Our work

Subsurface 3D Nanotomography

A developed technique at the Early research Programme 3D Nanomanufacturing to see subsurface features and invisibles with nanometre resolution.


  • Besides the nanometre resolution surface topography, seeing invisibles and features below the surface
  • Nanometre contrast/resolution
  • Non-destructive
  • 3D capability
  • Chemical, physical contrast


  • Subsurface features in nanoelectronics process
  • Buried defects and void
  • Compositional analysis
  • Imaging inside bio samples, such as single cell
  • 3D nanometrology


  • Subsurface image of 100-400 nm metallic structures under 400 nm polymer.
  • Subsurface imaging Of 100-400 nm metallic structures under multistack layers (metal and polymers)
  • Subsurface imaging of 100-400 nm metallic structures in 200 nm glass
  • Tuning the image contrast
  • Understanding the origin of the image contrast


  • Sub-100 nm hard structures buried under hard cover, with nanometre resolution
  • Quantitative analysis of physical properties
  • Towards below 10 nm subsurface imaging
Left: Surface topography of a multi-layer sample with no signature of subsurface features. / Right: Subsurface nano-imaging of nanofeatures under a 300 nm resist and 100 nm metal layer.


  • M. Es van, R. Thijssen, A. Mohtashami, D. Piras, P. Neer van, and H. Sadeghian Marnani, ‘Quantitative subsurface nanoimaging of deep buried nanopatterns’, 2016.
  • D. Piras, J. Vreugd de, and H. Sadeghian Marnani, ‘Contact mechanics modelling of tip-sample interaction in atomic force microscopy of complex layered subsurface media’, Proceedings of 13th Int. Workshop on Nanomechanical Sensing NMC, 2016.


  • M. van Es, R. Thijssen, H. Sadeghian, Subsurface afm for overlay and alignment, PLT2015093.
  • R. Thijssen, H. Sadeghian, Automated tuning of parameters for subsurface imaging, PLT2015091.
  • M. van Es, P. van Neer, H. Sadeghian, Heterodyne force Microscopy (HFM) @ GHz, PLT2015092.
  • H. Sadeghian, A device for sub-nanometer, substrate independent level sensing, PLT2015035.

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