The Nanotechnology Center includes class 100 (ISO 5) to class 10'000 (ISO 7) cleanroom facilities.(Image Credit: IBM)
IBM and ETH Zurich, a European science and engineering university, recently opened the Binnig and Rohrer Nanotechnology Centerlocated on the campus of IBM Research – Zurich. The facility is the centerpiece of a 10-year strategic partnership in nanoscience between IBM and ETH Zurich where scientists will research novel nanoscale structures and devices to advance energy and information technologies. The new Center is named for Gerd Binnig and Heinrich Rohrer, the two IBM scientists and Nobel Laureates who invented the scanning tunneling microscope at the Zurich Research Lab in 1981, thus enabling resear ï¿½chers to see atoms on a surface for the first time. Scientists and engineers from IBM and ETH Zurich will pursue joint and independent projects, ranging from exploratory research to applied and near-term projects including new nanoscale devices and device concepts as well as generating insights about their scientific foundations at the atomic level. Three ETH professors and their teams have moved into the new building and will conduct part of their research in nanoscience on a permanent base. Even more ETH researchers will benefit from the partnership and be able to use the excellent infrastructure for various projects. One focus of IBM's research in the Center is put on exploring the "next switch"-- the future building blocks for better, faster and more energy efficient chips and computer systems. For example, IBM scientists are currently exploring semiconducting nanowires--tiny hairlike structures-- to potentially increase the energy efficiency of computing devices by 10 times. In addition, through novel device concepts, such nanowires-transistors could virtually consume zero energy while in passive or standby mode. Additional research areas include micro- and nanoelectromechanical systems, spintronics, organic electronics, carbon-based devices, functional materials, cooling, three-dimensional integration of computer chips, opto-electronics and optical data communication in computers as well as silicon nanophotonics.