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Picture of the Month Gallery - Honorable Runner-ups


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2019, September

Sep 2019

Silicon Downtown after a Vapor HF Flood
Hamed Sattari, Alain Yuji Takabayashi, Q-Lab

This low loss optical crossing “highway overpass” in our silicon photonics chip connects a modern micro metropolitan area, resilient to even the harshest of natural disasters. The suspended optical crossing is patterned in the silicon device layer and the filler tiles have been released after an HF vapor etching process due to insufficient alumina passivation.

Sep 2019

Ferromagnetic confetti
Sho Watanabe, LMGN

Ferromagnetic confetti are released during the fabrication process of artificial quasicrystals made of ferromagnetic nanobars. These confetti pile up higher and higher as they attract each other due to their magnetic forces.

Sep 2019

For the planet
Reza Soleimanzadeh, POWERLab
Mehdi Naamoun , Lake Diamond

The eyebrow-raising news about global climate change coming from the recent scientific studies predict that melting of Antarctica could contribute somewhere between about three to 16 inches to the world’s sea levels rise by 2100. This picture is a not just a SEM image of a diamond chip grown at Lake Diamond SA, but it is also a reminder of the icebergs, how fast they are melting and how worrying the consequences are. Let’s do something for the planet.

Sep 2019

A tetrapod nano-starfish
Hernan Fernando Furci, Q-Lab

The ground-breaking point of this photo is not only that this is the tiniest ever observed starfish, but also that this invertebrate was observed lying directly on silicon (in contrast to all other known species of this family that have only been found lying on silica granulate, commonly known as “sand”). Most of the body of this specimen is made of M108Y exposed with DUV Stepper, except for a thin layer in contact with the ground made of BARC opened in SPTS with He/H2/C4F8 chemistry.

Sep 2019

Modern Art on Silicon
Mohammad Samizadeh, POWERLab

I’m pleased to present the latest artistic masterpiece of the anonymous artist BankSi. The audience say it is showing the moment of Big Bang, however, BankSi said he had absolutely no idea while he was paining this: “it’s just a modern art,” he said. The base price for this amazing paint is 100 kCHF. On top of this price, however, you would need to buy a nice microscope, since it has been painted in micro-scale! This is basically an AZ photoresist on a Si substrate. On top of this photoresist, there was a metal layer which was completely etched by IBE, making the photoresist underneath so nice. The picture has be taken by optical microscope in Z11.

Sep 2019

Micro-Iceberg in a Golden Ocean
Micol Previde Massara, Hamed Sattari, Q-Lab

Global warming should be taken seriously even in the cleanroom! In order to test the lift-off process with DUV photoresist, we deposited Chromium and Gold on our wafer in LAB 600H. Due to a poor photoresist adhesion and the stress induced by the deposited film, our photoresist iceberg cracked, and it is going to split into pieces in the golden ocean.

2019, August

Aug 2019

Crystalline Agaricus Bisporus
Akshay Balgarkashi, Santhanu Ramanandan, LMSC

While attempting to grow nanowire heterostructure arrays on a rainy day, our molecular beam epitaxy system could not resist producing nano-mushrooms. Unlike the ones growing in a garden, these mushrooms show pristine crystalline caps which could be observed by tweaking the collector bias and capturing the images using signal mixing from InLens and SE2 detectors. Though they might be tempting, it's a pity they are not edible.

 

Aug 2019

Geometry in balance
Riccardo Callegari, CERN

The XeF2 over etching always creates original geometric shapes in silicon. It is not uncommon to find precariously balanced sculptures as the one shown in the picture, taken with the LEO.

Aug 2019

Don't look down!
Rui Ning Wang, LPQM

This suspended SiO2 waveguide is about 1um wide and 4um thick, and spans a gap 300um long. If you are a photon, mind the edge when crossing because we didn't put any safety handrails. And it's a dizzying fall of 250um high into a sea of black sticky SEM adhesive.

Aug 2019

ALD showers bring August flowers
Michele Bozzetti, INE

The sample is a porous matrix of Carbon Black and PTFE where ZnO Atomic Layer Deposition was performed using the "Beneq TFS200" tool from CMI. 

2019, July

Jul 2019

Ephemeral Micro Skyscrapers
Joffrey Pernollet, CMi

These rectangular protruding structures are believed to be NaCl crystals, that built-up on Soda Lime glass surface (15% of Na2O) after Cl2/O2 reactive ion etching of a chromium layer, with a significant over-etch period. The chromium layer is visible in the background, with the photoresist mask still on top. These crystals grew up fast, much taller than all layers on the substrate, and forming a tiny isolated city of micro skyscrapers originated from nowhere. They remained ephemeral, as they all completely vanished after DI water rinse of the sample.

 

2019, June

Jun 2019

µCoins 2
Joffrey Pernollet, CMi

These SiO2 discs, with surprising standing positions, were released by an excessive isotropic XeF2 under-etching of the Silicon they were originally patterned onto.

 

Jun 2019

µ-Stonehenge
Andrea Giunto, LMSC

Surface contamination caused this weird formation during GeSn sputtering on a Ge substrate. Microcrystals assembled to form what resembles a µ-Stonehenge, seen from the top. Why the adatoms organized in this configuration remains unknown. Will the resolution of this mystery provide source  of inspiration for understanding the origin and use of the real, meter-sized Stonehenge?

Jun 2019

Stand Tall
Mohammadjafar Bereyhi, LPQM

It’s quite difficult to stay strong when everything is being attacked by high energy plasma in a dry etcher, unless you have a strong wall to lean on! This picture is from an alignment mark that is used to align two ebeam patterns using negative resist (FOx 16). As a result the ebeam search area is exposed to electrons and the resist is partially exposed and hardened after development in that region. The ebeam mask is used to do silicon etching using BOSCH process and the marker has been protected with the partially exposed resist during the DRIE process. The ebeam search pattern for alignment is visible on top of this “tower” (series of equally spaced concentric dots).

Jun 2019

Micro Suspension Bridge
Amir Youssefi, LPQM

A tiny (80nm thick) Aluminium bridge suspended on top of a shallow (150nm depth) trench in the Si substrate. This structure is used to form a mechanically compliant superconducting parallel plate capacitor as a building block of the quantum electromechanical systems.

2019, May

May 2019

µ-Spiral
Esteban Bermudez, AMI Friburg

This glass micro-spiral resulted from a stress-driven mechanism when releasing a 60 nm SiO2 thin film from the substrate. Sample patterning, thin film depositions and etching steps were carried out at the CMi, while the SEM imaging was performed at the Adolphe Merkle Institute in Fribourg.

May 2019

It’s hockey time!
Matthias Neuenschwander, LBNI

For the micro-world cup, an ice-rink fount its way onto my wafer. It is suspended in a silicon frame and consists of nitride-polymer-nitride sandwich structure. The line-markings are made of poly-silicon (blue-ish) or gold (yellow). Even though they are situated below the first nitride film, these lines can be seen with the SEM using a relatively high voltage. The colour is obtained by overlaying an optical microscopy image in Photoshop.

May 2019

Ancient corridor
Andrey Chernev, LBEN

Si wafer was processed at CMi (photolithography), then KOH etched and imaged with SEM. SiN mask detached while wet etching, so the step was not successful, however this caused some beautiful designs.

May 2019

Grandveaux terraces
Andrey Chernev, LBEN

Si wafer was processed at CMi (photolithography), then KOH etched and imaged with SEM. SiN mask detached while wet etching, so the step was not successful, however this caused some beautiful designs.

May 2019

Micro black hole
Henry S.C. Yu, LMIS1

This is a Quick-Stick structure formed after O2 plasma treatment in the Tepla tool at BM+1. It seems some of the Quick-Stick around a chip on a Si wafer melted and splashed around to form small droplets during the process.

2019, April

Apr 2019

Catherine
Catherine Leutenegger, C.L.
Zdenek Benes, Julien Dorsaz, CMI

Microscale miniature of Catherine Leutenegger’s full body and one of the worlds smallest statues of a human form, the 300um-tall figurine is printed using laser-based two-photon polymerization of a UV-sensitive epoxy resin on a Nanoscribe tool at CMi. 3D scan by Minimoi, Renens.

Apr 2019

Renaissance style sapphire mullion window
Clémentine Lipp, LMIS4

Al2O3 alignment marks turn into beautiful renaissance style windows when the process contains an underetching step. Who would have guessed that Windows 11 would be Windows Sapphire?

Apr 2019

The Rise of the Undead HSQ
Aleksa Djorovic, NAM

After a seemingly standard E-beam exposure, something extraordinary occurred to the HSQ mask. The HSQ rebelled! Not only did the smaller rectangular strips migrate towards their longer counterparts - but then they started to rise! Building nano-bridges of HSQ not more than 40 nm high - pulling each other up to create a spectacular sight of 3D structure from extremely thin layers of HSQ - reminiscent of the HSQ trying to rise from the wafer... HSQ mask on chromium and aluminum.

