Another eerie example of nanoscale terrain echoing macroscale terrain - the cliff in this image is only about 1/200 the thickness of a typical human hair. It’s been weathered away not by wind and rain, but by a blast of high-energy plasma. The thick black mountainous layer is the remains of a glass-like photoresist layer that was protecting most of the surface below from the plasma. Here, the photoresist has been partially removed so that the damage at the edge of the sample is evident, compared to the smoother section that was better protected by photoresist.
The ghost-like apparition at center left is actually an imaging effect called charging, where electrons from the microscope’s electron beam started building up in the photoresist layer. Eventually, there were so many electrons in the photoresist that they started repelling the microscope’s electron beam, leading to warped space and floating mountains.
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