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STN Programme
Head: Prof. Dr. Horst Hahn / Prof. Dr. Jan G. Korvink


KIT-Campus North
Building 440

H.-von-Helmholtz-Platz 1
76344 Eggenstein-Leop.

phone: +49(721)608-25578
fax: +49(721)608-25579
e-mail: infoRjw2∂stn kit edu



The Helmholtz Research Programme STN (Science and Technology of Nanosystems) takes on the challenge of controlling and shaping materials from the atomic and molecular up to the macroscopic scale to explore their entire potential of novel functionalities.

STN is dedicated towards research and development of

Our activities span the entire range from fundamental science to high performance technologies and integrated systems. We closely cooperate with the Karlsruhe Nano Micro Facility (KNMF) as a large-scale user facility for multimaterial nano and micro technologies.


Im Helmholtz-Programm STN (Science and Technology of Nanosystems) wird das Potential neuartiger Funktionalitäten von Materialien auf der atomaren und molekularen bis zur makroskopischen Ebene erschlossen.

STN betreibt Forschung und Entwicklung in den Themenfeldern

Unsere Arbeiten reichen von der Grundlagenforschung bis zu Hochtechnologien und integrierten Systemen. Wir kooperieren eng mit der Karlsruhe Nano Micro Facility (KNMF) als Großgerät für Nutzer von Nano- und Mikrotechnologien und mit einer großen Vielfalt prozessierbarer Materialien.

Highlights and news archive


Team 2017 (Picture: KIT)



Setup to demonstrate ultrarapid distance measurement: The barrel of a rifle is firmly clamped and the laser beam that is invisible in the experiment is directed towards the trajectory of the projectiles fired. (Photo: Laila Tkotz, KIT)
Optical Distance Measurement at Record-High Speed

February 23, 2018

Scientists of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) have demonstrated the fastest distance measurement so far. The researchers demonstrated on-the-fly sampling of a gun bullet profile with micrometer accuracy. The experiment relied on a soliton frequency comb generated in a chip-based optical microresonator made from silicon nitride. Potential applications comprise real-time 3D cameras based on highly precise and compact LIDAR systems. DOI: 10.1126/science.aao3924

Press Release 019/2018
The figure skater of only 3 mm height was printed onto the tip of a crystal. (Photo: Nanoscribe)
DPG Prize for Superprecise 3D Laser Printing

February 14, 2018

Taking sharper photos with the smartphone, stimulating nerves electrically with a clamping lock, or growing cells in an optimal environment, all this is made possible by a revolutionary superprecise 3D printing process developed by researchers of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). A manufacturing method that once was a scientific niche has quickly evolved as a business into a world market leader with revenues in the millions in a booming high-tech market. For this translation of scientific findings into economically successful and useful products, the Institute of Nanotechnology and the Innovation Management Service Unit of KIT as well as the Nanoscribe company are granted the Technology Transfer Prize by the German Physical Society (DPG).

Press Release 012/2018
Partnership to foster cooperation: President Holger Hanselka (KIT), Professor Michael Kaschke (ZEISS). Back: Vice President Thomas Hirth (KIT), Ulrich Simon (ZEISS). (Photo: KIT/Andreas Drollinger)
ZEISS and KIT: Cooperation in Research, Academic Education, and Establishing Spinoffs

January 23, 2018

Digital change in work and life is one of the biggest and most pressing challenges facing our society. Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and ZEISS are now working on shaping and advancing digitization. The industrial company and the research and education institution have decided to turn their existing, long-standing cooperation in research and academic education into a strategic partnership. Joint product development and establishment of startups will be shifted into the focus. The corresponding agreement was signed on Tuesday, January 23, 2018, in Karlsruhe.

Press Release 006/2018
Complex semiregular tessellations (right, microscopic image) are formed from a building block (left, red contours) consisting of two parts and a silver atom (blue). (Images: Klappenberger and Zhang / TUM)
Complex Tessellations, Extraordinary Materials

January 23, 2018

Floor parquetings are typically found in living rooms. But microstructured parquetings, or rather tessellations, may occur in materials as well. Materials with tessellations can, for example, be characterized by an outstanding electrical conductivity, a special light reflection, or an extreme mechanical strength. Selective generation of such structures requires large molecular building blocks which mostly are not compatible with the conventional manufacturing processes. In Nature Chemistry, researchers of KIT and TUM explain how molecules form complex tessellations through self-organization.

