Welcome to the nanotech@surfaces Laboratory, a research section of the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (Empa). We are a highly motivated team of physicists and chemists dedicated to develop and characterize novel functional materials and devices based on nanoscale surface effects. Using a close combination of experimental and computational approaches, we aim at a fundamental understanding of the structural and electronic properties of low-dimensional nanostructured materials and systems, and at establishing a rational basis for their application in next generation technologies.

Our main competences – surface physics and chemistry – are located within the realm of fundamental research, but we have a long tradition of developing basic research results into real-world technological applications. It is part of our mission to assist internal and external partners in technology development with our know-how and experience. To this end, we collaborate with academic and governmental research labs and industrial companies worldwide.

We are organised in three groups that cover research topics such as carbon nanomaterials and functional surfaces, both from an experimental point of view and via atomistic simulations. Our research interests cover a wide range of topics at the interface of materials science, surface physics and chemistry, with a particular focus on low-dimensional organic & carbon-based materials. We follow different experimental approaches, but with a core activity on surface physical and chemical investigations, in particular by means of scanning probe techniques (STM/STS/nc-AFM) and photoelectron-based methods such as XPS, ARPES and XPD, complemented by theory and atomistic simulations.

Latest publications

Observation and control of maximal Chern numbers in a chiral topological semimetal
N.B.M. Schröter et. al., Science 36 (6500), 179-183 (2020). DOI: 10.1126/science.aaz3480

Near‐enantiopure trimerization of 9‐Ethynylphenanthrene on a chiral metal surface
S. Stolz et. al., Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. in press (2020). DOI: 10.1002/anie.202006844

Investigating molecular orbitals with submolecular precision on pristine sites and single atomic vacancies of monolayer h-BN
L. Liu et. al., Nano Res. in press (2020). DOI: 10.1007/s12274-020-2842-5

Molecular motor crossing the frontier of classical to quantum tunneling motion
S. Stolz et. al., PNAS 117 (26), 14838 - 14842 (2020). DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1918654117


Upcoming events

Hotel Reine Victoria, St. Moritz, Switzerland

Workshop "First-principles modelling of defects in solids: Charges meet lattices"
ETH Zürich, Switzerland