Entry into the nanometer-scale world gives scientists access to the basic elements of our materials. This allows us to develop new materials and coatings with tailor-made functional capabilities to solve existing technological problems. Empa has established itself as a leading Swiss R&D institution in the broad field of nanotechnologies, the applications-oriented exploitation of nanoscale effects. We can call upon our broad spectrum of interdisciplinary know-how in this scientific field which lies in between physics, chemistry, and biology. In collaborative projects we use our competence and experience to develop promising new applications. For example we help uncover innovative solutions to problems in sustainable energy technologies and are working together with the IT industry on novel materials and concepts for micro and nanoelectronics. Other future-oriented projects are exploring the use of evolutionary construction principles found in nature. The risks for mankind and the environment involving this key technology are also being studied at Empa.
In short we are looking for the answers to following questions within the Focus Area Nanostructured Materials:
- What novel functional capabilities can be achieved using tailor-made nanostructured materials, coatings and surfaces?
- Where do the ultimate limits to the miniaturization of modern microelectronics using semiconductor manufacturing techniques lie?
- Do supramolecular structures formed by self-assembly provide new solutions to the engineering challenges of the 21st century?
- What risks do nanomaterials represent for mankind and our environment?