Apr 2019

How it’s made: Micro Push Pins
Teodoro Graziosi, Q-LAB

Here are two single crystal diamond “micro push pins”: the red one is not yet ready and it will need more etching before being used. These “push pins”, or more precisely micro-disks, are fabricated starting from a single crystal diamond plate. After electron-beam lithography and vertical etching in a high bias oxygen plasma, the release is performed with a high power, high temperature, and zero bias oxygen plasma. The blue micro-disk was etched too long and it is unfortunately only good to hang microscopic posters.

Apr 2019

CNT roots
Sadegh Kamaei Bahmaei, Nanolab

CNT (carbon nanotubes) suspension on the AL foil after drop casting and drying in the air. Nanometric CNTs are similar to the roots of trees, in this case, "CNT roots".

Apr 2019

CNT bridges
Sadegh Kamaei Bahmaei, Nanolab

CNT (carbon nanotubes) suspension on the AL foil after drop casting and drying in the air. Nanometric CNTs bridge 2 different networks of agglomerated CNTs. It looks like a roof which is supported by the CNTs posts.

Apr 2019

The Scream
Clémentine Lipp, LMIS4

Edvard Munch understood. When the energy deposited by an SEM into a non-conductive wafer exceeds the wafers capacity to absorb it, the wafer screams!

Apr 2019

Metallic toothbrush
Romain Charfaz, NEMS

This picture is a cross-section observation of a 450 nm PBZT (PbBaZrTiO) columnar structure grown by PLD (Pulsed Laser Deposition) on a 50 nm Platinum layer (on an Si substrate).

2019, March

Mar 2019

What do you see?
Simon Robert Escobar Steinvall, LMSC

When investigating bottom up growth of nanostructures, the growth results can have an effect similar to a Rorschach test. What does this SEM image of a vapour-liquid-solid grown zinc phosphide nanostructure resemble to you? Is it a nano-gun of the future? Rudolph the indium nosed reindeer? A long nosed dog with pointy ears? A unicorn? The possibilities are endless!

Mar 2019

Seated man with banjo
Ana Conde Rubio, LMIS1

Scanning Electron Microscope picture where you can see an aggregation of Au particles of different shapes that look like a seated man playing banjo.

Mar 2019

Aluminum neurons
Kamila Guérin, LPMV

This optical microscope image shows the edge of the wafer covered with Cr/Al/Au. During the development of AZ9260 on the other side of the wafer, aluminum layer got “attacked” by the developer revealing neurons-like artifact.

Mar 2019

A tungsten new logo?
Lucas Güniat, LMSC

Wanting to deposit tungsten using the room temperature_fast recipe on the DP650 sputtering machine instead of the room temperature_uniform lead to a cracking of my 100nm-thick PMMA layer! Luckily, the EPFL "logo" that I exposed is intact, surrounded by this intricate cracky-pattern. It seems that this new identity has been built to stand the test of time!

2019, February

Feb 2019

Distant planets
Anastasiia Glushkova, LPMC

The SEM image of the curved glass with grown crystals of methylammonium lead bromide resembles a surface of an unknown planet interesting for research.

Feb 2019

Focus star
Georges-André Racine, Niccolò Piacentini, CMi

Proximity-induced interference modifying the center of a "focus star" test structure. AZ MIR701 resist on EVG150/MA6genIII, SEM Zeiss Merlin.

Feb 2019

Silver amor
Nuño Amador Mendez, Wonjong Kim, LMSC

In the picture we can see two different kinds of nanowires. In the background are the InP nanowires encapsulated in SU8 with an ITO layer on top, for solar cell applications. The dispersed nanowires in the front are made of Silver, and the purpose of them is to make a transparent contact on the top. This beautiful union between nanowires was observed on Saint Valentine's day.

Feb 2019

Melting of glaciers
Debdatta Ray, NAM

Global warming has not only taken a toll on the world climate but has also made its presence felt on my wafer with the silicon substrate. The glaciers are made of gold and silver alloy, deposited and alloyed in CMi cleanroom, whereas the sea water is a combination of silicon, gold and silver.

Feb 2019

CMi Microlace, AOP
Joachim Ciers, LASPE

The centuries old artisanal technique of lace is brought to the microscale at CMi. These 50 nm wide wires are lifted-off from an optical grating coupler on a GaN waveguide. The structures are fabricated with e-beam lithography and metal evaporation.

Feb 2019

Quand tout est à recommencer
Clémentine Lipp, LMIS4

This image represent your expression under your face mask when you realize the whole process is to be started all over again. Luckily it wasn't the case of this vertical cell trap fabricated in a glass substrate using a patterned alumina layer, HF etching and a deposition of low temperature oxide. 

2019, January

Jan 2019

Miniaturized Rolex learning center
Nicolas Maïno, LMIS4

As for the original, successive layer of silicon dioxide, titanium and gold concretes were applied through sputtering side wall re-deposition on a photoresist scaffold. The result is an open free-standing roof bringing light to the inner patio of platinum.

Jan 2019

The Matrix
Dorian Herle, Q-LAB

It was a perfectly normal day when I sat down as usual in front of the CMi SEM tool. Then it happened. An odd-looking object began to deform space. Didn’t I take the blue pill this morning?! Mr. Smith smiled: “What you are seeing is called charging”. I nodded politely: “Of course.” Everything in this world could always be explained in rational terms. I was a fool. Yet, for the first time in my existence I could not help but question, if what I was seeing, or believing to see, was actually real.

Jan 2019

A micro-star is born!
Zhiwei Yang, Xia Liu, LMIS1

This is an SEM image that shows a pre-patterned SU-8 star transferred onto another glass substrate using laser-induced forward transfer (LIFT) technique.

Jan 2019

Goku SSU8
Riccardo Dainese, LSBG

There is always lots of unused space between microfluidic molds on a wafer. So I decided to put this space to a good use and pay my tribute to a legend. The image is composed of SU8 micro-pillars whose cross-section is directly proportional to the gray-scale pixel value in the corresponding digital image. The image was taken with one of the microscopes of the CMi. The R2-D2 made with the Nanoscribe is cool, but Goku SSU8 is super.

Jan 2019

Melted SU-8 pralines
Kevin Keim, CLSE

These Suisse platinum-coated SU-8 pralines, were left to close to the heating after Christmas. Over the break, the SU-8 melted away and left this impressive image.

2018, December

Dec 2018

Rain on my wafer
Hernan Fernando Furci, CERN

After having released a 5-micron thick SiO2 structure, supported by pillars sculpted from the Si substrate, raindrops (of Au and Sn) fell on mi wafer, projecting dry shadows on the remainder of the substrate (which lies 8 microns beneath the SiO2) right under the released pattern.

2018, November

Nov 2018

Half-pipe wave
Esteban Bermudez Ureña, Soft Matter Physics, AMI

With the cold winter season approaching, many CMi users will be dreaming of escaping the cleanroom to some tropical paradise. However, the perfect half-pipe waves might be closer (and smaller) than you think. The image shows a self-rolled SiO2/Au bilayer film that suffered some defects along the way, creating a curious breaking wave-like 3D shape.  The substrate patterning (MLA150) and thin film deposition (LAB600H & SPIDER) were carried out at the CMi. The roll-up process and SEM imaging were performed at the Adolphe Merkle Institute in Fribourg.

Nov 2018

Octahedral copper electro-catalyst after work
Jan Vavra, INE

Some particles survived without a scratch, others left only their shadow behind and some are on their way to complete destruction. Picture was taken on the Osiris TEM of CIME, and the electron transparent sample support, 50 nm SiNx with 18 nm glassy carbon was fabricated in the CMi cleanrooms.

2018, October

Oct 2018

A window over the world of magic
Riccardo Callegari, CERN

Need to get inspired for your next abstract painting? Let the XeF2 do his job and just copy that. What you are looking at is the bottom of a microchannel, etched by XeF2, seen from an opening in the overlying silicon. The entire fabrication has been done with the CMi equipment and the picture has been taken with the MERLIN.

Oct 2018

Let there be light…
Akshay Balgarkashi, LMSC

This GaAs nanowire chooses to lighten up and brighten the surroundings even as the others choose not to, just as we are here not to curse the darkness but to light up the candle leading us to a technologically bright future. These vertically standing quantum thin nanoneedles on patterned silicon substrates are grown by molecular beam epitaxy on top of GaAs nanowires just by varying the As flux during growth.

Oct 2018

Winter is coming!
Tzu-chin Chang Chien, LMSC

An iron snowman accidentally fell down on the silicon wafer, making its nose crooked, ouch! The winter is coming!

