Binnig and Rohrer Nanotechnology Center

IBM Research - Zurich


The Binnig and Rohrer Nanotechnology Center is a unique facility for exploratory research. It is not a production or a pilot line with fixed processes or wafer sizes. Rather, it is a state-of-the-art exploratory cleanroom fabrication facility combined with "noise-free" labs shielded against external vibrations, acoustic noise, electromagnetic fields and temperature fluctuations.

With the construction of this exciting new laboratory, IBM is leveraging its presence in Europe to attract and foster leading talent in nanotechnology. Bolstered in part by major ongoing initiatives of various government agencies, Europe is where at least one-third of worldwide investments are being made in nanotechnology in the next five years. The Binnig and Rohrer Nanotechnology Center is at the leading edge of this exploratory research.

Why Zurich? IBM Research – Zurich is considered by many as the birthplace of nanotechnology. This is the Lab where resident scientists Gerd Binnig and Heinrich Rohrer received the Nobel prize in physics in 1986 for inventing the scanning tunneling microscope. The other side of nanotechnology, namely materials structured on the nanometer scale to exhibit unique properties, is exemplified by the discovery of high-temperature superconductors, for which the Nobel prize in physics was awarded in 1987. Today, IBM Research – Zurich continues to be a place where researchers with unique skills and expertise in the field of nanotechnology are given an environment in which they can pursue groundbreaking science.

Research fields

Some of the research fields being pursued at the Binnig and Rohrer Nanotechnology Center: Nanotechnology

  • Spintronics/magnetism
  • Nanowires
  • Carbon-based devices
  • Functional materials
  • Directed self-assembly
  • Electronic packaging
  • Thermal management
  • 3D integration
  • Optical interconnects
  • Photonics
  • Simulation and theory


For the first time in Switzerland, industry and academia are creating a shared research infrastructure. IBM Research – Zurich has teamed up with the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH) to establish this ultramodern facility.

Partnerships and collaboration are a vital part of the Binnig and Rohrer Nanotechnology Center concept.

Boasting a total of 21 past and present Nobel laureates, the ETH is renowned throughout the world for its academic excellence. The ETH will locate two professorships at the Binnig and Rohrer Nanotechnology Center. In addition to its primary and long-standing partnership with the ETH, IBM Research – Zurich welcomes additional partners; contact us for comprehensive information.

Facility management

IBM constructed the building, which was officially inaugurated in the spring of 2011. The ultramodern cleanrooms will be operated by IBM personnel. Cleanroom space, offices and offline labs are available for additional interested parties. Access to the "noise-free" laboratories is also available. Joint projects with either IBM or ETH are of interest, but independent research projects exploiting the synergies of a common infrastructure and technology platform are possible as well.