Thermal scanning probe lithography tool with in-situ imaging and grayscale patterning capabilities

The NanoFrazor® Scholar is an excellent solution for academic research groups requiring an affordable system for nanofabrication. The NanoFrazor® Scholar is used for the nano-patterning in various application areas, such as quantum devices, 1D/2D materials such as quantum dots, Dolan bridges and Josephson junctions, and nanoscale arrays. The unique capabilities of the NanoFrazor® Scholar enable novel research in both new devices and in new materials. For example, thermal scanning probe lithography can be used in advanced applications such as grayscale photonics devices, nanofluidics structures or biomimetic substrates for cell growth, or any application requiring local modification of materials via heat, e.g. chemical reactions and physical phase changes.

In-situ imaging enables two unique features: markerless overlay and comparison of the written and target patterns during writing in such a way the parameters can be immediately adjusted. This approach, called closed-loop lithography, results in sub-3 nm vertical precision for 2.5D (grayscale) shapes of any complexity. Fast and precise control of a heated nanoscale tip enables innovation not otherwise feasible with other techniques.

The technology behind the system is the result of more than 20 years of intensive research and development (R&D) that started at IBM Research Zürich and now takes place at Heidelberg Instruments Nano. The NanoFrazor® hardware and software are constantly advancing to extend the capabilities and performance of the tool and the wide range of applications. Our dedicated team of experts continues to develop and optimize the pattern transfer processes for different applications. We compile this know-how in a growing library of best practices and protocols to support our customers.

Thermal Scanning Probe Lithography

New approach to nanopatterning enabling applications not otherwise feasible


Easy patterning of nanostructures even with complex geometries; Min. lateral features 20 nm, Vertical resolution 3 nm

Damage-free Lithography

No damage from charged particles; no proximity effects; clean lift-off


With all standard pattern transfer methods: lift-off, etching, etc. – knowledge resource and best practices available in our “Recipe Book”

Unique Thermal Cantilevers

Integrated microheater and distance sensor; easy to exchange and economical

Precise Overlay and Stitching

Markerless overlay and stitching accuracy 25 nm specified, sub-10 nm overlay shown

In-situ Imaging

Immediate control of patterned structures

Extremely Compact

400 mm x 400 mm x 450 mm

Low Cost of Ownership

No need for cleanroom, vacuum pump or expensive consumables

Grayscale Mode

2.5D lithography for patterning photonic, nanofluidic and biomimetic structures with 3 nm accuracy


Customized glovebox solution ensures minimized contamination

Customer applications

Technical Data

Patterning performance
Minimum structure size [nm]20
Minimum lines and spaces [half pitch, nm]30
Grayscale / 3D-resolution (step size in PPA) [nm]3
Writing field size [X μm x Y μm]50 x 50
Field stitching accuracy (markerless, using in-situ imaging) [nm]50
Overlay accuracy (markerless, using in-situ imaging) [nm]50
Write speed (typical scan speed) [mm/s] 0.5
Write speed (50 nm pixel) [μm²/min] 500
Imaging performance
Lateral imaging resolution (feature size) [nm]10
Vertical resolution (topography sensitivity) [nm]<0.5
Imaging speed (@ 50 nm resolution) [μm²/min]500
System features
Substrate sizes1 x 1 mm² to 50 x 50 mm² (100 x 100 mm² possible with limitations) Thickness: 5 mm with optical access, 10 mm without optical access
Optical microscope0.6 µm digital resolution, 2.4 µm diffraction limit, 1.0 mm x 1.0 mm field of view
Magnetic cantilever holderFast (<1 min) and accurate tip exchange
HousingCompact housing with separate controller rack, active vibration isolation
Software featuresGDS and bitmap import, topography image analysis and drawing for overlay, fully automated calibration routines, Python scripting
NanoFrazor® cantilever features
Integrated componentsTip heater, topography sensor, electrostatic actuation
Tip geometryConical tip with <10 nm radius and 750 nm length
Tip heater temperature range25 °C – 1100 °C (<1 °C setpoint resolution)
System dimensions & installation requirements
Height × width × depthTabletop: 400 mm x 400 mm x 450 mm, electronic trolley: 660 mm x 560 mm, x 600 mm
Weight100 kg
Power input1 x 110 or 220 V AC, 10 A
Vibration and noise levelAmbient acoustic noise levels need to be kept below 40 dB for best performance. A strong table is required. Floor requires vibration level VC-B.
Other considerations
Recipe book with detailed descriptions of various processes is included (regularly updated with software).
Cantilever tips degrade over time (>50 h patterning possible). Exchange is fast and low cost for tool owners.
A cleanroom or special laboratory is not required. No vacuum needed.
Unique capabilities make it easy to receive government funding (for system itself or later research projects)

Please note
Specifications depend on individual process conditions and may vary according to equipment configuration. Write speed depends on pixel size and write mode. Design and specifications are subject to change without prior notice.

Get in Touch

We are always at your disposal.
Please send us your request.

Sign up

Subscribe to our newsletter
to receive the newest information.

Stay connected

Follow us on social media to benefit
from a range of useful resources.

Scroll to Top