Oct 2018

Full moon
Mohammadjafar Bereyhi, LPQM

Full moon appears on a chip to brighten its darkest night… This is a picture of a silicon dioxide micro-disk that has different thickness compared to the adjacent rectangular pads (visible in corners of the picture), it has been filled with poly-silicon as a sacrificial layer and polished using CMP. After that a nanobeam made of silicon nitride is patterned on top of the flat surface and patterned with electron beam using HSQ. In this picture the CMP process did not work very well on this region of the wafer so the surface of the disk is not well-polished and as a result it looks like patterns that exist on the moon.

Oct 2018

Worm Attack
Marcelo Alejandro González Alanís, LMSC

These worms, rich in Ge, were created by rapid thermal annealing at 300 °C for only 10 seconds on a sputtered Ge0.8Sn0.2 thin film (50nm). But beware, they know Halloween is coming and they are hungry for any type of candy you might leave forgotten on your desk.

Oct 2018

Mind the nano-gap!
Maneesha Rupakula, NANOLAB

A word of caution for adventurous hikers: You are strongly advised to watch out for crevasses also in the Aletsch glacier of the miniature world. Do familiarize yourself with the rescue procedures before proceeding! In other words, you are looking at a tall (Aspect ratio = W:H = 1:6) of collapsed 50nm line and space pattern in ARN resist after development.

2018, September

Sep 2018

Micro-Iron throne at the edge of the world
William Courbat, LMIS4

Characters from Game Of Thrones were tired of sitting in the dark room of the throne, so they moved it at the end of a cantilever to appreciate the view and the fresh air. This Silicon Micro-Throne is the result of contaminants during a Bosch process. Particles masked parts of the wafer leading to these long structures. It now sits on a 2um thick, 50um wide and 350um long AFM cantilever.

Sep 2018

Parylene leaf
Riccardo Callegari, CERN

Also the parylene leaves in autumn begin to wither.

Sep 2018

From the bottom to the skies, love is the essence.
Amin Hodaei, SMaL

Floating on the clouds, at the bottom of the matter, two lovers united. These lovers are made up of calcium carbonate nanoparticles which have been synthesized using a microfluidic spray-drier fabricated at CMi.

Sep 2018

Les Triangles
Rajrupa Paul, LMSC

Zn3P2 nano-triangles grown on graphene using MBE.

2018, August

Aug 2018

Fire, full moon
Mohammad Bereyhi, LPQM

This is an optical image of silicon oxide patterns on silicon. The circle is going to be an optical microdisk resonator and it has a different thickness than the surrounding pads, that is why it has a different color. It has been planarized using Poly-Si sacrificial layer and chemical mechanical polishing (CMP). The square pattern on the circle is an HSQ mask written with ebeam in order to calibrate the possible offset of the circle and rectangular pads from the original mask. This can happen due to nonlinear and possible anisotropic etching nature of BH. This picture resembles an artwork by Paul Klee, a Swiss-German artist from 1930s, called “Fire, full moon”.

Aug 2018

Heartwarming love
Mojtaba Rezaei, LAS

Optical profilometry image of the surface of an epitaxially grown Cu(111) on a sapphire substrate. Although not achieving the desired smooth surface this time, the heartwarming love in the upper right corner of the image keeps you motivated and happy to continue optimizing the synthesis; knowing that the materials you synthesize appreciate your work and show you their love and support!

Aug 2018

Shattered Dreams
Sebastian James Davis, LBEN

You expect to see a perfectly conical glass nanocapillary. Instead all you get is a callback to an 80's pop song... nothing but shattered dreams, shattered dreams. Feel like I could run away, run away. From this PhD. (apologies for the bad singing) Unfortunately, while inspecting pulled glass nanocapillaries that should be ~50nm in size, it becomes glaringly obvious when a handling mistake has been made, and a capillary broken.

2018, July

Jul 2018

Deux étoiles...
Benoît Desbiolles, LMIS4

Scanning electron microscope image of star-shaped silicon nano-patterns standing on a glass substrate. A thin membrane of stressed silicon can be observed in the structure. This was simply done by combining standard photo-lithography with ion beam etching. 100% Made in Cmi.

Jul 2018

Micro-ant’s summertime
Hamed Sattari, Q-Lab

This lucky poly-silicon ant rests over its 1um deep fancy swimming pool, these hot days! It should be thankful of a clean HF vapor release process. For creating this micro-ant and its swimming pool, starting from a silicon wafer with 1um wet oxide layer, we first dry-etched the oxide down to the handling silicon layer (green area). Afterwards, a 100nm thick LPCVD poly-silicon layer became deposited over the wafer. Next, we patterned the ant using full dry etching of the poly-silicon layer. The VPG direct laser writer has been used for the lithography steps. Finally, we fully released the ant using HF vapor release process, which removed all the 1um thick oxide inside the puddle and under the ant.

Jul 2018

The trampoline over the swimming pool
Hamed Sattari, Q-Lab

We have all the facilities prepared for you down here on our chip. Just come here and enjoy your summer at CMi! To fabricate this structure first we had to dry-etch fully 1um of wet oxide down to the handling silicon layer (green area). Afterwards, a 100nm thick LPCVD poly-silicon layer became deposited over the wafer. Next, we patterned the trampoline using full dry etching of the poly-silicon layer. The VPG direct laser writer has been used for the lithography steps. Finally, we fully released the structure using HF vapor release process, which removed all the 1um thick oxide inside the swimming pool and under the net.

Jul 2018

Graphene Galaxy
Akshay Balgarkashi, LMSC

Revealing the observable universe of graphene. These Ga droplets arrange themselves like planets, stars and galaxies along the grain boundaries and cracks on a monolayer of graphene revealing a galaxy not so far from us.

Jul 2018

Hungry Crystal Fly
Aysu Ceren Okur, SMaL

I found this little one eating up my crystals to grow! Micron sized calcium succinate crystals were obtained upon drying of aerosol that are generated through surface acoustic waves. Interdigitating transducer electrodes on piezoelectric substrate which produces surface acoustic waves were fabricated in CMI.

Jul 2018

Lunar Eclipse
Mahdi Sahafi, LBEN

The second total lunar eclipse of 2018 was visible in large parts of Australia, Asia, Africa, Europe, and South America. It is the longest eclipse of the 21st century. If you lost it, you can come to CMi and see it again…. WAIT! … In fact, it is a top-side image of a glass nano-capillary under Merlin SEM, built for the detection of the DNA translocations.

Jul 2018

MBE Ninjas
Martin Friedl, LMSC

Oh no! Those pesky MBE Ninjas have infiltrated our lab and started operating our molecular beam epitaxy chamber to produce their shurikens! Though you have to give them credit, they are using the ingenious approach of selective area epitaxy. Here, a SiO2 mask limits the growth of GaAs membranes to specific lines oriented on a GaAs substrate to achieve the desired pattern. Maybe these structures could also be useful for quantum transport experiments... Hmm, we should try that!

2018, June

Jun 2018

Nano coral reef
Kevin Keim, CLSE

This nano coral reef appeared after metal coating and ion beam etching of our three dimensional electrodes. In the background one can see SU-8 dunes and rocks of remaining platinum.

2018, May

May 2018

The Eye of Sauron
Matthias Neuenschwander, LBNI

Top view of Barad-Dûr, showing the ever-watchful eye of Sauron, suspended between the two peaks of his tower in Mordor. In reality, this is an optical microscope image and was taken in dark field mode. The two 'peaks' are SU8 pillars, whereas the eye is an (accidental) bubble in a sacrificial layer.

May 2018

Micro Twitter Bird
Lorenz Hagelüken, LMIS1

This sweet mountain bluebird was procreated in the Nanoscribe Professional GT by NIR photons interacting with a drop of IP-Dip resist. After graftage with an 18 nm gold coating (DP 650), it has been released for its first flight in the Zeiss LEO 1550’s vacuum chamber. Its raison d’être is just to spread good news to the world :-)

May 2018

Not stars and space
Ahmed Aqeel, LQNO

Nanoparticles dropcasted to a flat gold surface with hemispherical holes irradiated in BF microscope. 

May 2018

Death Star
Ahmed Aqeel, LQNO

AuNPs in a hemispherical hole in flat gold....Looks  a lot like death star.

May 2018

Ice-cream cone factory
Ece Ozelci, CERN Cryolab

A tiny ice-cream cone factory has been launched on our Transition Edge Sensor's delaminated Cr/Au coating.

May 2018

Snake in DLD labyrinth
Kevin Keim, CLSE

This snake left its platinum skin in front of this deterministic lateral displacement (DLD) labyrinth out of metal covered SU-8 posts. Is it large enough after its shedding to get straight through the labyrinth or will it get displaced by a magic dielectrophoretic force hidden in the labyrinth?

2018, Apr

Apr 2018

µ-piano
Giulia Panusa, LO

One day I was working late in CMi and suddenly I heard some music coming from somewhere. I decided to follow the music and I ended up in front of the Zeiss LEO in Zone 1. Therefore I peeked inside and with surprise I found a µ-piano!!!! This 3D model was fabricated by means of two-photon polymerization with the new Nanoscribe 3D printer in a polymer photoresist and in a dip-in objective configuration. The µ-piano is about 50 µm high and was written in less than one hour. Let's hope it plays again soon!

