Picture of the Month – Honorable Runner-ups

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2023, April

Stanley Cuprite
Elif Nur Dayi, LNET

Copper is a metal we all know, and as most metals it likes to reflect light. But when it oxidizes it turns into a semiconductor. One of its oxides which is seen here is called “Cuprite” and it loves to absorb light! These cuprite nanocubes are to be used as light absorbers and catalysts to convert sunlight to chemical energy. The “padding” on the cube corners is actually a sight for crystallography enthusiasts: They are the {110} facets while sides of the cube are {100}, and they react totally different as catalysts!

Iridium ice cream
Mohammad Rezaei, POWERlab

Plasma at nanometre scale is quite a mystery! Sometimes it produces a THz signal, sometime it makes a scoop of ice cream for you! Indeed, if you can digest Iridium.

Vingt mille lieues sous les mers
Vittorio Bonino, HYLAB

Imagine voyaging deep in the ocean, where you may encounter mysterious creatures and breathtaking landscapes. But in this case, instead of water, you’re immersed in poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene), a conductive organic polymer, and your submarine is a Leica DM800 optical microscope located in the CMI cleanroom. The creatures are iron(III) tosylate crystals and the bubbles on the border of the chip are residuals of solvent used for the polymerization of the PEDOT. Bon voyage!

20000 Microns Under The Sea
Elif Nur Dayi, LNET

A moment of heated discussion between sea creatures, with the beam looming right above their heads. The bubbles are colloidal Au nanoparticles with sizes varying from ten to few hundred nanometers. They were dropcasted onto Si and will later play an important job as photocatalysts: converting light to fuels! However, some of them melted before their mission and morphed into these “sea creatures” during sample preparation and under beam exposure.

2023, March

Oxide Tree with Blue River and Snow
Silvan Stettler, NEMS

When venturing into the snowy Swiss Alps in winter, crossing rivers can be a dangerous endeavor. A recent storm of XeF2 has cut down a tree composed of SiO2 and Al, forming a narrow bridge to the other side. Cross it at your own risk, the water is shallow and falling into the spikey silicon riverbed would be painful!

A triangle queue in the hexagon jungle
Michele Zendrini, LMSC

GaAs nanoplatelets grown by metal organic vapor phase epitaxy (MOVPE) after electron beam lithography of SiO2 mask for pattern definition. The originally patterned Y-shapes evolve into several morphologies during growth. Most of them resemble hexagons and polyhedrons, but some triangular specimens still struggle to survive!

Dancing girl in the crowd
Zheru Qiu, LPQM

These nanowires are form inadvertently created after sputtering of ITO (in the SPIDER) on a SiO2 substrate with mysterious contamination. Although beautiful, I don’t want to see her again on my next sample. My current best guess is there was some photoresist or etch polymer remaining on the silicon oxide surface, which I didn’t expect. And it works as nucleation centers for the ITO and make it grows like nanowires.

Modern Line Art
Massume Zaki, NAM

This picture was supposed to be a golden gratings made using HSQ as a resist, but because of charging in IBE or due to HSQ not sticking well to the substrate, it became a black and white painting.

Önder Soydal, POWERlab

This is a SEM (Zeiss Merlin) photo of Ni/Pt metal stack deposited by EVA760 on GaN-on-SiC chip and patterned by E-Beam lithography (EBPG5000+). All fabrication steps and imaging were done in CMi. Intended structure was interdigitated metal fingers that are separated by few hundred nanometer gaps; however, due to dirty surface, metal fingers could not be constructed as sharp as intended and they embodied wavy patterns on themselves. How these amusing and malleable wave patterns came alive on rigid metallic structures is a great allusion to how life always finds its unique way to harmonize joy and seriousness in one body even during failures. As its nature, this structure also resembles CMi members who we fail to be distinguishable from each other behind the standard cold masks and gowns in the cleanroom, yet who have unique and joyful research ideas in their minds. Furthermore, the wavy patterns foreshadow the electromagnetic waves that would have traveled through these fingers if the fabrication was successful.

VO2 nucleation bacteria like network
Anna Varini, Nanolab

Different defects can be found on VO2 film grown with PLD. In this picture you can see one of them – bacteria like network.

