by Natasha Sufi

Nano Vacuum is excited, Heidelberg Instruments Nano AG in Zurich, a subsidiary office of Heidelberg Instruments Mikrotechnik GmbH celebrated the 10-year anniversary of the commercialization of the NanoFrazor system series. The NanoFrazor is based on the Thermal Scanning Probe (t-SPL) technology and can be used for nanopatterning of quantum devices on 1D/2D materials, grayscale photonics devices, nanofluidic structures or biomimetic substrates for cell growth.

Originally the Thermal Scanning Probe technology was developed at IBM, where a group of researchers showed that the sharp tips of atomic force microscopes can be heated and used as a tool to “drill” nanoscale holes and later to write arbitrary nanostructures by using special, evaporating materials.

After exploring the technology at IBM, Felix Holzner and Philip Paul incorporated SwissLitho AG as a spin-off from ETH Zurich (Heidelberg Instruments Nano AG since 2021) as CEO and CTO with the idea of selling nanolithography equipment for t-SPL. The technical term “Thermal Scanning Probe Lithography” was then replaced by the product name “NanoFrazor”.

After starting operations of then SwissLitho in early 2013, the first commercial NanoFrazor machine named “Titlis”, a NanoFrazor Explore, was installed in 2014 at McGill University in Canada. “Titlis” is still running and just recently received an upgrade with the integration of the laser writer module jointly developed in Heidelberg and Zurich. Today, more than 50 NanoFrazor systems have been installed at renowned facilities all over the world, with new customers lined up for future systems.

“The NanoFrazor team in Zurich works on various promising developments on the instrument as well as on the materials to continuously expand the applications range of the technology. There are still manifold open opportunities for the NanoFrazor, as it can still be considered novel, even 10 years after the start of its commercialization. Everyone at Heidelberg Instruments is excited to see how the NanoFrazor will have developed in another 10 years from now”, Konrad Roessler, CEO of Heidelberg Instruments Mikrotechnik says.

The anniversary was celebrated in the newly opened office of Heidelberg Instruments Nano in Zurich together with family, friends, and numerous partners, who supported the successful journey of the NanoFrazor.

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