Apr 2018

Tracuit mountain hut
Misael Caloz, GAP Quantum Technologies

This is what happens when you do to many e-beam sessions: at some point you get bored, start to think about why you started your PhD thesis or eventually you start to write a small python script that takes any .jpg image and transforms it into a gdsii file, you expose it on one of your wafers, etch it, and finally take a SEM image of it. The original photograph was taken by myself (also this month), it shows the Tracuit mountain hut (3256 m) in Valais, Switzerland the day I did the Bishorn ascension (4153m).

2018, March

Mar 2018

Nanomaze
Ahmed Aqeel, LQNO

To analyze their shape, 80nm diameter Au nanoparticles were dropcasted on template stripped Au substrates and left for evaporation. The particles seem to form eccentric maze like structures.

Mar 2018

Fluffy guy, I’m gonna eat you!
Julia Tischler, LBNC

Cell culture chamber with pillars and flow channels patterned in SU-8 (30um high), with valves patterned in AZ (20um high), on Si-wafer. ‘Alien’ (top, middle) = cell culture chamber (alien’s head) with pillars (eyes & nose) and valves extending to the left & right (ears), mouth with huge tongue (valve, reflowed) below. ‘Fluffy guy’ = particle that has landed on the flow channel. Patterning and imaging performed at CMI.​

Mar 2018

Micro-golf ball potential flow display
Hernan Fernando Furci, CERN

In this picture you can appreciate an artistic view of what the classical potential flow function of an inviscid fluid looks like around a microscopic golf ball. Technique: Delaminated-mask HF-etching on borofloat.

2018, February

Feb 2018

3D Helices
Julien Dorsaz, CMi

These 3D helices are printed with the Nanoscribe professional photonic GT using two-photon absorption mechanism, in piezoscanning mode. The voxel, i.e. 3D pixel, dimensions are 1 um in z-axis and 200nm in both x- and y-axis. Here the voxel follows a mathematically-defined 3D trajectory by scanning into the negative photoresist using the piezostage motors. This results in a very smooth surface.

Feb 2018

Valentine's day with nanowires
Oscar Garcia, Lucas Guniat, LMSC

Mirrored image of GaAs nanowires grown on silicon pillars.  The spirit of Valentine's day is present in our sample, where nanowires seem to build the shape of a heart. Valentine's day is meant to be spent with your true love, and so we did, having a date with our nanowires at LEO SEM.

Feb 2018

Heart of quantum electro-mechanical system
Amir Youssefi, LPQM

A star-like superconducting vacuum gap capacitor with a freestanding top plate made from Aluminium. This is the heart of every quantum electro-mechanical system.

Feb 2018

CMiley emoji
Esteban Bermudez Ureña, Soft Matter Physics, AMI

Underetching of a Ge layer with SiO2 on top. Upon drying, the SiO2 membrane attaches to the underlying Si substrate with some curious wrinkle shapes. Thin film depositions were carried out at the LAB600H and SPIDER systems. Underetching and optical microscope image performed at the Adolphe Merkle Institute in Fribourg.

Feb 2018

Flying over coral reefs
Hernan Fernando Furci, CERN

Air views of coral micro-reefs on an aluminium coated wafer. The topology is the result of overheated resin during an IBE process. The resulting bubbles and cracks interact with the optical microscope light and provide these beautiful landscapes.

2018, January

Jan 2018

Zinc by MBE
Lucas Guniat, LMSC

"What a strange story is the one of our fluffy little friend. His body, made out of a 200 nanometer silicon pillar, was lacking arms and legs. In despair, not able to see or talk, he thought his life was programmed for an eternal darkness. But one day changed everything : This day where, after being introduced into an MBE chamber, he started seeing bright spots, fringes and pillars like him all around. "What a strange looking dream!" he then said. "I wonder if real life looks similar". It took him 10 minutes at 730 degrees Celsius to realize he was not dreaming: Gallium condensation had given him eyes to see, and a mouth to talk. "I will never stop admiring the beauty of the world!", he declared. Unfortunately, the temperature of the MBE going down, it would be harder and harder for him to move his lips and eyes, until reaching a point where his eyes wouldn't blink. He was petrified, condemned to wear this horrible expression the rest of his existence, having no longer a voice to complain."

Jan 2018

Grains of graphene
Tom Larsen, NEMS

Suspended sheet of CVD graphene. Grain boundaries and areas with multilayer graphene are clearly visible. Image taken using the SEM Merlin at CMi.

Jan 2018

A valley on Mars
Mohammad Samizadeh, POWERLAB

It looks like a valley in a plateau. Maybe on Mars! But this valley is made after a huge number of sparks in a micro-plasma device on a chip! The concept is similar to ion beam etching. In each spark we make electrons as well as ions. The heavy ions are accelerated toward the gold electrode and etch it! One can say that it is an on-chip etcher. Picture is taken after one thousand sparks.

Jan 2018

Contemporary microart
Remco van Erp, POWERLAB

Optical microscope picture of trenches in GaN on silicon with an undercut in specific crystal planes resulting in a picture that looks like it could be straight out of the museum of contemporary art. Maybe one day it will be worth a lot of money, but for now my best bet is the picture of the month. Made with Nikon Eclipse LV150.

2017, December

Dec 2017

Zinc by MBE
Mahdi Zamani, LMSC

The attempt at growing zinc by Molecular Beam Epitaxy machine at 70 C results in the bacteria-like features depicted here. The low growth temperature prevents the merging of the platelets.

Dec 2017

First snowdrops
Anastasiia Glushkova, LPMC

Morphology of methylammonium lead iodide. Surprisingly enough, some crystals just can't help but being a flower.

Dec 2017

Gold planet with orbiting moon
Gaetan Bernard, LMSC

Gold nanoparticle prepared by dynamic templating has gold droplets on high energy regions and a double belt.

2017, November

Nov 2017

Fire and Ice
Martin Friedl, LMSC

It's amazing what you can see with a simple optical microscope. Seen here are patterns of 70/100 nm wide and 300/600 nm tall GaAs fins standing vertically on a GaAs substrate. Normally you would have a hard time seeing them in an optical microscope, but we can play a neat trick! By tuning the microscope light polarization we can enhance their contrast and even resolve individual fins! The icing on the cake is that their orange and blue colour is a direct consequence of their geometry (height and width) which reflects only certain wavelengths of light! Nikon Optiphot 200 (Zone 15) - two stitched images

Nov 2017

Phase shift kaleidoscope
Leo Garin, Kim Wonjong, LMSC

It is an AFM job done of a phase shift photo lithography. Everything has been done in CMi. From the mask, mask alignment crosses, phase shift photolithography and AFM job. The intent goal was to make an array of holes but two parameters seem off. First the space is not regular, it means that the mask is not the good length or not perpendicular enough. Second, there is only one out of two lines that is good, it can be that the steps are tilted regarding the incident light. But it still gives very homogeneous results over the whole sample, making this nice kaleidoscope-like pattern.

Nov 2017

One snowy night
Kim Wonjong, LMSC

Here is the SEM image of one snowy night on nanowires world. Already we are close to the end of this year. I guess I am not the only one who wishes for snow. We could not bring the snow into the SEM so we decided to deposit PECVD grown oxide on our GaAs NW arrays. Image was taken in CMI, Zone 15, SEM Merlin.

2017, October

Oct 2017

Carved in gold
Aqeel Ahmed, LQNO

Markers on gold thin film produced by photolithography are viewed in dark-field microscope at 10X magnification. The image was taken right after Ion beam etching and before removal of photoresist. The distance between markers is 25um.

Oct 2017

Wafer Firmament
Matthias Neuenschwander, LBNI

I (not-entirely on purpose) over-heated my photoresist. Now it is showing beautiful stellar constellations, some sort of star-spangled firmament covering a flat disc. Optical microscope image.

Oct 2017

Golden anomaly
Aqeel Ahmed, LQNO

Anomalies formed on the surface on 100nm of Au evaporated on Si wafer. The image was taken at 20X magnification in bright-field microscope.

Oct 2017

Giving life
Lucas Guniat, LMSC

"Who would have thought that carrying a baby would be so hard, yet would give you so much love? Indeed, when this defect of an SiO2 oxide on top of a silicon wafer knew that it was expecting a surprise from our MBE (molecular beam epitaxy) machine, its first reaction was: "Oh sheesh, how long will this last? An entire growth time?". But then, after several degassing steps and baking temperatures, the only question in its mind was: "Is it a Gallium droplet, or a GaAs compound?". After the echography, we had the chance to put our hands on one of the photos. Of course, we didn't reveal to the mom the true nature of its creation..."