Edward Scissorhands is finally happy!
Michele Zendrini, LMSC

GaAs nanopyramids grown by metal organic vapor phase epitaxy (MOVPE) after electron beam lithography of SiO2 mask for pattern definition. The shape of Edward Scissorhands results from lateral overgrowth of the pyramid structures that tend to merge as a thin film rather than remaining separated and well-defined.

2023, February

The day of the structural nanopainting
Hsiang-Chu Wang, NAM

This Mediterranean landscape is a combination of chromo-encryption and Picasso’s artwork observed under the optical microscope with polarized illumination and detection. Do you feel the breeze and the atmosphere of a nice weather in the summer?

The visualization of polarization-controlled chromo-encryption
Hsiang-Chu Wang, NAM

In this modern digital world, information that used to be recorded in binary format can now be encrypted in colors and decrypted only with a predefined numbering table and correct polarization pairs. There is a part of my thesis stored in this image! Does it not look like a random mosaic artwork?

Colorful Brushes!
Zihan Li, Junyin Zhang, LPQM

Colorful Brushes! Grating couplers are fabricated on thin-film lithium niobate, to couple light from fiber into integrated cavities. Due to the interference in the visible spectrum, the grating couplers just look like colorful brushes in the optical microscope (right picture, directly exported from the optical microscope without further manipulation). The SEM picture for the grating are attached left.

Stefano Marinoni, LMSC

Looking for a micro-accommodation for your nanostructures? You can now rent a micro-yurt! Using two-photon grayscale lithography, this 20 μm-wide tent was etched into GaN, and shows a silicon dioxide roof to ensures optimal insulation against any weather condition. The picture was taken on the SEM Zeiss Leo.

Highway interchange
Roberto Russo, Biranche Tandon, LMIS1

A micron highway interchange for cells and bacteria to crawl over and change their fate!! Poly-Capro Lactone fibers printed in multi-layer form weird cross over regions where a direction change in printing is carried out.

Diamond chewing gum
Yuchun Zhu, LQNO

This is a “diamond chewing gum” unintentionally made by me…

Crystal grape
Chengli Wang, Zihan Li, LPQM

A thin-film lithium niobate is bonded to the SiO2 substrate. But after dicing the wafer to small pieces, the lithium niobate film on the boundary begins to detach from the substrate and shrinks due to the stress. The wandering pattern looks like the mountains on the chip, or a bunch of grapes waiting for harvest.

At the twilight’s crossing
Diego Armando Sandoval Salaiza, LAPD

In the picture there are SU-8 waveguide crossing constructs, showing birefringent behavior under polarized light microscopy. To further the story we’re still determining what is actually causing the birefringence, and it seems to be some particularities of the structure arising from the fabrication technique.

Galette des Rois
Claudio Jaramillo, LQNO

Inspired by the traditional “Galette des Rois”, we found out that the ovens at CMi can also bake micro-pies ! Starting with a single-crystal diamond substrate, deposit 200 nm of Titanium, and after baking at 200 °C for 45 mins (or until golden brown), out comes a Titanium-flavored pie. Serve while it’s hot, and enjoy with a cup of coffee.

2023, January

Nano Ayers Rocks
Roberto Russo, LMIS1

When you flip of 180° your boring dose test AFM picture ad you find out you were teleported in the middle of Australia! Overexposed IBE etched gold-coated superconducting YBaCuO sample.

Nano Amazon Forest drone view
Roberto Russo, LMIS1

If you properly recolor an AFM scan, it can bring you anywhere! Here you can fly on drone wings over the top of Amazon forest. Surface grainy roughness of an IBE etched gold-coated superconducting YBaCuO sample.

Not another earthquake
Berke Erbas, LMIS1

AFM image of sinusoidal pattern fabricated on thin film oxide by combining thermal scanning probe lithography and dry etching.

GaAs wind turbine in the SiO2 countryside
Michele Zendrini, LMSC

Branched GaAs horizontal nanowires grown by metal organic vapor phase epitaxy (MOVPE) after electron beam lithography of SiO2 mask for pattern definition. On the right side, at the top facet of the farmhouse, a randomly shaped parasitic structure grown on a defect of the mask.