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Center of MicroNanoTechnology CMi

Picture of the Month Gallery - Winners

2020, June

Now accepting submissions for June contest. Deadline for submission is Monday, July 6, 2020, at midnight. Rules for submission.

2020, May

May 2020

Nanodots printer
Ping Che, LMGN

Cobalt nanodots lattice was printed by ebeam writing and lift-off process on membrane. The layer of MMA/PMMA was peeled away in lift-off process in this image. With the cobalt nanodots lattice, spin spiral structure called “skyrmions” will be formed into lattice. Each skyrmion works as storage unit. Would you like to have a nano-printer for data storage?


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

2020, April

Apr 2020

Welcome back to CMi
Georges-André Racine, CMi

To honor the gradual exit out of the Covid-19 lock-down and to celebrate the re-opening of the CMi for users, arrays of nano-pillars were added to a first print of the resolution test of the VPG200 laser writer after its re-start in the last days of April. Direct sunlight diffraction creates nice colored rainbow arcs. Structure was recorded in 600nm thick photo resist on a silicon substrate. The diameter of the rainbow arcs is 19mm.

2020, March

Mar 2020

3-Floor Micro Apartment
Niyazi Ulas Dinc, LO

This 3-floor structure, fabricated with two-photon polymerization (Nanoscribe), is not the most welcoming home even though it is coated with gold (to see it better). But, it can do angular multiplexing with light!




2020, February

Feb 2020

A sun full of stars
Miguel Solsona, Benoît Desbiolles, Clémentine Lipp, LMIS4

This nanopore etched in SiO2 is an open window to another galaxy. You are met with an insight full of stars when you glance through it.


2020, January

Jan 2020

Micreux Jazz Festival
Robin Groth, LPQM

The CMi festival for micro-music hast just announced this year’s headliner: “The SiNs”. The newcomer band will certainly attract a large audience, not least thanks to its exotic instruments including the fractal guitar shown in the picture. When skilfully plucked, the oscillating string creates a psychedelic sound which has impressed crowds across the globe. The peculiar vibrations arise due to the self-similar geometry of the structure, which was made from silicon nitride and measures only 20nm in thickness. Rumour has it that “The SiNs” will use the festival to showcase the world’s first fractal drum. 

2019, December

Dec 2019

Brrr, It’s Cold in CMi
Micol Previde Massara, Q-Lab

After an HF dip, some droplets dried on my silicon wafer in the same shape that frost and ice build up on glass.


2019, November

Nov 2019

Depth of Field
Matthias Neuenschwander, LBNI

We have been walking for hours in an endless field of snow. The sun has disappeared long ago behind a thick layer of fog. We can barely see our hands. We might well be going in circles, we have lost all sense of space and time. Suddenly the mist lifts just a little. There, just in front of us, an immense structure towers in the middle of the waste land, a shard cutting through the smoothness. It’s a truly surreal sight. And behind it, though it is hard to see, there might be more. Silicon tips were created by under-etching an oxide mask in KOH. Image taken on SEM Merlin, sample held vertically and tilted 2°.

2019, October

Oct 2019

Flower Oxide Semiconductors
Virginie Lydia Pirkko De Mestral, Simon Robert Escobar Steinvall, LMSC

FOS 'for us' and Z. Inc. are proud to announce the release of their new generation state-of-the-art FOS1 - Flower Oxide Semiconductors.


2019, September

Sep 2019

Micro Post-its
Hamed Sattari, Micol Previde Massara, Q-Lab

We address your need for post-its in the cleanroom by providing you with photoresist post-its covered by gold! After exposure with the DUV stepper and development, we deposited Chromium and Gold on our Si wafer using LAB 600H to fabricate this micro post-it array! Apparently, the stress-related issues cause many of them to peel off.

2019, August

Aug 2019

“54.74” towers
Mohammad Bereyhi, LPQM

Silicon can be etched anisotropicaly using different methods: DRIE using Bosch process and KOH. Here a silicon nitride optical cavity (patterned using ebeam lithography and dry etching) is recessed from the substrate using nested photo and electron beam lithography and deep RI etching. The recessed structure is released using KOH anisotropic etching and dried using critical point dryer. The <111> crystalline planes of Si are etched at a very slow rate compared to <100> plane. These planes are located at 54.74 degrees from the <100> planes.

2019, July

Jul 2019

Quasicrystal fondue
Sho Watanabe, LMGN

Aperiodically arranged nanopillars get invaded by an e-beam resist fondue! This fondue now exhibits a five-fold rotational symmetry and possesses a long-range order which reflects the characteristic of the quasicrystal.


2019, June

Jun 2019

Joffrey Pernollet, CMi

These SiO2 discs were released by an excessive isotropic XeF2 under-etching of the Silicon they were originally patterned onto. Image post-processing highlights here the winning diagonal of the most artistic landing figures.


2019, May

May 2019

Nano Nonconformity
Simon Escobar Steinvall, LMSC

In our current experiments we are optimising the growth of zinc phosphide nanowires in arrays predefined using e-beam lithography in the cleanroom. However, the nanowires crave freedom, and as can be seen here our nanowires seem to have a will of their own. They are free independent nanowires, and ain’t no SiO2 mask gonna tell them where to grow or not! And the edge of our substrate seems to have been their location of choice.


2019, April

Apr 2019

CNT suspension leaves
Sadegh Kamaei Bahmaei, Nanolab

CNT (carbon nanotubes) suspension on the Al foil after drop casting and drying in the air. The resulting shape looks like a leaf. It could be because of the sodium cholate, a salt used as a surfactant, when it was dried in the air.


