Oops. When we’re making nano-devices, chaos is usually bad. I named this spot “The Barrens”.

It’s supposed to be a single straight waveguide (basically, a pipe for light) stretching off into infinity. Instead, this spot got scratched partway through the fabrication process, leaving behind a chaotic landscape that resembles a desert of mesas, monuments, and mountain ranges. They look similar because the process that created them is similar - something eats away at the landscape (in our case, it’s a high-energy etching plasma) and leaves behind areas that were protected by tougher materials (in this case, the material is nanogunk, one of the most resilient materials known to humankind).

*nanogunk is not actually a scientific term. But gunk is maddeningly persistent on our samples sometimes.

Subscribe now