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

Large magnetic exchange coupling in rhombus-shaped nanographenes with zigzag periphery
S. Mishra et.al., Nat. Chem. in press (2021). DOI: 10.1038/s41557-021-00678-2

Bottom‐up Fabrication and Atomic‐scale Characterization of Triply‐linked, Laterally π‐Extended Porphyrin Nanotapes
Q. Sun et. al., Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. just accepted manuscript (2021). DOI: 10.1002/anie.202105350

Quantum electronic transport across 'bite' defects in graphene nanoribbons
M. Pizzochero et.al., 2D Mater. 8, 035025 (2021). DOI: 10.1088/2053-1583/abf716

Exploring Intramolecular Methyl–Methyl Coupling on a Metal Surface for Edge-Extended Graphene Nanoribbons
Z. Qiu et.al., Organic Materials 03, 128 - 133 (2021). DOI: 10.1055/s-0041-1726295


Upcoming events

EWEG2D'21 webinar series
25.05.2021, 11.00CET
Prof. Felix Baumberger
Department of Quantum Matter Physics, University of Geneva & Swiss Light Source, Paul Scherrer Institute, Switzerland
"The electronic structure of few-layer black phosphorus"


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


molCH Meeting
online via Zoom, more details will follow soon