Empa/ETH ToF-SIMS Facility


The Empa/ETH ToF-SIMS facility hosts in average 20 users from Swiss industries and academia. After a complete hands-on training on the equipment and introduction to data analysis and interpretation, the users are allowed to conduct their own research work in an independent manner within various fields of research and technology development. They benefit from an easy access to the equipment and daily technical and scientific support from our team. They also have the opportunity to confront their ideas during our yearly users meeting.


User Partners

SuSoS – your specialist for surface modification and characterization, Dübendorf:
Located in Dübendorf we are a leading supplier of thin-film polymer coatings and surface characterization services. Advanced molecular characterization is performed at the Empa/ETH ToF-SIMS facility. Since 2004, we have focused on researching and enhancing the chemical interactions between substrates and coatings to functionalize our customers products in various ways: hydrophilic lubricious coatings for medical devices, non-fouling coatings for consumables and microfluidics, molecular super-glue for challenging materials or bio-functional surfaces for diagnostic applications.


Flisom, Flexible Solar Modules, Niederhasli:
Flisom was founded in 2005 as a spin-off of the Laboratory of Solid State Physics of the ETH Zurich – a scientific institution with global renown. For several years, the company remained in stealth mode, working closely together with Empa to design and improve its core technology. In this context, Flisom conducts depth profile measurements at the Empa/ETH ToF-SIMS facility for quality and process development purposes. This historic link with the world’s leading research institutions forms the basis of our identity, and the guarantee of continuous improvement of our cutting-edge technology.


Laboratory for Surface Science and Technology, ETH Zürich:
The Laboratory for Surface Science and Technology (LSST) was founded in 1993, upon the arrival of Prof. Nicholas Spencer at the ETH. Together with Empa, the LSST supports the Empa/ETH ToF-SIMS facility on one hand and performs its own research on the other hand. The latter focuses on the application of surface-analytical techniques and functionalization approaches to problems of technological interest, particularly in the areas of tribology and biointerfaces.


Institute of Forensic Medicine, University of Zürich:
We have set ourselves the goal of establishing clarity on legal issues. In order to achieve this goal for the benefit of society, we acquire the latest knowledge in our profession and implement it. We strive to make our results available to our constituents in comprehensible and reproducible form, in the highest quality and as quickly as possible. In the framework of hair analytics, we use ToF-SIMS in combination with MALDI analysis to locate and quantify drug traces within the hairs of individuals.


Laboratory for Thin Films & Photovoltaics, Empa:
The laboratory for thin films and photovoltaics is doing research and development of highly efficient thin film solar cells. We mainly focus on novel concepts to improve the performance of solar cells, to simplify production processes and to improve the device structure of next generation solar cells with higher efficiency at lower cost for terrestrial as well as for space applications. We rely on ToF-SIMS measurement for the characterization of multi-layer structures of semiconductors, metals and solid electrolytes employed in the fabrication of thin film solar cells and solid-state batteries. In particular, SIMS depth profiling is used to study to study how variating the thin film deposition processes influences the elemental distributions, which in turn ultimately determine the performance of finished devices.


Materials for Energy Conversion Laboratory, Empa:
Empa's laboratory Materials for Energy Conversion employs TOF-SIMS to assist in the development of next-generation rechargeable batteries. TOF-SIMS is used in combination with RBS and ERDA to map the elemental composition in battery electrodes, in particular the lithium content across the electrode thickness.


Laboratory for Nanoscale Materials Science, Empa:
We pioneer the design and fabrication of thin film materials and systems with enhanced properties arising from nanoscale effects. Our work is based on the study of the interplay between the nanoscale composition and structure of our materials and systems with their microscopic and macroscopic physical and chemical properties. ToF-SIMS allows the accurate characterization of the molecular effects present at the surface and/or interfaces of these materials.


Technology and Society Laboratory, Empa:
Our vision is to create and transfer knowledge to support the transition to a more sustainable society. In support of this vision, we analyse novel materials and emerging technology applications with a focus on associated material and energy stocks and flows; evaluate them with regard to both natural environment and societal constraints; provide guidance for the implementation of more sustainable materials, technologies and sociotechnical systems. Within this context, we collaborate with the Empa/ETH ToF-SIMS facility to characterize various types of microplastics and the molecular alterations produced by various aging conditions.


Other Swiss & International Collaborators

EPFL, Lausanne, Sion & Neuchâtel
ETH, Zürich
PSI, Villigen
University of Bern, Bern
EAWAG, Dübendorf
Adolfe Merkle Institute, Fribourg
Balgrist Institute, Zürich
Empa, Dübendorf & St Gallen

IONTOF GmbH (Germany)
IMEC (Belgium)
Holst Centre (the Netherland)
LETI, CEA (France)
Institut de Physique et Chimie des Matériaux de Strasbourg, CNRS (France)
Accademy of Science of the Czech Republic (Czech Republic)
Umea University (Sweden)
Korea Research Institute of Chemical Technology (Korea)
Linköping University (Sweden)
Oxford University (United Kingdom)