Usage Rates

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Overview of KNI Lab User Fees

The rates below are valid beginning October 2019 and are subject to change.

  • Charges are incurred on a pay-as-you-go basis.
  • Rates for JPL, Non-Caltech Academic, Government, and Corporate KNI lab members will be subject to Caltech's F&A (indirect/"overhead") costs. The F&A rate for fiscal year 2020 will be displayed here when available. The Caltech F&A rate for FY2019 was 64.5%
  • Individual Tools listed below are charged by the hour or portion thereof.
  • Precious Metal Usage (e.g. Au, Pt, etc.) is billed by the gram or portion thereof. Market prices are passed on to users and do not include Caltech F&A fees.
  • Lab Members who use the TF-30 STEM only are exempt from paying the Monthly Base fee.

Caltech Academic Rates

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KNI Monthly Base fee: $667.14 (soft-cap does not apply; see below for details)

TF-30 STEM in Keck Building: $126.03/hour (soft-cap does not apply)

Example of Soft-Cap Rate in Use

By October 17th, KNI lab members collectively hit the Tier 1 threshold by accruing 292 hours on the EBPG 5000+ and 5200, combined. Hours logged on either system after that point are billed at $33.54/hour. On October 24th, lab members collectively hit the Tier 2 threshold by accruing 354 hours on the tools. From that point forward, time logged on both systems is billed at $13.77/hour, up until 11:59 pm on October 31. At the end of the month, KNI will sum the hours logged at each rate and determine the effective hourly rate for the EBPG Tool Group for October. If 400 hours were logged on the EBPG Tool Group in October, the effective hourly rate will be $56.09/hour, rather than the standard hourly EBPG rate of $67.07 (see formula, below). This effective hourly rate will be applied to every hour logged in the entire month.

Soft-Cap Formula


Monthly Base Rate

The Monthly Base Rate is a flat fee charged per lab member, per month. It includes the use of:

Carbon Evaporator, Critical Point Dryer*, Direct-write Laser (DWL-66)*, Electrical Probing Station, O2/Ar Plasma Cleaner, Parylene Coater, Profilometer, Rapid Thermal Processor, Scriber-Breaker, Spectroscopic Ellipsometer, Tecnai TF-20 TEM, Wafer Bonder, Wafer Stepper, Wire Bonder, chemical wet benches, fluorescence microscope, optical microscopes, related metrology, miscellaneous support tools, and general supplies (e.g. gowning, chemicals, equipment reservation software, etc.)

  • New to monthly base rate

Corporate Memberships

For information on the KNI corporate lab membership plan, please send an email to with details regarding the number of people looking to join as KNI lab members, equipment needs, anticipated start date, and information about the company. Startup companies may qualify for limited-term reduced rates.