La microtechnologie faite maison !

During the Covid-19 pandemic, France imposed strict working lockdowns and compulsory télétravail (working from home) for many. However, this did not stop one scientist from conducting experiments at home. Steve Arscott, a CNRS research scientist from the University of Lille, works in Micro and Nanotechnology—he develops novel miniature silicon-based probes. By scaling up his ideas to a macroscopic scale, he managed to test his theory at home using common items purchased in a hardware store!

The photograph shows the 50 cm long steel ruler in contact with the set square mimicking the contact of a microcantilever probe with a surface.

The items include steel rulers, set squares, and G-clamps—and happily the experiments agreed well with his predictions. The findings were recently published in the Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering (IOP). His 11-year-old daughter Rose helped with the experimentation—and he thanks her in the article, saying ‘she had some really good ideas and helpful input!’. He says that although this was a good experience and very (very!) cheap experimental work, he was glad to get back in the lab afterwards to the micro and nano world. Unfortunately, his apprentice had to go back to school!

Article : ‘On overtravel and skate in cantilever-based probes for on-wafer measurements’, S. Arscott J. Micromech. Microeng. 32, 057001 (2022).