Picture of the Month – Honorable Runner-ups

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2022, April

Victoria Manzi Orezzoli, NANOLAB

Post-mortem analysis of vertically aligned carbon nanotubes takes a more literal meaning when a skull shows up in your sample.

Pisa Tower at CMI
Giuliano Parma, AQUA

This silicon nano pillar is the result of a passivation impurity masking effect when “falling” at the bottom of a trench during the Deep Reactive Ion Etching process. All the surface is coated with 30 nm of TiN deposited using Atomic Layer Deposition.

Magic nano cracknel
Tao Jiang, NAM

Magic nano cracknel is made of TiO2 that is deposited in the holes of PMMA by the atomic layer deposition, followed by the Ion Beam Etching. Because of the charging effect, the image area outside of the cracknel is blurred, which looks like the magic energy is flowing.

Deep Valley
Victoria Manzi Orezzoli, NANOLAB

After several cycles of water imbibition and drying, vertical aligned carbon nanotubes on silicon chips aggregate forming deep peaks and valleys resembling the Swiss Alps.

Silicon chimney stack
Rui Ning Wang, LPQM

An attempt at industrial landscape art using cross section SEM of SiO2 suspended structures obtained by undercutting the Si below with XeF2. The cross section was then obtained using a second photolithography and deep Si etch via Bosch process. During that process, photoresist residues stuck in the undercut area might have caused micro-masking, creating the tall fence-like structures.

Nano cigar box
Tao Jiang, NAM

Box of nano cigars made of TiO2. The nano cigars have been drawn out randomly.

Platinum cell culture
Francesco Bertot, HYLAB

Who knew that cells can be made of platinum? The effect of heat during platinum deposition is sufficient to create air bubbles that resemble living cells. Some of them even seem to be in the middle of mitosis, maybe a new frontier in biology?

2022, March

Alberto Beccari, LPQM

Grab one of these, get used to its feel and weight. Spin it to know without a doubt that you’re not in someone else’s dream (Inception, 2010). These silicon nano-pillars have been over-etched for too long with DRIE, causing notching at the base. The steam is then easily undercut with hydrofluoric acid, causing the pillars to fall on their side.

Inorganic dumplings
Alberto Beccari, LPQM

After a sleepless night and a developing a mild carpal tunnel syndrome, we managed to roll up thousands of baozi. Throw them in the steamer before the guests arrive. Cylindrical silicon nano-pillars have been covered with a silicon nitride film, grown with PECVD. The deposition is not quite conformal, giving the impression of inflated, tasty nanobuns.

Golden Star Wars are taking place at CMI
Francesco Bertot, HYLAB

It seems emperor Palpatine has ordered the construction of a new death star! Luckily, the rebels are already preparing an attack with a series of golden bow-tie fighters, ready to come out from the clouds. This result has been obtained after E-beam lithography and titanium-gold evaporation. Bad adhesion of the metals over the resist caused the formation of air bubbles and the peeling off of the deposited layer.

2022, February

Pushing towards the resolution limits
Franco De Palma, HQC

On a 2-dimensional hole gas originated in a SiGe/Ge heterostructure, quantum dots (QDs) are defined by 25-30 nm Ti/Pd gates patterned through the combination of e-beam lithography, evaporation and lift-off. In the upper part, a single QD used as a single hole transistor faces one of the two QDs used as qubits, the fundamental blocks of quantum processors.

Belated Merry Christmas!
Marco Riccardi, NAM

By exploiting surface and capillary forces, a single 60 nm gold nanoparticle is delivered inside each of these holes milled in the gold substrate with the aid of FIB. The result is an array of nano-Christmas trees, which can potentially be used as a template to help assembling the particles.

Spider on a Brick Wall
Rajrupa Paul, Valerio Piazza, LMSC

Micro-cracks formed on monocrystalline Zn3P2 thin film. The challenge is to not place the hall bar on these cracks.

Hung-Wei Li, Nanolab

After the deposition of metal, buffer layer, and catalyst in CMi, dense carbon nanotube forest grew on the substrate. We wanted to observe the surface after measurement, and we found a goldfish swimming on top of the carbon nanotube forest!

Micro black hole
Pierrick Clément, LMIS1

A broken SiNx/SiO2 membrane revealed the back side of the Si wafer that was etched by the Bosch process.

2022, January

Birth of Batman
Viacheslav Snigirev, LPQM

Area around electrode pads drawn by an electron beam in a double layer of 500 nm of MMA / 500 nm of PMMA coated with 30 nm of Al. Exposure with a dose of 1600 uC/cm2 and a beam current of 100nA on a Si substrate with 2um oxide layer generates enough heat to cause the conductive protective Al top layer to crack, buckle and eventually burst open.

Milky Way
Stephan Gamper, Miraex

Dark Field microscope image used to spot scratches and residues on the surface.

A micro fawn
Veronica Leccese, LUMES

A micro-fawn in an aluminium field.