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.

Key Features

  • 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

Advanced Features

  • 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


Patterning resolution (lateral, half-pitch) < 20 nm
3D patterning resolution (vertical) < 2 nm
Write speed 1 mm/s
Read resolution (vertical) < 1 nm
Atmosphere Ambient / Nitrogen
Energy consumption < 1 kW
Dimensions (Height) 185 cm
Dimensions (Footprint) 128 cm x 78 cm
Weight 650 kg


Download the NanoFrazor Explore Brochure here.


  • 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