Oct 2017

Microfabrication to the extreme
Julien Dorsaz, CMI

When scientists take miniaturization backwards! Instead of manufacturing the world smallest chips on a huge wafer, they decide to build a single-chip on the world smallest wafer. Here you can see a wafer inside its cassette printed in 3D, using two-photon absorption, with a Nanoscribe Photonic GT system. The wafer is about 20um in diameter. The whole structure collapsed during the development step due to insufficient polymerization of the Ormocomp negative resist.

2017, September

Sep 2017

The Balance Of Nature
Marta Airaghi Leccardi, LNE
Benoit Desbiolles , LMIS4

Nano-fabrication technologies allows us to produce bio-inspired patterns responsible for specific physical phenomena. Here, we propose you a SEM image of the ideal pattern developed by Nature in order to generate colors of butterfly wings. Beautiful to the naked eye and even more at the micro-scale. Scale bar: 10um

Sep 2017

Glass µ-cylinders
Esteban Bermudez Ureña, Soft Matter Physics, AMI

New stock of glass cylinders for your chemistry experiments. The image shows rolled-up SiO2 microtubes obtained after removing a sacrificial layer beneath a stressed SiO2 film. Substrate patterning, thin film deposition and etching was carried out at CMi. The roll-up process and tilted SEM imaging was performed at the Adolphe Merkle Institute in Fribourg.

2017, August

Aug 2017

Groovy Diamond
Marcell Kiss, Q-LAB

Atomically smooth V-groove gratings are something we have all seen... the catch? These are fabricated in single crystal diamond instead of silicon, using an oxygen plasma etch instead of KOH/TMAH.

Aug 2017

The Ring
Filip Boskovic, LBEN

The Ring is a traditional symbol of infinity or eternity, the transposition of the magic circle into the real world of tangible, functional objects. In a magical sense, wearing a ring binds you with power, with energy. The material (glass) of which the ring is constructed, plus your visualization (SEM), determine the nature of this energy (science). The appearance or attractiveness of a ring, or its material value, is of little importance in magic as well as in process of pushing capillaries to the nanoscale. Shrinking glass rings is all about magic - the transposition of the magic circle into the real world of tangible, functional glass nanocapillaries, commitment to the last breath.

Aug 2017

Confetti Minifab
Marta Airaghi Leccardi, LNE
Benoit Desbiolles , LMIS4

In view of a birthday party, we attempted to produce mini-confetti. The process involved a direct patterning of a photo-sensitive polymer, which is soft to the touch for the complete comfort of the customer. However, something went wrong... It seems that the color sorting tool could not follow the high manufacturing rate usually achieved at CMi. The quality control could record the consequences of this malfunctioning and send us an alert. Scale bar: 10um

2017, July

Jul 2017

SiTONEHENGE
Stefano Varricchio, LMIS4

Ruins of prehistoric silicon nanopillars covered through the ages by a layer of SiO2. The utility of the structure is still uncertain, archeologist believe it delimits a burial ground for the hopes and dreams of PhD students working at night.

Jul 2017

Hong Kong Skyscrapers
Ahmad Reza Motezakker, NEMS

This SEM image reminds me the Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong, the tallest urban agglomeration of the world. These beautiful structures are just silicon nano-grass which can be fabricated by Deep Reactive Ion Etching process. If you are looking for a super-hydrophobic structure, just grow them on the surface.

2017, June

Jun 2017

Silly cat contamination
Clementine Lipp, EP-DD-DT/CERN

Too much space on a silicon wafer for a standard DRIE and a silly designer might result in the apparition of wild silicate contamination.

Jun 2017

Freestanding micro-bridge
Adrien Toros, Q-LAB

This micro-bridge is one of the first structures released with the newly installed SPTS uEtch HF Vapor Etcher! The bridge and the pillars are made of Polysilicon, deposited on a patterned silicon oxide sacrificial layer. After patterning the Polysilicon layer, the silicon oxide was HF-vapor etched to release this 7 um long and 1um wide freestanding bridge. All fabrication steps were done at CMi with the VPG200 Laser writer, and three different etching tools : SPTS APS (Oxide etch), AMS200 (PolySi etch) and SPTS uEtch (HF Vapor release).

Jun 2017

Swiss-roll
Esteban Bermudez, Soft Matter Physics, AMI

A new micro-tunnel for the Swiss tunnel network. The image shows what happens when a strained 50 nm thick layer of SiO2 is released from an underlying sacrificial layer: the film self-assembles into a Swiss-roll like structure. Substrate patterning and thin film deposition was carried out at CMi while the rolling and imaging was performed at the Adolphe Merkle Institute in Fribourg.

Jun 2017

Nature's Little Helper
Ian Rousseau, LASPE
Giovanni Santoruvo, POWERLAB

40 nm side length hexagonal holes with super sharp corners were made in a 300 nm thick gallium nitride membrane suspended over a silicon substrate by electron beam lithography, dry, vapor, and wet etching. The lithography and dry etching resulted in rounded corners, but, since the nanostructure was aligned with the epilayer crystal, anisotropic wet etching stopped on a pre-defined crystal plane. The hexagonal shape is caused by the of the wurtzite symmetry of the gallium nitride epilayer nano-bee-m.

Jun 2017

Sitting Bull
Michal Macha, LBEN

If you start seeing indian chiefs in your thin crystals, you know it is time to stop inhaling methanol in the lab. This very obvious picture, which was absolutely and undoubtedly what we wanted to achieve in this experiment, is a depiction of chief Sitting Bull. Made of Mo, S and O atoms. Although, if one rejects his imagination, one can say that the picture shows a Mo-oxysulfide crystals grown in chemical vapor deposition process on a Si/SiO2 wafer. This process is used to create mono-atomic layers of MoS2 which are used to e.g. fabricate single-molecule sensing devices. The structure seen on the picture, obviously not monoatomic, happens when you put "slightly" too much of the growth precursor inside CVD growth tube.

2017, May

May 2017

Art of crystal 1
Huachuan Du, SMAL

This is a SEM image of calcium carbonate crystals produced by microfluidic spray dryer. The different morphology comes from their different crystalline structure. The spray dryer is fabricated by following the soft lithography protocol in CMi.

May 2017

Art of crystal 2
Huachuan Du, SMAL

This is a SEM image of calcium carbonate crystals produced by microfluidic spray dryer. The different morphology comes from their different crystalline structure. The spray dryer is fabricated by following the soft lithography protocol in CMi.

May 2017

Crème caramel
Hanie Kavand, Benoît Desbiolles, LMIS4

Say goodbye to nonsense recipes and try this fail-safe recipe. To cook the perfect crème caramel you will need: 80degC pre-baked PDMS, photoresist of choice, and some light to make everything bright. Mix well till everything comes together. And now for the final touch, garnish your dish with sprinkles of KOH. I prefer mine medium done and with just a little bit of garnish. Feel free to change the recipe according to your taste. At CMi's culinary dictionary it is called a soft-contact-photo-caramelization lithography. Enjoy!

May 2017

Blue Minions with swimming ring
Dorian Herle, LMIS4

A substrate-Si(blue)-SiO2(red)-Si(blue)-HSQ(green) stack.

May 2017

Valuable Red Lichen
Mahmoud Hadad, LC

The lichens are surprisingly very valuable, they have similar properties to Pt which can be an outstanding discovery in semiconductor industry. The recipe is very simple, try to deposit Pt on tiny opening through silicon wafer.

May 2017

Enterprise (NX-01)
Ehsan Mansouri, Ryan Schilling, LPQM

This image shows a high resolution SEM image of a novel optical microdisk with an outside trench and also a corresponding supporting stage to place 2D materials in the vicinity of a microdisk resonator electrical field which can improve the optical properties of the bare microdisk. The disk and its supporting stage are made out of glass (silicon oxide) and the pillars underneath are silicon. For this structure we use two aligned ebeam lithography masks, one photolithography mask, SPTS, AMS and KOH. It looks more like a starship Enterprise in Star Trek than an optical resonator.

2017, April

Apr 2017

Resting jellyfish
Michael David Kessler, SMAL

"Bunch of jellyfish having a rest on the sea ground." The picture shows a hydrogel sheet containing PEG particles that are held together by alginate. The stripes on the sides of the particles is alginate, backfilling the empty space between the particles. The little pieces on the top of the particles is probably CaCl2 that was used to gel the alginate. They can be seen as little parasites sitting on the jellyfish. We are fabricating the microfluidic PDMS devices in CMi (zone 12), as well as the wafers to make them (zone 13).

Apr 2017

Easter Nano Eggs
Aleksandrs Leitis, BIOS

Easter nanoeggs brought to you by Easter nanobunny from CMI. Unfortunately the Easter nanobunny was too nimble to get captured by the SEM. Let's hope for better luck next Year!

Apr 2017

Golden tracks
Celine Fischer, Phil-Dominik Simon Reukauf, Jarla Thiesbrummel, LSBI

This picture was taken in the context of the "Lab in tube" competition, supervised by Stephanie Lacour's lab. This is part of a resistance temperature detector design proposed by our team. The surface is only gold and the pattern one can see is part of the tracks linking the sensor itself to the connector pads. The picture was taken after the metalization step. The design was obtained thanks to photolithography on a flexible substrate (polyimide). All the steps were performed at CMI (lamination, exposure, development, metallization and lift-off).

