22 October 2017
In 2016, Samuel Zimmermann and Diederik Balkenende from EPFL and Adolph Merkle institute won $1000 with the 3rd place of the Young Researchers Idea Competition at the Thermal Probe Workshop. Since then, the duo realized their creative idea with the NanoFrazor at EPFL and recently published the corresponding article “Nanopatterning of a stimuli-responsive fluorescent supramolecular polymer by thermal scanning probe lithography” in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces. In this article, they show remarkable control over fluorescence contrast and intensity and explain the observed effects by kinetic trapping of the dissociated state of the supramolecular polymer due to ultra-rapid cooling after heating with the NanoFrazor tip. Furthermore, Samuel and Diederik demonstrated a combination of topographical features hidden inside the fluorescence features presenting an exciting new approach for hidden security features within optical security features.