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Picture of the Month Gallery - Winners

2018, February

Now accepting submissions for February contest. Deadline for submission is Monday, Mar 5, 2018, at midnight. Rules for submission.

2018, January

Jan 2018

Micro puff pastry roll
Esteban Bermudez, Soft Matter Physics, AMI

Prepared at CMi and rolled at the Adolphe Merkle Institute in Fribourg, the image shows a 70 nm thick SiO2 film rolled into a microtube with multiple folds, resembling the pastries found in the local bakeries. The substrate patterning (MLA150) and thin film deposition (LAB600H & SPIDER) were carried out at CMi. The roll-up process and SEM imaging were performed in Fribourg.



To see more pictures, click here: Honorable Runner-up Pictures Gallery

2017, December

Dec 2017

MoS2 in Christmas mood
Martina Lihter, LBEN

MoS2 growth was assisted by stencil mask made in CMi cleanroom. However, I find it extremely beautiful as a Christmas card, so I will use this opportunity to wish you all Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


2017, November

Nov 2017

Micro-golf in the CMi
Hendrik Schutz, LPQM

It is no surprise this truly presidential sport has now conquered the micro scale. When the CMi staff is gone, the PhD students take out their micro golf clubs and hit the green (well, mostly grey). Admittedly though, this attempt did not make it that far off the tee. Sad! Shown in the picture is an SiO2 microsphere that has fallen off its silicon needle pillar after a too long XeF2 undercut. To fabricate the spheres, micro-disks are reflowed by exposing them to focused high power light at 10um wavelength from a CO2 laser.


2017, October

Oct 2017

Cantilever Rodeo
Kaitlin Howell, Andrea Lozzi, NEMS

Welcome to the beam rodeo! These wily beams have escaped across the river to avoid being lassoed. They have escaped for now but not for long! Cantilevers comprised of Mo and HfO2 have been released by HF vapor (uETCH) but collapsed due to stiction. Green areas are Al pads on contact electrodes. The lasso is a collection of fences left over from plasma etching of the beams during their definition. The fences themselves deattached and curled on themselves. Image taken in Zeiss LEO 1550.



2017, September

Sep 2017

Clementine Lipp, EP-DD-DT/CERN

XeF2 gas phase etches large silicon areas with features in the shape of spirals, resulting in a very specific microclimate.



2017, August

Aug 2017

Haricots gris
Wonjong Kim, LMSC

Here is the SEM image of Haricots gris. It is cultivated in CMi and with Molecular Beam Epitaxy (MBE) system. Random impurity was attractive enough for two gallium droplets to sit on it.



2017, July

Jul 2017

Stefano Varricchio, LMIS4

Marine nano-Life was created by transferring HSQ rings made with e-beam lithography in bulk silicon. The slight under-etch and the high stability of the circular HSQ mask prevents the 20nm-wide HSQ ring from collapsing and leaves it suspended on a web-like structure.


2017, June

Jun 2017

Edelweiss and its pollen
Anastasiia Glushkova, LPMC

Instead of growing inside a submicron-wide SiO2 channel on Si substrate this perovskite nanowire prefers to become a flower :)


2017, May

May 2017

Emmental CMi AOP
Michael Graf, LBEN

This special Emmental deserves its AOP (appelation d'origine protégée) label. It has been made 100% in CMi with high-quality Swiss ingredients. Delamination of chromium, platinum and silicon dioxide layers in combination with a few impurities lead to these nice slices of Emmental CMi AOP.


2017, April

Apr 2017

Makeup palette
Elmira Shahrabi, LSM

These "cosmetics makeup" panels are made of tungsten vias placed in an oxide (SiO2) box. The plate is basically a part of the CMOS 180 nm chip which was post processed in CMi in order to co-integrate Resistive Random Access Memory (ReRAM) within CMOS chips. The idea is to benefit from embedded tungsten vias inside the CMOS chips to make ReRAM structure, where via acts as a bottom electrode, hafnium oxide as a switching layer and platinum as a top electrode.


2017, March

Mar 2017

G[r]aAs[s] Farming
Martin Friedl, LMSC

The arrival of spring has finally enabled us to achieved the impossible: on-wafer grass growth! The secret is giving your wafers unconditional love and avoiding the O2 plasma... Just kidding it's GaAs (as usual).

2017, February

Feb 2017

Kevin Keim, CLSE

These 3D electrodes were fabricated by covering SU-8 micro-pillars via metal sputtering. The metal on top and on the substrate was subsequently removed by ion beam etching. The irregular structure of the SU-8 below the metal breaks the symmetry of this artistic SEM micrograph. By increasing the contrast and observing under an angle of 70deg to the surface, the electrodes seem to appear out of nothing. This structure assembles a 100 times miniaturized lego-brick, fabricated and observed in EPFL CMi facilities.

2017, January

Jan 2017

Sushi boat
Stefano Varricchio, LMIS4

Nanostructured silicon of different densities embedded in amorphous carbon and silicon dioxide surface after planarization. Not edible!