Press Release 005/2018
Award for quicker data transmission: Christian Koos, Manfred Kohl, and Sascha Mühlbrandt of KIT. (Photo: Gips-Schüle Foundation, Thomas Niedermüller)
Gips-Schüle Research Award for Ultracompact Photodetector

November 29, 2017

Researchers of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) demonstrated a novel plasmonic photodetector that is a hundred times smaller and much quicker than conventional detectors. For this, scientists Sascha Mühlbrandt, Christian Koos, and Manfred Kohl of KIT were granted this year’s Gips-Schüle Research Award in the amount of EUR 50,000 by the Gips-Schüle Foundation. Large numbers of these small components can be integrated on large-area silicon wafers, together with other optical and electronic components. In this way, capacity of future communication systems can be increased considerably.

Press Release 172/2017
Christian Koos (left) and Christian Greiner (right) are awarded ERC Consolidator Grants. (Photos: Laila Tkotz/KIT)
Research into Terahertz Signals and Friction-optimized Metals

November 28, 2017

At Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Professor Christian Koos combines photonic and electronic methods to generate terahertz signals and to make them usable for data transmission and measurements. Dr. Christian Greiner studies the behavior of metals in friction contacts in order to reduce friction and wear and, thus, decrease the consumption of energy and raw materials. The European Research Council (ERC) has now decided to award Consolidator Grants to both scientists. In the next five years, their projects will be funded with about EUR 2 million each.

Press Release 171/2017
Forces from above are transmitted to the vertical ring structures via bars. The rotation of the rings exerts forces onto the corners of the horizontal planes of the cube. (T. Frenzel/KIT)
Science: Metamaterial with a Twist

November 24, 2017

Using 3D printers for the microrange, researchers of KIT have succeeded in creating a metamaterial from cubic building blocks that responds to compression forces by a rotation. Usually, this can only be achieved by transmission using a crankshaft, for instance. The sophisticated design of bars and ring structures and the underlying mathematics are now presented in the latest issue of Science.

Press Release 169/2017
Upon execution of Grover’s quantum algorithm, the terbium single-molecule transistor reads out unsorted databases. (Graphics: KIT/Institut Néel)
Quantum Computing with Molecules for a Quicker Search of Unsorted Databases

November 13, 2017

Scrapbooks or social networks are collections of mostly unsorted data. The search for single elements in very large data volumes, i.e. for the needle in the data haystack, is extremely complex for classical computers. Scientists of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) have now quantum mechanically implemented and successfully executed Glover’s algorithm, a process for the quick finding of a search element in unsorted databases. Their results are reported in the Physical Review Letters. DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.119.187702

Press Release 162/2017
The surface of bar-shaped ceria nanoparticles is comparable with the rock formations of Monument Valley – it has a number of edges, corners, and facets. (Photo: Alessandro Trovarelli/University of Udine)
Ceria Nanoparticles: It Is the Surface that Matters

October 30, 2017

Exhaust gas cleaning of passenger cars, power generation from sunlight, or water splitting: In the future, these and other applications may profit from new findings relating to ceria. At Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), scientists have studied ceria nanoparticles with the help of probe molecules and a complex ultrahigh vacuum-infrared measurement system and obtained partly surprising new insights into their surface structure and chemical activity. Work is reported in three articles published in the journal Angewandte Chemie (applied chemistry).

Press Release 158/2017
Counterfeits and product piracy can be prevented by security features, such as printed 3D microstructures, on products or packagings. (Photo: Frederik Mayer/KIT)
3D Microprinting: Security for Products, Passports, and Money

October 25, 2017

Security features are to protect bank notes, documents, and branded products against counterfeiting. Losses caused by product forgery and counterfeiting may be enormous. According to the German Engineering Association, the damage caused in 2016 in its branch alone amounted to EUR 7.3 billion. In the Advanced Materials Technologies journal, researchers of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and the ZEISS company now propose to use printed 3D microstructures instead of 2D structures, such as holograms, to improve counterfeit protection.

Press Release 156/2017
Nanostructures of the wing of Pachliopta aristolochiae can be transferred to solar cells and enhance their absorption rates by up to 200 percent. (Graphics: Radwanul H. Siddique, KIT/Caltech)
Butterfly Wing Inspires Photovoltaics: Light Absorption Can Be Enhanced by Up to 200 Percent

October 19, 2017

Sunlight reflected by solar cells is lost as unused energy. The wings of the butterfly Pachliopta aristolochiae are drilled by nanostructures (nanoholes) that help absorbing light over a wide spectrum far better than smooth surfaces. Researchers of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) have now succeeded in transferring these nanostructures to solar cells and, thus, enhancing their light absorption rate by up to 200 percent. The scientists report their results in the journal Science Advances. DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1700232.

Press Release 153/2017