room staff or the campus police (if staff is not on duty).
    • Seek medical attention.
  • For minor spills
    • Notify possibly affected personnel
    • Isolate the area using caution tape/barriers if necessary
    • Put on appropriate PPE and check pH
    • Clean it up as appropriate
    • Bag waste for proper disposal
    • Inform staff so spill kit supplies can be replenished if used
  • For major spills
    • Notify possible affected personnel
    • Evacuate the cleanroom
    • Inform IEN Staff. If after hours, contact campus police
    • Shut off hot plate or other equipment, as able, as you exit
    • Pull fire alarm, if necessary (potential hazard for the entire building)

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Contact Information
Hang Chen, Ph.D.
Process Support Manager
The Institute for Electronics and Nanotechnology at Georgia Tech
345 Ferst Drive, Atlanta GA, 30332 | 1152
404.894.3360 |