Apr 2017

Weaving Silicon Nitride
Michael Graf , LBEN

Potassium hydroxide silicon etching was used to create a 30nm thick silicon nitride membranes. E-beam lithography and reactive ion etching (RIE) are used to make tiny holes into this membrane. The SEM mode of an electron beam lithography system was used to align the wafer using one of the etched membrane. After the RIE step, 200nm wide and 30nm thick bands of freestanding silicon nitride are observed. This is due to scanning the area with electrodes. The individual threads of silicon nitride arrange themselves into twisted bundles forming strings spanning the whole membrane.

2017, March

Mar 2017

Stars
Benoît Desbiolles, Arnaud Buxtorf, LMIS4

The local sputtering of the photoresist sidewalls is actually useful if you want to fabricate micro-stars with a 50nm thin nano-wall using standard photolithography tools. 100% Made in CMi.

Mar 2017

Silicon Nano Insect Hotel
Junqiu Liu, Tiago Morais LPQM

The "hotel" was fabricated using Alcatel AMS 200 SE dry etcher. Due to insufficient oxide etching on the previous step, the residual oxide served as a hard mask for the Bosch process deep silicon etch. The result is these high aspect ratio -1µm thick, 150µm high- walls with the typical edge roughness of a Bosch process. The hashtag pattern builds isolated box spaces, which look pretty like an insect hotel. Insert image by Emily Manley, used with her permission.

Mar 2017

Single photon detector
Misael Caloz, GAP Quantum Technologies

Molybdenum silicide superconducting nanowire single photon detector. When cold down to below 1K, the nanowire becomes superconducting. A telecom photon has a very high probability to be absorbed in it, if it does it will break a Cooper pair and destroy the superconductivity, an electric signal can thus be recorded with a readout circuit. This device can have efficiency higher than 90%, with a repetition rate of tens of Mhz. We are now testing this original double spiral design, as it can cover a large area (high fill factor) with only two short turns (in the center). Such devices are directly used in our lab in Geneva, for quantum experiment such as QKD and quantum teleportation. In the latter case we could call this nanowire a "quantum portal", as it can teleport the quantum state of a photon. Fabricated and imaged in CMi.

2017, February

Feb 2017

Earthquake
Clemens Herkommer, Junqiu Liu, Mohammad Bereyhi LPQM

This SEM picture shows the surface of a silicon wafer with a layer of FOx ebeam resist peeling off after development. A written line can be seen as a solid structure embedded in an unexposed area that was not cleared due to a low contrast. Electron impingement during SEM imaging caused the flakes to charge up and delaminate from the wafer surface. On a micrometer-scale, this looks like the open earth crust after a heavy earthquake, with a pavement left over.

2017, January

Jan 2017

Tie-Dye E-beam Sample
Martin Friedl, LMSC

In the process of making contacts to (111)B GaAs triangular chips, I was impressed by this pattern that came out of the spin-coater. This psychedelic pattern is caused by the relief on the e-beam sample, namely, the raised triangular chip stuck with Indium on the flat square silicon dummy. This colorful pattern actually means the PMMA/MMA resist stack is non-uniform in thickness, however, you will notice the GaAs triangle itself has a uniform coating, which is really all that matters!

Jan 2017

Array of super nova
Stefano Varricchio, LMIS4

Nanostructured silicon embedded in amorphous carbon and silicon dioxide surface after planarization. Or you can think about them as timeframes of a huge supernova captured with a space telescope.

Jan 2017

"U" structure
Luka Ciric, LPMC

Focused Ion Beam was employed to cut a lamella out from a layered material and to shape it according to the "U" structure. Such configuration allows for the simultaneous measurement of the electrical resistivity along the different crystallographic direction of the sample. It represents a very reliable method to estimate the electronic anisotropy of a material relevant for electronic applications.

2016, December

Dec 2016

Whole and parts
Jelena Vukajlovic, Wonjong Kim, LMSC

Here is the SEM image of GaAs nanowires on a 4-inch Silicon wafer. After optimizing growth conditions, our tedious SEM session became an enjoyable moment. There are two views on the relationship between the two, which are generally considered to be the whole and the part attached to the whole. 1) The whole is the sum of the simple parts, the assembly, and the thing which is not in the part does not exist in the whole. 2) The whole is more than the sum of parts. What do you think about our nanowires in that sense? We would vote for the latter :D (Image was taken in CMi, Zone 15, SEM Merlin).

Dec 2016

Helping phonons live longer and more productive lives
Ryan Schilling, LPQM

A silicon nitride (red) mechanical resonator is suspended a mere 50 nm from the surface of silicon dioxide (blue) whispering gallery mode optical resonator. The resonators are coupled by radiation pressure, where the beam alters the momentum of photons in the evanescent field of the microdisk. This allows for optical read-out of the beam's position, with precision orders of magnitude below the standard quantum limit. The beam is designed with acoustic reflectors on either side to focus the energy of a specific vibration to center of the beam, where the interaction with the microdisk occurs. Moreover, the reflectors greatly increase the phonon lifetime over a normal beam, realizing a room-temperature quality factor of 130 000 at 39 MHz. For mechanical sensors thermal force noise fundamentally limits sensitivity to an external force, and in that respect this localization strategy represents a significant improvement over a standard rectangular beam.

Dec 2016

Have you ever tried magnifications below one on the SEM?
Marcell Kiss, Q-LAB

Instead of the micro-world, you might just find one like ours! These micro ridges were colorized to show the 'elevation': seems like plenty of snow for skiing! This structure was created incidentally on a silicon carrier wafer, which had out-of-focus photoresist patterns and was exposed to chlorine plasma. Image was taken on the LEO and colorized, and all of the processing was done in CMi.

Dec 2016

Liberation of the oppressed InAs nanowires: finally they can relax!
Martin Friedl, LMSC

Here we see what happens when strained InAs nanowires (NWs) are grown on top of GaAs nanomembranes via MBE after which the GaAs nanomembranes are selectively etched away. Once the tyrannical GaAs is gone, it stops selfishly imposing its lattice constant (5.65Å) on the poor, stressed InAs NWs and the InAs NWs can relax/elongate to their bulk lattice constant (6.06Å). Since we sputtered down metal contacts before etching (large diagonal bars), the ends of the NWs are fixed. Thus the NWs tend to bow up/down as they relax, marking the beginning of their new stress-free life!

Dec 2016

Looking into the mirror!
Joffrey Pernollet, CMI

Attempting to locate the exact position of some kind of residue attached to the pole piece of the SEM column (green arrow on main picture) for proper cleaning and removal, mirror imaging was used to visualize the CMi Dualbeam chamber upside down! A static charge was first build-up on a piece of glass, isolated from ground, by exposing it to a 20kV and 2.4nA electron beam. After a minute, voltage was then switched to 2kV for imaging: the lower potential electrons get repelled from the highly charged surface into the chamber, enabling imaging of all parts inside. Zooming into this "mirror" then allowed for precisely targeting the position of the residue on the left-end side of the pole-piece (circled-out on insert).

Dec 2016

The fallen ones
Cenk Ibrahim Özdemir, BIOS

Handling defects are observed on the arrayed nanopillar resist arrays used for lift-off process.

2016, November

Nov 2016

The corset out of thin layers
Jason Jinyu Ruan, Aleva Neurotherapeutics SA

Origami isn't that easy in a SEM. While trying to fold and shape thin polyimide foils, one might reach interesting results. A thin layer of polyimide is enrolled in a cylindrical shape with its attachment holes on each side. This development is used to make neuro-stimulation electrodes.

Nov 2016

Quarter past 12
Clemens Herkommer, LPQM

This image taken with an optical microscope shows a readily clad microresonator device which is intended to be used for frequency comb generation in the mid-infrared wavelength range. In order to handle the tensile stress of LPCVD-deposited silicon nitride films a stress-release pattern was included to avoid crack formation. During the wafer design the filler pattern is generated with a software routine and sometimes leads to interpretable artefacts, such as a clock showing quarter past 12. Time to go home, for a laborious scientist!

Nov 2016

Seahorse's Tail: The Tale of Listening to Your Own Drum
Sina Khorasani, LPQM

These photos show the successful FIB patterning of a drum capacitor used in quantum electromechanical superconducting circuits. Spiral pattern will help the mechanical resonant frequency to reduce by many orders of magnitude, significant increase in zero point motions, and thus enhancement in single-photon electromechanical interaction rate g0. The reason I would like to call it a seahorse tail follows a painting by my youngest daughter, Atousa :) She has drawn it three months ago at school!

