Management changes at Empa

New heads for two research laboratories

The beginning of September saw the appointment of two new laboratory heads, with Corsin Battaglia taking over responsibility for the «Materials for Energy Conversion» laboratory and Davide Bleiner taking over as the new chief of the «Analytical Chemistry» team, replacing Heinz Vonmont who will shortly retire.

Corsin Battaglia, newly appointed Head of the «Materials for Energy Conversion» laboratory, has been conducting research into innovative methods of developing novel functional materials. He follows in the footsteps of Anke Weidenkaff, who moved on last year to take up a post at the University of Stuttgart.


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Corsin Battaglia becomes the new Head of Empa’s «Materials for Energy Conversion» laboratory.


Battaglia completed his doctoral thesis in Physics at Neuchatel University in 2008 on the subject of self-assembling nanostructures on silicon surfaces. In 2009 he moved to the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Lausanne, (EPFL), working on novel light management concepts in solar cells. Since 2012 he has held a joint position at the University of California, Berkeley, and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, with the focus of his research being on innovations in the area of materials and components for electronic and energy applications. In recognition of his work, in 2012 Battaglia was awarded the Zeno Karl Schindler Research Prize for Environmental technology and Sustainability. His publications in the fields of material and surface science, electronic and optoelectronic applications have earned Corsin Battaglia an outstanding reputation. The new laboratory head won over the Empa appointment board primarily by virtue of his interdisciplinary, solution-oriented style of thinking, his national and international network of contacts in research and industry, and his excellent track record in linking fundamental research with industrial applications.

On 1st September Empa’s board of directors also appointed Davide Bleiner as new Head of the «Analytical Chemistry» laboratory, to succeed Heinz Vonmont, who is retiring at the end of this year.



Davide Bleiner, has been appointed to lead Empa’s «Analytical Chemistry» laboratory with effect from 1st September 2014.


Bleiner’s team conduct analytical investigations of all kinds, but primarily concentrate on the environmental friendliness of innovative technical solutions and materials, and methodological developments in the field of analytical chemistry. They offer their expertise on a service basis to industrial partners and public organizations. Bleiener was awarded his doctoral title by the ETH Zurich in 2002 for research in the field of laser microanalysis microspectrometry with inductively coupled plasmas. In the same year he joined Empa, gaining experience in the field of spatially resolved microanalysis. In 2005, as an FWO postdoc, he worked at the University of Antwerp investigating the fundamentals of laser plasmas and as an INFN postdoc at the University of Lecce studying ion implantation. In 2007 he was appointed Lecturer at the ETH Zurich’s Institute for Energy Technology. During this time he was responsible for the development of a laser-driven source of extreme-UV radiation in the 13.5 nm region, for applications in the field of next-generation lithography. Since 2011 he has held a professorship funded by the Swiss National Research Fund (SNF) at Bern University’s Institute for Applied Physics, leading a team researching into table-top x-ray lasers in plasma-active media and related applications for XUV imaging and spectroscopy. His outstanding work was recognised with the «Atomic Spectrometry Award of Spectrochimica Acta B» in 2005, and with his publications in the areas of laser physics and analytical metrology Davide Bleiner has made a name for himself across Europe. In particular his interdisciplinary capabilities and clearly structured vision concerning the association between fundamental research and industrial development must be emphasized.

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