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Philips Research laboratories, the Netherlands FEI Company, USA.

FEI specializes in nanotechnology equipment, including the scanning electron microscopes that Holthuysen used to take these pictures. Since conventional light microscopes'resolving power starts declining after magnifications of two thousand-fold, electron microscopes, which can achieve magnifications up to two million-fold, are the default way to visualize nanoparticles. They work by sending a high-energy beam of electrons to illuminate the surface of the object and gathering the electromagnetic radiation that is bounced back. Several of these images portray a series of interestingly botched experiments, including a donut-shaped object reflecting incomplete replication due to the premature vitrification of a thermoplastic polymer; an excessive amount of one substance, generating tagliatelle-like crystallites; a metal thin film deposition process, commonly used in the manufacturing of semiconductor devices, in which the internal stress has made the film curve upward to outline a metal wave. The one image of a successful process shows the so-called Bosch process, in which successive etching of the silicon resulted in a skyline pattern.


Bad adhesion of metallization. Metal thin film on silicon, 40.000x magnification on a FEI NovaNanoSEM600 microscope, horizontal field width: 7.5 micron, 2007.

Titanium oxide crystallite during the deposition of a wet chemical layer. 2,500x magnification on a FEI scanning electron microscope, horizontal field width: 125 micron, 2002.

Micro-molded part from a deep-etched silicon mold. Polymer, 1,250x magnification on a FEI NovaNanoSEM600 microscope, horizontal field width: 250 microns, 2007.

Plasma etching done by SF6 plasma in the so-called Bosch process. Silicon, 20.000x magnification on a Philips XL40FEG microscope, horizontal field width: 24 micron, 2006.

Images by Frans Holthuysen
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Publication:Issues in Science and Technology
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 22, 2008
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