Application Image Competition 2022/2023

Congratulations to the winners!

We are thrilled to announce the results of our 2022/2023 image competition, which showcased the capabilities of our tools in advanced research.

The competition drew in an impressive array of submissions from around the world, highlighting the remarkable breakthroughs and innovations taking place in fields such as nanotechnology, biomedical engineering, quantum devices, flexible electronics, photonics, and more. The competition truly captured the spirit of cutting-edge research and the potential of our technology.

From September 1, 2022 through February 28, 2023 all users of Heidelberg Instruments products were invited to participate in our new “Application Image Competition on Advanced Nano & Micro Fabrication”. The competition is an opportunity for the worldwide community to showcase their work, using Heidelberg Instruments communication channels, to win a total of 10,000 € in prizes. Each prize will be given as a donation.

  • Upload 1 to 5 images and/or a short video (< 3min) illustrating one innovative application, referred to as “images” in the following text.
  • Submitted images should highlight the use of a Heidelberg Instruments tool (any current or past system including VPG, DWL, MLA, µPG, µMLA, NanoFrazor & MPO 100). 
  • The images must be free of third-party copyright. 
  • The images can be made with any equipment (e.g. cameras or microscopes).
  • The images can be slightly edited when it serves an illustrative purpose (e.g. scale bar or naming of elements). 
  • Heidelberg Instruments will have the full rights to use the images online or in printed form. It will be associated with a reference chosen by the submitter (author’s name and/or institution).
  • Winners will be selected by a committee nominated by Heidelberg Instruments.
  • Multiple entries, regarding different applications, will be accepted and should be made separately.
  • Illustrative quality of the images (the images should help in understanding the application).
  • Aesthetic and quality of the images (accuracy, sharpness & resolution). 
  • Clear and concise descriptions of the application and its associated images.     
  • Creativity and innovation of the application.
  • Energy-saving or green environmental advantages of the application will also be taken into account.

1st Prize / 5,000 €

A Microfluidic Device for Synthetic Biology created from a SU-8 Mold

The first place in this years’ Application Image Competition has been awarded to

Kei Ikemori and Prof. Yuichi Wakamoto
Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, The University of Tokyo, Japan

System used:
Heidelberg Instruments µMLA Maskless Aligner

Bacteria with a synthetic gene circuit and fluorescent proteins were grown in microchambers, mimicking stem cells in multicellular organisms. The microchambers were created in PDMS using an SU-8 mould fabricated with a µMLA. In this project, a Heidelberg Instruments logo was made inside a square microchamber, and E. coli cells were cultured inside. The fluorescence of the proteins propagated cooperatively, creating a wave of light that enveloped the logo. This artificial construction of gene expression dynamics is important for understanding developmental patterning in multicellular organisms.

Jury Statement:
While we appreciated the use of our logo, our primary reason for selecting this submission as the first prize was the satisfaction of knowing that our systems are contributing to advancements in biological and medical research. They not only benefit human health but also contribute to the understanding and conservation of the natural environment.

Heidelberg Instruments Application Image Competition 2022/2023 Microfluidic Device for Synthetic Biology SU-8 Mold, µMLA

2nd Prize / 3,000 €

Optical Gratings on Atom Chips to Extend Microtechnological Functions for Creating an Integrated Quantum Laboratory

Sascha de Wall
Institute of Micro Production Technology, University of Hannover, Germany

System used:
Heidelberg Instruments DWL 66+ Laser Lithography System

Bose-Einstein condensation (BEC) has been studied for over 20 years and is now used in inertial sensors and gravimeters. Atomic chip technology has reduced BEC apparatus size, making it usable for commercial applications. By integrating a nanostructured optical reflection grating, a grating-magneto-optical trap is created, reducing the required number of laser units for cooling atoms. The grating needs to be directly integrated into the system for optimal performance. A DWL 66+ was used to structure the photoresist. The transfer of the resist mask into the substrate (Si) was achieved through ion beam etching. To achieve the desired optical reflection properties, the substrate was coated with Al using vapour deposition (PVD).

Jury Statement:
Quantum research is a rapidly advancing field with the potential to yield significant benefits such as faster computers, more secure communication systems, and highly accurate sensors, we are proud that our systems are part of it.

3rd Prize / 2,000 €

Fabricating Semiconductor MoS2 Nano-Circuits

Dr. Giorgio Zambito
Department of Physics, University of Genoa, Italy

System used:
Heidelberg Instruments NanoFrazor® Scholar

Scanning electron microscopy image of a MoS2 nano-circuit in the shape of the DIFILab logo. The MoS2 was structured using a NanoFrazor® Scholar. (Inset: Current and topography maps of a MoS2 nanofinger acquired through conductive atomic force microscopy. The MoS2 nanofinger and the high-resolution areas of the electrical contact were fabricated using the NanoFrazor®.)

The resulting local conductivity maps show that the 2D Transition Metal Dichalcogenide (TMD) nano-circuits have potential as building blocks for 2D semiconducting interconnections with deterministic definitions at the nanoscale.

Jury Statement:
With their unique properties that make them suitable for a variety of applications, 2D materials are a promising class of materials, and we take pride in the fact that our systems have specifications and functionalities that are well-suited to research in this field.

Heidelberg Instruments Application Image Competition 2022/2023 Semiconductor MOS2 Nano-Circuit NanoFrazor Scholar

A version of this picture has been used in the research article “Deterministic Thermal Sculpting of Large-Scale 2D Semiconductor Nanocircuits”, published in Advanced Materials Interfaces, Volume 10, Issue 5.

Do you think your project could win first prize?

Take part in the next edition!

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