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  • Friday 21 September 2018
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    EMPA is a materials science and technology research institution. It belongs to the ETH domain and as such is an important element in education, science and innovation in Switzerland. It specializes in applications, focused research and development, and provides high-level services in the field of sustainable materials science and technology. Its core tasks are innovative collaboration with industry and public institutions, ensuring the safety of people and the environment, knowledge propagation and university-level teaching. EMPA engages in interdisciplinary work in a large number of specialized disciplines. Its key areas of research are grouped in five programs entitled Nanotechnology, Adaptive Materials Systems, Materials for Health and Performance, Materials for Energy Technologies and Technosphere ? Atmosphere. Over 800 people work at its three sites in Dübendorf, St. Gallen and Thun. There are more than one hundred PhD candidates and hundred undergraduates. EMPA also offers training to 40 interns and trainees.


    EMPA 's increasingly good showing in the various scientific indicators testifies to its high standard of scientific activity and achievement. EMPA employees published over 270 times in peer-reviewed journals in 2005 and made hundreds of scientific contributions (more than 300 as key note speakers and invited guests) to national and international conferences and scientific symposia. Empa organized or coorganized 52 conferences. Members of EMPA's staff received 30 prizes and awards in recognition of their outstanding achievements. The EMPA Academy provides a forum for lively information sharing. Congresses, lecture series, seminars and teaching events cater to scientists seeking a dialogue, specialists looking to improve their knowledge and non-specialists who want to find out about current technological developments.

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    Key personal:

    Dr. Johann Michler has significant experience in electron microscopy and published more than 50 journal articles related to materials characterization techniques. In 2000 he built up the Nanomechanics. Laboratory at EMPA that is devoted to the measurement of mechanical properties of surfaces and small devices, especially using in-situ SEM mechanical testing. Within the European project ROBOSEM, he built-up in 2002 the SEM-based processing laboratory. Today, his group consists of five Post-docs and eight PhD students. In 1998 he received the Swiss René Wassermann Award for advances in the field of thin film mechanics and in 2004 the Bunshah Award for achievements in the observation of fracture and plastic deformation during nanoindentation and nanoscratching inside an SEM.

    Xavier Maeder worked as a Phd Student at the University of Mainz in Germany and as post–doc at the University of Utrecht in the Netherland in the field of rock deformation and crystalline microstructures from 2003 to 2008. He is a specialist in EBSD (electron backscatter diffraction). Since 2008 he is employed at EMPA. His present work mainly deals with the detailed crystalline characterizations of the laser-crystallized Si thin films and divers mechanical testing.

    Role in the project:

    EMPA investigates mechanical materials properties from the nano to macro-scale using experimental, analytical, and computational techniques. EMPA utilizes the EBSD to determine defect populations, grain sizes and orientations and develops together with the subcontractor University of Oxford the strain measurement capability of EBSD.

    Previous European funded projects:

    "ROBOSEM", FP5-Growth, GRD1-2001-41864 (2002-2005); "MASMICRO", FP6-NMP, NMP2-CT-2004-500095 (2004-2008)

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