2019, March

Mar 2019

A metallic spider web
Lucas Güniat, LMSC

After sputtering tungsten on my PMMA-coated GaAs wafer, I found a nice web sitting at its very center. Could it be some weaving nano-insect? Turned out that we had to refute that hypothesi. Indeed, we didn't use the SPYDER for this deposition, but the DP650... This intricate pattern revealed itself to be composed of cracks in the metallic layer (caused by a partial melting of the underlying PMMA), and by my (111) cleaving markers. Who knows, maybe the 8-leg artist is hidden somewhere on the chip, eating its prey?


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

2019, February

Feb 2019

Alumina Sea Snails
Alain Yuji Takabayashi, Q-Lab

An “escargatoire” of sea snails emerges from the BEOL (Back End of Line) stack of a silicon photonics chip such that their signature spiral-shaped shells are visible under Merlin’s panoptic eye. These timid creatures only come to the chip surface when waves of HF vapor wash over pinholes in their ALD-grown alumina shells.


2019, January

Jan 2019

Manhattan Skyline
Riyaz Mohammed Abdul Khadar, Remco Franciscus Peter van Erp, POWERLab

This cross-sectional electron-micrograph captures the hustle and bustle of the Manhattan Skyline by night using the Zeiss-Merlin, while looking over the Hudson river. A combination of dry etch (STS) followed by TMAH wet etch on GaN epitaxial layers on Silicon exposes the crystal planes of GaN, which resemble high-rises.


2018, December

Dec 2018

A Collection of Ancient Carvings
Amin Hodaei, SMaL

A collection of ancient carvings were found at the bottom of the matter. These ancient carvings are made up of calcium carbonate nanoparticles which have been synthesized using a surface acoustic wave (SAW)-based spray-drier fabricated at CMI.


2018, November

Nov 2018

Rare coral
Anastasiia Glushkova, LPMC

In CMi EPFL it was possible to capture all the bizarre beauty of a rare coral-like intermediate phase of methylammonium lead bromide.


2018, October

Oct 2018

MgO CMi urchin on a Mg coral
Matthieu Rüegg, Lorenz Hagelüken, LMIS1

After immersion in PBS, magnesium thin film deposited by thermal evaporation degrades and forms MgO nano-spikes on its surface.


2018, September

Sep 2018

A gallium strawberry in the shadow of a diamond mushroom
Teodoro Graziosi, Q-Lab

Under a single crystal diamond “mushroom” lies a juicy gallium strawberry. The strawberry is formed by thermal annealing of the diamond microdisk, fabricated by focused ion beam milling. At 500 °C in air, the amorphous carbon created by the 30 kV ion beam is etched and the gallium ions implanted in this area form small spheres or more interesting shapes.


2018, August

Aug 2018

Attack of the Nano-Gnomes
Simon Robert Escobar Steinvall, LMSC

An angry nano-gnome is poking his upper body, made out of zinc phosphide nanowires, out of an indium phosphide wafer, ready to attack any unsuspecting PhD students who dare to disturb his rest.


2018, July

Jun 2018

The opera house
Benoît Desbiolles, LMIS4

Scanning electron microscope image of suspended titanium nano-structures (walls and membranes) onto silicon nano-wall networks. This was simply done using standard photolithography (VPG200) combined with ion beam etching (IBE350). The curtains like deformation of the titanium nano-walls is most likely due to thermal stress induced during the step of photolithography. 100% Made in Cmi.

2018, June

Jun 2018

Micro Toad from SuperMario
Antoine Vian, Mathias Steinacher, SMaL

Racing through a field of polymerized capsules in the SEM chamber can reveal some nice surprises such as this mushroom shaped head. Toad's head is 60 µm in circumference. These capsules were produced using a PDMS microfluidic chip that was fabricated at CMi.

2018, May

May 2018

A glance at the beautiful cliffs of Etretat from CMi
Richard Meunier, Aleva Neurotherapeutics

If you've ever wanted to go to see the beautiful cliffs of Etretat but are stuck doing research in the clean room, then you can come and see their equivalent at the micro-scale in CMi. Topped with a luxurious plain of platinum grains, those sheer and majestic Pt cliffs will offer a breathtaking view, leaving you with incomparable admiration and awe. Guaranteed tourist free, they are the ideal relaxing spot for the worn and tired scientist.

2018, April

Apr 2018

AIN butterfly
Bahareh Ghadiani, LPQM

This butterfly belongs to the family known as "AlN". This group includes the world's rarest group of butterflies living on the grass of MOCVD AlN for their entire life! This kind of grass only grows on the CMi silicon-silicon oxide wafers.


2018, March

Mar 2018

A snake sheds its skin
Ian Rousseau, LASPE

Gallium nitride nanobeam photonic crystals are fabricated using electron beam lithography followed by dry and wet etching.  The tiny (< 70 nm) hexagonal holes are produced by aligning the pattern with the gallium nitride crystal axes and etching in KOH, which attacks the various crystal facets at different rates.  Gallium nitride’s wurtzite crystal symmetry causes the initially circular holes to become hexagons, in contrast to the cubic diamond and zincblende crystal structures of silicon and gallium arsenide, respectively. The “snake skin” is the HSQ hard mask, which has slid off during the wet etching of this particular nanostructure.


2018, February

Feb 2018

Micro R2D2
Julien Dorsaz, CMi

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.... *star wars theme* …. WAIT!  In fact, the story unfolds right here and right now in the CMi with R2D2 battling armies of stormtroopers inside the SEM Merlin chamber. This 3D replica was printed with the Nanoscribe professional photonic GT using two-photon absorption mechanism, in galvoscanning mode. The model is 250 micrometers tall and was written in about 3 hours. Next scientific project: Millenium Falcon J !


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.

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.