NanoFrazor Explore
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NanoFrazor Explore

Heidelberg Instruments Nano

The NanoFrazor Explore has been developed for researchers who want to have easy and flexible access to high-resolution nanometer-sized geometries of almost any kind. It is based on Thermal Scanning Probe Lithography, a technology developed at IBM Research Zurich, which uses an ultra-sharp tip to evaporate a thermally sensitive resist. The tool has a wide range of applications in the fields of nanophotonics, nanooptics, nanomagnetism, nanoelectronics, plasmonics, etc.

The NanoFrazor Explore is specifically designed for R&D, and incorporates all key features of Thermal Scanning Probe Lithography including 3D patterning of nanostructures with high resolution and simultaneous in-situ metrology. The technology is compatible with standard pattern transfer processes like reactive-ion etching, electroplating and lift-off.

The housing has all necessary components integrated, and can be installed in any laboratory or clean-room. Vacuum and high-voltages are not required, keeping the requirements on infrastructure very low. The tool is easy-to-use, basic skills for patterning and imaging can be learned within a day.


  • Thermal Scanning Probe cantilevers with ultra-sharp tips
  • 3D nanolithography
  • In-situ metrology with sub-nm resolution for overlay, stitching & closed-loop lithography
  • Real-time, automatic tuning of patterning parameters
  • Short overall fabrication time, no resist development needed
  • Stand-alone unit with low requirements on infrastructure (no vacuum or high voltages required)
  • High degree of customization and automatization
  • Ideal for small workpieces up to a size of 4-inch
  • Compatibility with various transfer processes and materials
  • Exchange and calibration of cantilevers within one minute
  • Marker-less correlation stitching of neighboring fields
  • Local heating of various surfaces for chemical patterning
  • No substrate damage by charged particles, can be used as an extension or replacement of an e-beam lithography tool
  • Further increase in throughput with optional laser writing extension and Mix-and-Match


The NanoFrazor Explore covers a wide range of applications. Like E-Beam Lithography it is suitable for the fabrication of templates and prototypes of a variety of devices and components at resolutions well below 100 nm.

The NanoFrazor extends the application range of E-Beam significantly. The unique 3D capability with extreme accuracy enables novel devices and components. Furthermore, sensitive materials and devices are not damaged by high energy beam during the NanoFrazor patterning process. This is crucial for the development and improvement of future nanodevices.

Nanooptics: 3D optical elements like spiral phase plates, microlenses or holograms

Optics on the nanometer scale play an important role in fields spanning from fundamental sciences to nanotechnology applications as modern diffractive, refractive or hybrid optics often contain nanoscale patterns. Applications range from micro-lens arrays, polarization filters and Fresnel lenses to compression of ultra-short laser pulses, holograms for quality inspection, security features and advanced astronomical devices.

The NanoFrazor with its unique 3D capabilities is an ideal tool to create arbitrary, smooth and nanometer-resolved surface profiles necessary to enable novel optics applications on the nanometer scale.



  • Standalone and self-contained unit fitting into any laboratory or cleanroom
  • Acoustic & vibration isolation
  • Monitored & controlled atmosphere
  • Easy access from three sides
  • Integrated optical microscope to monitor sample and cantilever
  • Open, accessible, and extendable design future upgrades and new functionalities and optional add-ons


  • Two independent positioning systems with 3 axes, each enabling high speed with high-accuracy positioning
  • Unique, ultra-stiff closed-loop piezo scanner with low-noise and high-bandwidth sensors
  • Advanced control for single-nm accuracy at several mm/s scan speed
  • Lightweight and stiff magnetic cantilever holder
  • Optical microscope for search, overview and coarse alignment


Coarse / Wafer stage


X, Y range

10 cm x 10 cm

Z range

10 mm

Position sensor resolution

1 nm

Position accuracy (absolute)

1 µm/m

High-speed piezo scanners


X, Y range

75 µm x 75 µm

Z range

20 µm


  • Complete, comprehensive, workflow-based and robust graphical user interface
  • Built-in IGOR Pro scientific graphing and data analysis tool
  • Powerful scripting library
  • Data management designed to meet the user’s needs (parameter defaults, user preferences, saving, exporting, logging and direct data access, etc.)
  • Import and modification of various layout file formats
  • Peripheral controls: Light, valves, temperature and humidity
  • Live microscope camera view on sample and cantilever
  • Free and regular updates


Dedicated, well-shielded low-noise electronics with:

  • 1 GHz processor,
  • 10 MHz pattern generator and
  • 18-bit DACs to control scanner and cantilever