2016, December

Dec 2016

Starry night
Benoît Desbiolles, Clarisse Vaillier LMIS4
Valentin Flauraud, LMIS1

When you put cells on 3D nanovolcanoes, you start to sight heaven... Human Embryonic Kidney (HEK) cells cultured for 3 days on 3D nanovolcanoes were observed using optical microscope. By playing with the focus, we could transform the water droplets covering the sealing into stars. 80%CMi, 20%LMIS4.

2016, November

Nov 2016

Silicon Valley after an earthquake
Miloš Hrabovský, Tescan

Xenon plasma Focused Ion Beam (FIB) serves very high sputtering rates in comparison to standard liquid metal ion source (LMIS) Ga FIB technology. The Xe plasma technology is reliable and fast, but in cases when extremely large volume of material is needed to get removed in order to create repetitive patterns at large areas, standard optical lithography combined with etching methods may still play an important role. KOH etching, DRIE process and double sided lithography was used to create the tile-like structures at CMi.

2016, October

Oct 2016

The return of Quetzalcóatl
Edgar Emilio Morales Delgado, LAPD

The latest invention I have conceived during my doctoral studies at EPFL is the world's thinnest 3D printer. Using two-photon polymerization, this replica of the Temple of Kukulcán in Chichén-Itzá, México, was fabricated through a multimode optical fiber as thin as a couple of human hairs. The base and height of this micro pyramid is 100 and 50 µm respectively. The lateral resolution of my printer is 500 nm. This picture was taken with the SEM at CMi.

2016, September

Sept 2016

A stroll in the village of Vik
Reza Soleiman, POWERlab

This image, beautifully resembling a basalt cliff and the tiny plants that grow between the rocks, shows a deep scratch on a GaN wafer with a layer of carbon nanotubes grown on it. The basalt cliffs exist all around the world (even in CMi!) however this SEM picture, looks like to be taken from the cliffs beside the black sand beach in Vik (Iceland).

2016, August

Aug 2016

Something between us
Wonjong Kim, LMSC

Here is the SEM image of GaAs nanowires on a 4-inch Silicon wafer. Recently, we have achieved high vertical yield GaAs nanowires using pre-defined pattern hole arrays. You can see very uniform and well-ordered nanowires. Among them, we are attracted by 4 couples of wires touching each other. Although this is due to the scanning electrons, they seem to telling me that they were meant to be. Image was taken in CMi, Zone 15, SEM Merlin.

2016, July

July 2016

Donut of thorns
Huachuan Du, SMAL

The thorns are the NaHCO3 crystals produced by spray drying in a microfluidic nebulator. The PDMS nebulator is fabricated by soft lithography in CMI.

2016, June

June 2016

Dinosaurs are not extinct!
Wonjong Kim, LMSC

Here is the AFM image of Ga droplets on a porous silicon substrate. Porous silicon was obtained with hydrofluoric acid and nitric acid treatment. Ga droplet sitting on a porous silicon remind me of eggs of dinosaurs. It is telling me that the dinosaurs are not extinct! Image was taken in CMI, Zone 15, on Bruker FastScan.

2016, May

May 2016

Christmas card
Marta Airaghi Leccardi, LNE

Iridium oxide was sputtered onto PDMS through a stencil mask. The star shapes are formed due to the hexagonal pattern of the circular holes in the mask and the gap between the mask and the surface of the PDMS. Imaged by an optical microscope.

2016, April

Mar 2016

Marco Negri, LMSC

What's behind? Using electrons, it is possible to "see" what's behind a layer which is thin enough. In this case, zinc oxide nanorods are embedded in the carbon of a TEM grid. They are playing peekaboo through the holes in the carbon layer, but it is possible to recognize their shape even in the areas where they are covered. A relatively small acceleration voltage (3keV) is enough for the electrons to pass through the 20 nm thick carbon.

2016, March

Mar 2016

Liana around antic columns
Dmitry Mikulik, Jelena Vukajlovic, LMSC

Silicon micro pillars for solar cell applications were fabricated using phase-shift lithography and top-down etching process in CMi. On the image, you can find them as large columns with nice etching artefacts. Then, for top transparent contacts, we use Ag nanowire mesh, deposited on the sample surface using spin-coater from the liquid solution (done in Polymer Laboratory in EPFL). Thin wires of silver make continuous network, connecting all micro-pillars together. They look like liana around antic column.

2016, February

Feb 2016

Sunflower party
Benoît Desbiolles, LMIS4
Valentin Flauraud, LMIS1

Metallic nano-flowers generated by ion beam and chemical dry etching of an Al-Ti-Au-Ti coated wafer, patterned with standard photolithography. After etching, the resist is removed, the stress in the fences is released leading to the formation of the wavy stem/leaves of the flower. The residues surrounding the base are most likely due to corrosion during chemical etching. 100% Made in CMi.

2016, January

Jan 2016

Micro-matchstick carpet
Mahdi Zamani, LMSC

Cross sectional SEM of GaAs nanowires grown on a GaAs {100} substrate, taken in direction perpendicular to the major flat of the wafer. Tilted wires with the angle of 54 degrees are of {111} direction. It is interesting to note the droplets at the top of the wires.