Within the topical area of carbon nanomaterials, we focus on low-dimensional graphene related nanostructures such as molecular nanographenes (0D), carbon nanotubes and nanoribbons (1D), as well as low-dimensional polymeric systems (1D/2D). Particular emphasis is placed on the engineering of electronic properties, which is achieved by the development of synthetic protocols that allow for the fabrication of specific, atomically precise nanomaterials. We have a strong focus on the fabrication and characterization of carbon nanomaterials that host unpaired interacting spins and which can thus be considered as nanoscale qubits. Within a transversal research project, we aim at developing a carbon-based nanomaterials platform for next-generation quantum technology applications.
Within the topic functional surfaces we strive at understanding and controlling the atomic and electronic surface structure of complex materials in order to achieve specific functionalities. In one line of research, we investigate the physico-chemical properties of intermetallic compounds that promise higher selectivity in heterogeneous catalysis. On the other hand, we are also interested in self-assembled supramolecular nanostructures at solid surfaces or layered organic-insulator-metal hybrid structures which bear potential for nanoelectronic device function.
In the research theme 2D Quantum Materials we use defect engineering to embed functional quantum systems in the 2D matrix and tune their electronic, spin and optical degrees of freedom. We are developing new experimental techniques that achieve simultaneous atomic spatial and sub-picosecond time resolution, pushing a new research frontier in quantum nanoscience. Together with our academic and industrial research partners, we aim to develop a deep understanding of these tightly confined many-body electron systems, enabling their integration in emerging quantum technologies.
Under the Materials to Devices theme, we aim to integrate atomically precise carbon nanomaterials into functional devices. We develop techniques and tools to accelerate the growth, characterization, and transfer of carbon nanomaterials from their growth substrate to device platforms while maintaining their structural and electronic properties. The Materials to Devices research line provides the foundation for our technology transfer activities and strategically combines the nanotech@surfaces laboratory's expertise in on-surface synthesis of carbon nanomaterials with that of our various device-oriented partners working on nanoscale electronics.
We are convinced that the complexity of today’s scientific and technological challenges asks for integrative approaches, for looking at a given problem from different perspectives, for tackling scientific questions using a wide range of complementary methods. Therefore, all our research topics are approached not only using various Experimental Methods, but also a wide range of atomistic simulations. We employ both the most advanced methods aimed at characterizing the energetics and kinetics of surface reactions and the most recent extensions to density functional theory to faithfully describe the electronic and transport properties at the nanoscale.