Novel Applications of Thermal Probes

Awarded: Creative ideas involving a Nanoscale Heatable Tip. We gave out $10,000 for the most creative ideas!

Cash prizes

  • 1st prize: $6,000
  • 2nd prize: $3,000
  • 3rd prize: $1,000

Congratulations to the winners and finalists!


Neutral Jury

  • Dieter Kern (Prof. at University of Tübingen, retired)
  • Nico de Rooij (Prof. at EPFL SAMLAB, retired)
  • Peter Vettiger (IBM Research, retired)

Announcement of the winners

The prize was awarded to the winners on 22. January 2016 during the 3rd Thermal Probe Workshop in Zurich.

Thermal Probe Workshop

In addition to the cash prize, all three winners also gained free participation (including travel and accommodation) in the 3rd Thermal Probe Workshop in Zurich on 21.-22. January 2016. There was also the possibility to work on the realization of your idea in Zurich with the help of SwissLitho scientists.


The goal of this competition was to come up with original ideas involving the usage of a thermal probe. These ideas involved the fabrication of novel devices using the 2D & 3D lithography capabilities of the SwissLitho NanoFrazor Explore. In addition, new ideas for surface analysis, surface modifications or any other capability of hot tips were also welcome.

Topics (unsorted)

Security, Nanoimprint, Photonic nanodevices, Biology, Nanoelectronics, Surface modification, Nanooptics, Temperature mapping, Surface Analysis, 3D Patterning, Additive Manufacturing, Polymer properties, No damage from charged particles, Combinations with other technologies, 2D materials, Phase changes, Overlay of nanostructures, Plasmonic sensors, Spintronic devices, Combined patterning and imaging,
Graphene, distance measurements, Stamps, Cleaning, Chemical reactions, Metamaterials, Quantum devices, Surface Thin film properties, Material deposition, data storage, MEMS…

Judging Criteria (in the order of importance)

  • Creativity and unconventional thinking
  • Usage of unique features and capabilities of thermal probe technology
  • Clear and thorough description of the idea
  • Potential impact (scientific and/or commercial)


The effort and challenges for the realization of your idea are not part of the judging criteria.


  • Submission alone or in teams of two
  • Participants in an early career stage are particularly encouraged to contribute

More support information about the “thermal scanning probe” technology can be found at Related scientific publications can be found here.

