Picture of the Month – Honorable Runner-ups

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2021, May

Hibernating Bees
Samira Frey, PV-Lab

During the fabrication of funnel-shaped microchannels, we found these adorable bees inside the channels that appear to be still in hibernation. The main channels were etched using the Bosch process and a chromium hard mask. Afterward, an isotropic etching step was done to widen the top of the channels.

The spirit of Claude Monet in CMi
Pierrick Clement, LMIS1

It is commonly said that artists never die and a new frame, most probably from Claude Monet, has been reveled at CMi. He has used AZ1512 as photoresist to pattern a parylene layer and he anticipated that it would result in a bad stripping at the end of the process and generate these lovely sunset colors. This piece of art will be open to auction sale soon.

2021, April

Nicolas Tappy, LMSC

While deep-etching (sentech) nanoscribe prints in GaN, an oxide layer re-deposited on the substrate. KOH treatment did not improve the situation, but revealed this hexagonal maze of GaN m-planes, protecting the pyramid from intruders. Maybe a modern Daedalus would use it to imprison a micro-Minotaur?

Who will conquer the Silicon Throne?
Xiaokang LI, Yen-Cheng Liu, Department of Oncology UNIL CHUV, BIOS

The Iron Throne has been destroyed thanks to a hot breath of the dragon, but the Silicon Throne is still waiting for its conqueror. This throne is created by accidentally cleaving a silicon micropillar, where the glow on the edges indicates a thin layer of dry oxide (Centrotherm furnaces).

Sea storm on our wafer
Hernan Furci, André Chatel, Loïc Adrien Broyer, LMIS1

Aerial view of an unchained silicon sea sending violent, turbulent, foamy waves onto a NbTi beach. Ion beam etching of NbTi on silicon (with undesired features on the etched regions).

Accompany me
Hung-Wei Li, Nanolab

After the deposition of metal, buffer layer, and catalyst in the CMi, a dense carbon nanotube forest grew on the substrate. There are salts deposited on the CNTs surface during the measurement. When observing the carbon nanotubes’ side, those salts look like two small creatures accompanying each other on the CNTs.

Fatemeh Qaderi, Nanolab

The sample included pulsed laser deposited VO2 film on top of Tungsten. But this exact spot on the wafer is definitely something else. It could be some residue from the resist, or even a single virus just inhabiting on the wafer, the CMi-variant.

Go get those photons!
Andrea Giunto, LMSC

The figure shows PAC-MAN hurrying in a maze of GeSn single photons avalanche detectors (SPADs) fabricated on a Si wafer. Will PAC-MAN manage to recover all the IR photons before they are detected by the SPADs, or swallowed in the oblivion of the ghost (aka dark) counts? The magenta color is given by the SiN PECVD anti-reflection coating. Evaporation, sputtering, IBE, Ebeam lithography all contributed to the fabrication of the SPAD maze.

2021, March

Structural color chameleon
Hsiang-Chu Wang, NAM

Structural color printing of a chameleon composed of Ag rods with different lengths aligned horizontally. The background shows SEM image of the nanostructures (sizes between 60 and 200 nm). The colors vary with the illumination (black arrows) and measurement (red arrows) polarization states. Muted colors are generated when both polarizations are horizontal or vertical. On the contrary, illumination along the diagonal directions produces exceptionally vivid colors, that stem from the dichroism of the structure. Only the correct polarization combination reveals these catchy colors in the optical microscope.

Broken Glass Art
Berke Erbas, LMIS1

SiO2 sputtering on resist coated substrate surprisingly led an art made by broken micro-pieces of glass. Ring, face, fingerprint, brain and dolphin shapes are created by randomness of the process rather than smooth coverage of glass on the surface.

A microscale SU-8 at the tip of a needle
Zhiwei Yang, LMIS1

Do you know how to precisely place/transfer a microscale object at the tip of a tiny needle? Our answer is: using laser-induced forward transfer (LIFT) technique. Our LIFT setup enables the transfer of such object/structure to many non-planar receivers such as curvilinear surface and surface with prepatterned structures, which might be challenging for other transfer techniques.

2021, February

Suez Canal
Matthias Neuenschwander, LBNI

The Suez Canal in Egypt was finished in 1869, connecting the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea. This micro version was inadvertently created at the CMi in 2021, when I tried to dry-etch a rectangular window into a silicon nitride film. As I was using a very fragile wafer, I had to attach it to a dummy using QuickStick. The cooling turned out to be insufficient and the resist overheated, creating the wrinkled structure. False-colored in Photoshop.

Nano CMi Galaxy
Pooya Dehghan, NanoLab

These nano-structures are made up of Carbon Nano Tubes(CNTs).

A Shy Little Inhabitant
Lucas Güniat, LMSC

While we were swimming around the oxidized phase-shift lithography Silicon nanopillar’s great reef, in order to asses their size expansion by oxygen incorporation, a little friend came and say hi timidly from afar. Certainly a by-product of dicing, it stayed quiet without moving when we passed in front of him. We managed to take a picture before continuing our journey.

2021, January

Sunrise over an 8000nm peak at CMi
Giovanni Resta, GAP–UNIGE

Summit day push on this tiny snowcapped mountain at CMi. A small tribute to celebrate the historic first winter ascent of K2 on January 16th 2021 from a group of 10 Nepali mountaineers. This a re-colored image of the edge of a silicon chip that has been cleaved by hand, leaving atomically sharp edges as well as more blunt features. Picture captured with SEM Merlin In-lens detector at 3KeV EHT.

The city in 2263
Xiaokang Li, Department of Oncology UNIL CHUV

These silicon pillar arrays could represent the future look of our cities if the global population keeps growing. Without enough space to live, we would need to build higher and higher buildings that look like each other. What a boring world! Let’s act now to lead a sustainable life.

Dancing ghosts
Anna Varini, Q-Lab

When things don’t go exactly as planned at CMi you might unexpectedly find a cheerfully dancing ghosts that hold hands like in “Dance” by H.Matisse right where your real structures are supposed to be. Performance took place on Si wafer with multiple layers after final STS chlorine etch through 100nm Al layer. The origin of the ghosts is not exactly known, however, most likely results from underlying SiO layer and/or polymer formed due to passivation during chlorine etch.

Black Hole in CMi
Pooya Dehghan, NanoLab

Nobody knows what is happening inside this black Hole. This black hole is made by work on CNT forest.

Alessandro Floriduz, POWERlab

In these crazy times, even pits of MOCVD-grown gallium nitride happen to be arranged in a corona shape – but don’t worry! These corona-pits won’t be harmful to any other adjacent crystal (or CMi user)! The GaN sample was grown with EPFL-LASPE MOCVD reactor and the picture was taken with CMi LEO 1550.