Microwave Nanoscopy and Nanorobotics

Research on “beyond CMOS” requires smart tools to investigate, manipulate and transport materials, objects and systems in the nanoscale range. One crucial part along these track is imaging and characterizing the electric and dielectric properties in the microwave region of the electromagnetic spectrum. With our nanorobotic approach we working on new instruments measuring electric/dielectric parameters.

Near field probing

The selfdeveloped laserinterferometer-based Scanning Microwave Microscope is integrated into a Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM2). This world-first technology is the fundamental part of the aspired Nanorobotic Microwave Probing and Manipulating System (NMPMS) for Wafer-level In-line Testing of nanoelectronic and/or 3D heterogeneous nanodevices. Precise positioning of an RF probe, scanning the region-of-interest (in contact and/or near-field), is necessary to ensure high repeatability of the high-frequency measurements. For this reason, closed-loop automation and calibration methods are other key issues for the implementation of the NMPMS.

Contact: Dr Olaf C. Haenssler

Electrical contact measurements at submicrometer scale

In this area, various techniques are investigated for more accurate and reliable contact measurements in the submicrometer range. The use of automatable, robotic fine positioning systems is indispensable. These are used in conjunction with high-resolution microscopy to investigate and further develop various techniques:

  • Development of a contact probing setup
    • To support RF and DC measurement techniques
    • for applications in high vacuum (SEM chamber)
    • highly accurate positioning of at least 2 probes in 6 DOF to the substrate 
  • Investigation of techniques to optimize the probing process, e.g.
    • Automation of the probing process
    • Keep electrical contact resistance constant and minimize wear
    • Self-sensing probes
  • Investigation of error sources during the probing process and techniques for minimizing them (systematic errors, errors due to misalignment, ...)

Contact: Fabian von Kleist-Retzow

Control and data processing

High-performance hardware and software solutions are increasingly required for recording, measuring and processing the data that is generated. Due to a high number of sensors and the need to combine different measuring devices, the synchronization of different electronic components is important.
For this purpose, we are developing independent solutions based on hardware and software. The hardware requirements are often so time intensive that embedded systems based on Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) with powerful co-processors are used. These can process the data at high speed. This is achieved by modeling parts of this processing chain as hardware modules. These systems then work directly on the data stream of the sensors or measuring devices and can process data in parallel.
Furthermore, various interfaces are often required to implement communication between the sensors and measuring devices. A subsequent field of microwave nanoscopy is the processing and presentation of the data obtained as measurement images to represent objects and their properties in orders of micro- and nanometres. In addition to displaying the images, further analysis and processing of the recording is an issue in this context. In addition to the recording of the data, the actuation of the scanning microwave microscope on the basis of various scanning methods play a role.

Contact: Markus Wieghaus


On international level, Olaf C. Haenssler organized special sessions at MARSS conference in Montréal, Nagoya and Helsinki.

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Completed Projects