Nov 2016

Resist Rainbow
Matthias Neuenschwander, LO

Microelectrodes were fabricated at the CMi. After the strip, some photoresist remained at the edges of the wafer, covering the electrode fingers and creating a pretty colour gradient thanks to thin film interference. Shot with an optical microscope.

2016, October

Oct 2016

Silicon forest
Niccolo Piacentini, INTEL

Slightly tilted cross-section of a silicon wafer after DRIE-based Black silicon fabrication. The resulting texture resembles to a micro pine forest during winter. Are you willing to get lost among the trees? Equipment: Alcatel 601E. Image: SEM Zeiss Merlin.

Oct 2016

Net fishing
Daniel Rodrigo, BIOS

An unidentified species has been trapped by our nanoscale "fishing net". The image shows in fact a contamination particle trapped under the gold evaporation of a square grid fabricated by lift-off.

Oct 2016

Novel Pyramid Design
Marc Heuschkel, HEPIA - Tissue Engineering Laboratory

The picture shows a protruding silicon tip of 18µm height. The tip has been manufactured by wet chemical etching in KOH 40% using a 200nm SiO2 mask. It is intended as negative master for soft lithography manufacturing of 3D microelectrodes for the monitoring of neuronal tissue in vitro.

2016, September

Sept 2016

Silicon cliff
Clemens Herkommer, LPQM1

SEM image a silicon-chip facet with oxide layer on top. Photonic circuits are structured on silicon wafers in a >70-step process including: Ebeam lithography, Photolithography, Wet and dry etching, Chemical vapour deposition, Chemical-mechanical polishing. On the picture the signature of Bosch process Si-etching is visible, exhibiting typical roughness as compared to the previous smooth top SiO layer etching.

Sept 2016

Glass caves
Clemens Herkommer, LPQM1

SEM image of the facet of a silicon-based photonic-circuit chip, showing the end of a silicon nitride waveguide surrounded by two protective structures. The image is taken after a >70-step process, with a run time of several weeks in the CMi clean room facilities. The shown facet was produced by a dry etching step of the SiO cladding to define the facet, followed by Bosch process etching of the silicon substrate. The slanted sidewalls of the oxide cladding are artefacts of burning and swelling photoresist, which was due to insufficient wafer cooling during dry etching.

Sept 2016

Fancy LED color controller
Marta Airaghi Leccardi, LNE

Optical micrograph of PDMS dry etching revealing the underlying polymeric layers that produce a color effect. The shiny area at the top is due to the metallic mask.

Sept 2016

Silicon beach
Clemens Herkommer, LPQM1

SEM image of the surface of a silicon chip, where a flake was broken off during the process of back side grinding. Interference patterns are visible on the surface where the flake broke off, as compared to the rough surface structure produced by deep Bosch process etching. For hard-working scientists the relaxed look at the picture can lead to a brief drifting away and imagination of ocean breeze, waves and a white beach.

2016, August

Aug 2016

Milky Way, First Contact
Nicholas Morgan, Heidi Potts, LMSC

The galaxy was defined by optical lithography and the stars are spherical gold defects caused by a malfunctioning of the LAB600 evaporation tool. The spaceship in the top left was defined by ebeam lithography. The purpose of this lithography process is to make electrical contacts to InAa nanostructures (too small to be seen). To test our nanostructures, we must land our probes in the Milky Way! The image is a dark field optical micrograph taken in CMi.

Aug 2016

Micro-apple
Dora Fejes-Kajtar, CERN EP-DT-DD

Cross-sectional SEM image of a silicon micro-channel fabricated by using photolithography, plasma etching processes and thin film deposition. The entire sample was prepared in CMi.

Aug 2016

Dragon egg
Marco Di Gisi, ANEMS

SEM picture of a gold residue found on silicon dioxide after Cr/Au evaporation.

2016, July

July 2016

PDMS Labyrinth
Marta Airaghi Leccardi, LNE

The sputtering deposition of a thin metallic layer onto PDMS leads to a non-uniform mask thickness and surface roughness. After PDMS dry etching the pattern is transferred to the substrate and we obtained a... LABYRINTH!

July 2016

The unwanted golden ones
J. Pernollet, C. Hibert, G. Monteduro CMI

50nm gold coating (evaporation, LAB600H) of a fused silica wafer as a preparation step before ebeam lithography. Even though the wafer was fresh new, Piranha clean and spotless prior to gold coating, the surface then exhibits round sphere-like particles sizing from several tens of nanometers up to few microns. Like visible on the picture, it is interesting to note that some of them masked the coating but others sit on top of the gold layer: it supposes the spheres were continuously created throughout the gold evaporation. EDX analysis seems to confirm this idea: the spheres are made of pure gold.

July 2016

And the bird became a flower...
Benoît Desbiolles, LMIS4

After one day of culture on nano-volcanos array, kidney epithelial cells (HEK) were fixed, dried, and observed with Scanning Electron Microscope (MERLIN). On the figure, salt crystals coming from the cell culture media and mixed of proteins from the cells self-arranged to fake an utopian world. 90% made in CMi.
P.S. The bird starts from the bottom-right corner to end up a flower in the middle left.

2016, June

June 2016

50 shades of light
Marta Airaghi Leccardi, LNE

What we see here is a result of light diffraction on IrOx patterned onto PDMS. The sample was released from the wafer and placed curved under the optical microscope, therefore the individual spots were tilted with different angles, reflecting the light at different colors. (Only contrast was slightly adjusted in post-processing!)

June 2016

Friday afternoon
Stefano Varricchio, LMIS4

Silicon nanopillars array surfacing from a silicon oxide matrix. The black stars are not an optical illusion -reward of the week gone by- but voids resulting from the conformal deposition of SiO2 on the nanopillars array. The hilly topography of the insulating SiO2 matrix is recognizable as lightly contrasted veining.

June 2016

Bubble wrap of a PhD student
Stefano Varricchio, LMIS4

Damn, I've popp'd them all! - Array of silicon nanopillars surfacing from a silicon nitride matrix. The "hilly topography" is a result of the residual of the CMP slurry which were transferred into the bulk from the successive IBE etching step. The inset shows the topography of the silicon structures resulting from the different etching speed between silicon and silicon nitride during IBE.

June 2016

Roof top garden fence
Fatemeh Navaee, LMIS4

To prepare PDMS porous membrane, silicon micro pillars were fabricated using photolithography and etching process in CMi. A tiny part of the wafer didn't cover completely with photoresist during coating process, which leads to having this garden with fence on top of the tower!

2016, May

May 2016

Pillars brawl
Stefano Varricchio, LMIS4

Composite silicon and carbon structures are covered with a thin evaporated platinum layer. Due to a surface tension during the drying process, the structures collapse against each other. The evaporated Pt layer defines the shadows on the surface and enhances the roughness of the structures.

May 2016

Going Beyond Periodic Nanomagnetism I
Vinayak Bhat, LMGN

Connected network of Ni81Fe19 nanobars of 25 nm thickness fabricated via electron beam lithography and lift-off techniques on an eight-fold rotationally symmetric quasicrystal tiling known as the Amman tiling. Bright (dark) region corresponds to magnetic (non-magnetic) material.

May 2016

Going Beyond Periodic Nanomagnetism II
Vinayak Bhat, LMGN

Connected network of Ni81Fe19 nanobars fabricated via electron beam lithography and lift-off techniques on a five-fold rotationally symmetric quasicrystal tiling known as the Penrose P2 tiling. Bright (dark) region corresponds to magnetic (non-magnetic) material.

May 2016

Eyes in the darkness
Axel Hochstetter, LMIS2

Picture shows a cell sorting device, which is pre-separating red blood cells from bigger cells, like leukocytes or already coagulated platelets. The device was done as a PDMS mold from a SU-8 3025 mask on Si, done in the level +1 cleanroom. The original mask has been fabricated in the -1 level of the CMi cleanroom. The image was taken in phase-contrast mode on an inverted Zeiss microscope and shows lots of cells rushing through the pre filter device, their paths disturbed by some air bubbles, which also form the "eyes" in the surrounding darkness.

2016, April

Apr 2016

Wheel of GaAs
Martin Friedl, LMSC

Image shows details of the angular dependence of GaAs nanomembrane growth by molecular beam epitaxy (MBE). The substrate is GaAs (111)B covered with 30 nm of PECVD SiO2 patterned by e-beam and reactive ion etching to selectively expose the substrate below. GaAs nanomembranes are then epitaxially grown in an MBE reactor from elemental precursors. In this top-down image we see how single crystal, defect-free GaAs membranes grow thin and vertical in only three specific crystalline directions on the GaAs substrate. Other directions of growth on the substrate lead to angled and defective membranes. These structures are being explored for their feasibility in various electronic and optoelectronic applications.

Apr 2016

The lonesome nomad
Benoît Desbiolles, LMIS4
Valentin Flauraud, LMIS1

With the lack of adhesion layers a sputtered tungsten film (DP650) delaminated from the substrate creating this desert-like landscape. The sample was cleaved and imaged close to grazing incidence. The debris from the sample SEM preparation resulted in this lonesome nomad looking for his next bright nanoidea in the vast nanoworld. Fake colors added in post-processing.

