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Swiss Nanoscience Institute

The Swiss Nanoscience Institute (SNI) is a Center of Excellence in Nanoscale Sciences and Nanotechnology. It was founded in 2006 by the University of Basel and the Swiss Canton Aargau and consists of a network of different research institutions in Northwestern Switzerland. At the SNI, interdisciplinary teams work on basic research topics in different areas of nanoscale sciences. Applied research projects build bridges between basic research and applications in industry and are combined in the Nano-Argovia Program of the SNI. Under the umbrella of the SNI, the University of Basel offers a Bachelor and Master Study Program and initiated a PhD Program in Nanosciences. Knowledge and technology transfer into industry as well as active information of the public are important pillars of the SNI activities.

News from the Swiss Nanoscience Institute


A new Type of Quantum Bit

In a quantum computer, quantum states form the smallest information units and replace the binary code used by today’s computers. Until now, these so-called qubits were typically created in a semiconductor using individual electrons, but these were vulnerable to dephasing. Now, an international team   more...


Cell Death: How a Protein Drives Immune Cells to Suicide

For some pathogens, attack is the best form of defense – they enter immune cells of the human body. However, if they are detected in their hidden niche, the infected cell kills itself to re-expose the pathogens. In the “EMBO Journal” a research group at the University of Basel’s Biozentrum has reported that a protein called gasdermin forms permeable pores in the cell membrane and thus triggers the suicide of the immune cell.


Physicists Couple Distant Nuclear Spins Using a Single Electron

For the first time, researchers at the University of Basel have coupled the nuclear spins of distant atoms using just a single electron. Three research groups from the Department of Physics took part in this complex experiment, the results of which have now been published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.



The University of Twente in The Netherlands will award four honorary doctorates later this year. Biomechatronics expert Hugh Herr, former politician Neelie Kroes, nano technologist Christoph Gerber and statistician Edward Tufte will receive an honorary doctorate on the occasion of the 55th Dies Natalis of the university, November 25. Ed Brinksma, UT’s Rector Magnificus, announced this today.


Basel wird für zwei Tage zum internationalen Nano-Zentrum

Im Basler Kongresszentrum kommen in den nächsten zwei Tagen mehr als 600 Forschende der Nanowissenschaften aus der ganzen Welt zusammen. An der Swiss NanoConvention (SNC) 2016 werden am 30. Juni und 1. Juli die neusten Erkenntnisse der Forschung ausgetauscht, neue Ansätze entwickelt und Kontakte geknüpft – nicht zuletzt zur Industrie.


Controlling Quantum States Atom by Atom

An international consortium led by researchers at the University of Basel has developed a method to precisely alter the quantum mechanical states of electrons within an array of quantum boxes. The method can be used to investigate the interactions between various types of atoms and electrons, which is essential for future quantum technologies, as the group reports in the journal Small.


Christoph Gerber to receive the Kavli Prize

Professor Christoph Gerber of the Swiss Nanoscience Institute and the Department of Physics at the University of Basel has been awarded the 2016 Kavli Prize in Nanoscience together with Professor Gerd Binnig (formerly of IBM Zurich Research Laboratory) and Professor Calvin Quate (Stanford University). The award honors their invention and creation of the first atomic force microscope 30 years ago.

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Annual Event SNI
The next SNI Annual Event will take place in Lenzerheide from 15th - 16th September 2016.


Recent publications

Spatiotemporal dynamics of the nuclear pore complex transport barrier resolved by high-speed atomic force microscopy
Yusuke Sakiyama, Adam Mazur, Larisa E. Kapinos & Roderick Y. H. Lim
Nature Nanotechnology (2016)
Nuclear pore complexes (NPCs) are biological nanomachines that mediate the bidirectional traffic of macromolecules between the cytoplasm and nucleus in eukaryotic cells. This process involves numerous
Link to journal

Quantitative nanoscale vortex imaging using a cryogenic quantum magnetometer
L. Thiel, D. Rohner, M. Ganzhorn, P. Appel, E. Neu, B. Müller, R. Kleiner, D. Koelle & P. Maletinsky
Nature Nanotechnology (2016)
Microscopic studies of superconductors and their vortices play a pivotal role in understanding the mechanisms underlying superconductivity1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Local measurements of penetration depths6 or ma
Link to journal

Full list of publications