TitleName, Affiliation
1. Controlled nanometric recrystallization of amorphized and implanted semiconductorsMatteo Lorenzoni Galizia (IMB-CNM Barcelona) & Jordi Llobet (IMB-CNM Barcelona)
2. Three-dimensional phase plates for transmission electron microscopySimon Hettler (Karlsruhe Institute for Technology)
3. Nano security features using fluorescent supramolecular glassy materialsDiederik Balkenende (Adolphe Merkle Institute) & Samuel Zimmermann (EPFL)
Remote nanoscale thermal probing of catalytic surface and chemical reactions Eisa Zarepour; University of New South Wales, Australia
Inkjet-like metal evaporationThomas Hasler; University of Base, Switzerland
Nanopatterning of organic/hybrid photovoltaic devicesTianyi Wang; FOM Institute AMOL, Netherlands
3D carbon microelectrodes Suhith Hemanth; DTU Nanotech, Denmark
High-accuracy basics on calorimetry and nanopatterned silicon properties by thermal-probesGemma Rius; IMB-CNM-CSIC, Spain
Nanopatterning porous grapheneScott Bunch; Boston University, USA
Local Probe DopingRasmus Schmidt Davidsen; DTU Nanotech, Denmark
Thermal probes for unprecedented calorimetry accuracy and nanopatterned silicon technologyGemma Rius; NITech IMB-CNM-CSIC, Spain
Thermal probe assisted localized CVD growth and catalytic cleaning Kishan Thodkar; University of Base, Switzerland
Improvements in the scanning control system of thermal probes for 3D patterningBinh Xuan Cao; Korea University of Science and Technology, Korea
Efficient Mid-IR Single Photon DetectorsLily Yang; TU Delft, Netherlands
Surface Interacting Random Patterns Lithography by Thermal Scanning Probe Microscopy Jongyeong Lee; Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology, Korea
Direct Writing of All-Carbon Integrated CircuitsPatrick Reissner; ETH Zurich, Switzerland
Contact hole structures using BCP self-assembly processMohamed LOUCIF SEIAD; Centre de Developpement des Technologies Avancees, Algeria
Smart material-based photonic devices controlled by nanoscale heatable tipsLuis David Sanchez Diana; NTC, Spain
The Graphene PrinterAidar Kemelbay; Nazarbayev University, Kazakhstan
Graphene Oxide based electronics for sensing applicationsAidar Kemelbay; Nazarbayev University, Kazakhstan
Illusionary voxels : Displays of futureMahidhar Nyayapati; IISc Bangalore, India
3D self-assembly of micro and nano structuresGalo Torres Sevilla; KAUS, Korea
Thermal Gradient SPM for Phase transition, pyro electricity and flex electricity characterization on thin filmsGramazio Federico; ICN2, Italy
Plasma enhanced atomic deposition of nanostructureFrancesco Maria Chiabrera; Catalonia Institute for Energy Research (IREC), Spain
Bacterial traps: simultaneous AFM and fluorescence analysis of bacteria with various shapesOliver Peric; LBNI, EPFL, Switzerland
3D polymeric all-in-one nanofactoryGerard Gadea; IREC, Barcelona, Spain
Single material hetero-structure; Intaglio MESFETHyun-Cheol Kim; Konkuk University, Korea
Controlling light at nanoscale by phonon-plasmon interactionChandan Bera; Institute of Nano Science and Technology, India
Localized bonding for soft free form electronicsMuhammad M. Hussain; KAUST
Spin-Transistor Based on Periodically Modulated Graphene Fabricated by Thermal ProbesIl-Suk Kang; National NanoFab Center, Korea
Ultrahigh Efficiency Vertical Organic Photovoltaic Cells Fabricated by Thermal ProbesIl-Suk Kang; National NanoFab Center, Korea
Thermal probe coupled with esterase enzyme for precision esterification patterningVijaya Kumar Shanmugam; Institute of Nano Science and Technology, India
Direct metal deposition via thermal decomposition of a precursor layerChristoph Dreser; Uni Tübingen, Germany
Direct electroless plating of 3D metal nanostructures assisted by a thermal scanning probeMaxime MIESZALA; Laboratory for Mechanics of Nanostructures, Empa Thun, Switzerland
Manufacturing optoelectronic nanostructures with Extremely High ThroughputJonathan Felts; Texas A&M University, USA
Direct fabrication of small-molecule organic semiconductor nanostructuresDominik Gollmer; University of Tuebingen, Institute for Applied Physics, Germany
Nano-welding: networking at the nanoscale Maica Morant-MiÌana; CIC Nanogune, Spain
Hot Tip Chemical Vapor Deposition: a New Bottom-Up Approach Mathieu Massicotte; ICFO - The Institute of Photonic Sciences, Spain
Heat assisted local depositionNico Mosso; IBM Research Zurich, Switzerland
Liquid metal heater embedded silicon cantileverKim Seokbeom;Sogang University, Korea
Cell-virus interaction studies using a heated AFM probeSamuel Zimmermann; LMIS1 EPFL, Switzerland
Hot tips for hot spots: mapping and manipulation of plasmonic antennasValentin Flauraud; EPFL STI LMIS1, Switzerland
Localized annealing of amorphous metal oxide and composite thin films with heatable tip Plakhotnyuk Maksym, DTU Nanotech, Denmark
High efficiency ultra thin optical vortex beam generators on topological insulatorXUEWEN WANG; Swinburne University of Technology, Australia
High Temperature Heating of Flexible Nanocarbon Film for "Heatable Tip"Bao Wenzhong; Fudan University, School of Microelectronic, China