Apr 2016

Micro-moraine
Hadrien Michaud, LSBI

When evaporating gallium on a PDMS substrate coated with a sputtered gold layer, gallium spreads by diffusing and alloying with the gold layer. The resulting film is composed of a solid AuGa2 phase and a liquid gallium phase [1]. We recently observed that if the liquid gallium is forced out of the film, the solid phase remains on the substrate, just like rocks remain on the bottom of the valley when a glacier is retreating. The remaining structures form a micro-moraine of AuGa2 crystallites on the PDMS substrate. The image acquired using the HE-SE2 detector was colorised using the corresponding EsB detector image as clipping mask for material contrast. [1] Hirsch, Michaud et al., Adv. Mater., 2016

2016, March

Mar 2016

Seeing blue
Ian Michael Rousseau, LASPE

The SEM image shows a one-dimensional photonic crystal nanobeam optical resonator for a blue nanolaser. The gallium nitride nanobeam, which is 200 nm wide, 300 nm high, and 7 microns long, is suspended in air between two electrodes over a silicon substrate. The light is confined by total internal reflection in the axial dimensions and by the periodic array of holes in the longitudinal direction. By tapering the hole diameter in the middle of the cavity, blue light can be trapped in a volume roughly 1/2 of one cubic wavelength for several picoseconds. The companion 100x dark field microscope image directly shows scattering of blue light by the holey nanobeam. The goal is to tune the laser wavelength in situ by applying a voltage across the electrodes, bending the nanobeam via the piezoelectric effect.

Mar 2016

CleanRoom Space Invaders
Andrea Pisoni, Luka Ciric, LPMC

Focused Ion Beam was employed to cut a lamella out from a layered material and to shape it according the "U" structure. Such configuration allows the simultaneous measurement of the electrical resistivity along the different crystallographic direction of the sample. It represents a very reliable method to estimate the electronic anisotropy of a material relevant for electronic applications. The sample was entirely prepared by the Nova Nanolab FIB at CMI. The final shape of the structure reminds us of one of the shapes used in classic video game space invaders.

Mar 2016

CuPt cakes
Stefano Varricchio, LMIS4

Multilayered structure of Platinum/SiO2-LTO. The planarization of LTO reveals the Pt nano-structures buried underneath (bright in the middle).

Mar 2016

Golden Mushroom Field
Cenk Özdemir, BIOS

Nanopillar array of photoresist is used to obtain nanohole arrays of gold. This SEM image was taken after the gold deposition before the lift-off, showing the mushroom-like gold accumulation on top of the nanopillars. Afterwards, the resist pillars are lifted-off to achieve gold nanohole array structure on the substrate. Nanohole arrays on thin gold films enable plasmonic resonances, which is dependent on the array periodicity, metal type and most importantly, the surrounding dielectric material, which enables biosensing with these plasmonic structures. Optical transmission through a single subwavelength nanohole on a metal film is very limited. But when the nanoholes are well-ordered in an array, they exhibit greatly enhanced transmission with the help of plasmonics, which is the phenomenon called Extraordinary Optical Transmission. Like a well-ordered society accomplishing the extraordinary, isn't it?

Mar 2016

Geranium flowers
Elmira Shahrabi, LSM

These Geranium flowers are made up of tungsten oxide (WOx) in the garden with silicon oxide (SiO2) film soil. This structure shows part of the CMOS 180 nm chip which was post processed in CMI in order to fabricate the Resistive Random Access Memory (ReRAM) co-integrated with CMOS chips. The process flow starts with a photolithography and reactive ion etching (RIE) to remove the top passivation and aluminum metal layers to access the tungsten plugs. Later, the surface of tungsten plugs were oxidized by JETFIRST200 rapid thermal processing (RTP) to form WOx film act as resistance layer in memory.

Mar 2016

Bee Nice Today
Stefano Varricchio, LMIS4

Silicon pillars coated with LTO SiO2. During planarization, the void left during SiO2 deposition appears between the structures making it looking like a honeycomb. The production of nano-bees is under development.

Mar 2016

Domino Effect
Yit-shun Leung Ki, Karmic Sarl

Huzzah to springtime, break out the champagne and the Palinka! This is how an etch depth control structure looks when things go right. The domino shaped thin-film mask portions fall as shown when the desired wet etching depth has been achieved. Prior patterning was originally done with the brand new Heidelberg VPG under standard operating conditions and resulting wet etch depth was within 4% of target. The image was taken using the Nikon confocal microscope in Zone 6 with the 20X objective. Image has been cropped and resized in photoshop. COPYRIGHT 2016 Karmic Sarl.

2016, February

Feb 2016

Mini City
Huachuan Du, SMAL

The image shows a lot of NaCl crystals located on the surface of hydrogel micro-particle. They resemble the buildings in the city. In the front, there is even a micro Eiffel tower. The sample is made in the PDMS microfluidics fabricated in CMI, the SEM image is taken in CIME.

Feb 2016

Nano-Volcano
Benoît Desbioles, LMIS4

A wafer coated with several metallic layers is nano-patterned by standard photolithography before to be processed by ion beam etching. The ionic bombardment induces the sputtering of the photoresist side walls, leading to the formation of thin metallic cylinders around the etched platform after resist stripping. Using this method, a 5 nm thin gold ring can be presented on the top of a 600 nm wide volcano. Down into the crater, an Iridium oxide electrode can be used to measure electrical signals from brain cells, with their cellular membrane opened and fused with the functionalized gold nano-ring. 100% Made in CMi.

Feb 2016

Nano-chopsticks
Natasa Vulic, LMSC

These "nano-chopsticks" are gallium arsenide (GaAs) nanowires grown catalyst-free by molecular beam epitaxy on GaAs (111)B substrates without. Following the growth, the wires are protected from the oxygen (a deep-level impurity in GaAs) by growing a thin arsenic (As) capping layer (~10 nm). This layer is then removed under vacuum conditions prior to growing dielectric films that passivate the dangling bonds on the material surface. Decreased levels of surface impurities that come from the capping of the wires yield better optical and electrical properties since the overall number of trap states that capture the carriers within the GaAs semiconductors are effectively reduced. In the picture, the wires can be seen deposited on a lithographically-defined substrate following ultra-sonication in IPA that removes them from its native substrate, where we can further investigate their optical and electrical properties before and after specific treatments.

Feb 2016

Labyrinth for ants
Carolin Drieschner, LMIS4

Anodized aluminum oxide membrane for cell culture. Due to its high porosity and simple, reproducible fabrication process we are using free-standing aluminum oxide membranes as new biocompatible substrate for intestinal cells from rainbow trout.

Feb 2016

Micro-Tetris
Muriel Blum, MX-PMH, LPMAT

This top-view SEM image shows the microstructure of a barium titanate thin film which was annealed and which has been changed presumably due to the tungsten that was present at certain places on top of the film. Tungsten electrode pads were deposited by sputtering and patterned by photolithography on top of an expitaxial barium titanate thin film deposited by high vacuum chemical vapor deposition on a seed layer of strontium titanate on silicon. Later, the sample was annealed at 600°C under oxygen in order to eliminate the oxygen vacancies in barium titanate. The image was taken at a place between the tungsten electrode pads.

2016, January

Jan 2016

Nanobeam & Microdisk
Ryan Schilling, LPQM1

A silicon nitride nanobeam is suspended 30 nm above the top surface of a silicon dioxide microdisk optical cavity. The thermally driven string-like vibrations of the nanobeam alters the path of photons circulating around the perimeter of the microdisk. The photons accumulate a phase shift from the periodic motion of the beam, and this shift is detected in photons leaving the cavity. From this measurement the position of the nanobeam can be determined with extraordinary precision. Remarkably, it's possible to resolve the amplitude of motion to a value ten thousand times smaller than that imparted by a single phonon (ie. the quantum ground state). This imprecision corresponds to the radius of a neutron, and is achievable both at room and cryogenic temperatures.

Jan 2016

What is in the hole?
Cenk Özdemir, BIOS

What is in the hole? Some stuff for biosensing. This is an SEM image of a single nanohole in a plasmonic nanohole array on gold. Plasmonic nanohole arrays having very high figure-of-merits are used for biosensing with exploitation of extraordinary optical transmission of subwavelength apertures. These gold nanohole array sensors are fabricated with nanofabrication tools at CMi facilities.

Jan 2016

A stronger bond
Pietro Maoddi, Marta Comino, CLSE

It would seem, to the cold and analytical eye of a scientist, that these two SU-8 pillars detached from the substrate during development and were then fused together during the hard bake. However, we like to think that the two of them fell so deeply in love that they decided to break free from the surface - to which they were firmly attached - and ran the 30ųm distance separating them to share a passionate kiss!