Armin Knoll


Armin Knoll


Research Staff Member, Physics of Nanoscale Systems


IBM Research Europe - Zurich Zurich, Switzerland


Armin Knoll earned a Diplom degree in Physics from the University of Würzburg, Germany, in 1998.

In 2004, he earned his PhD summa cum laude at the University of Bayreuth, Germany, with his thesis entitled 'Equilibrium and Dynamic Phase Behavior in Thin Films of Cylinder Forming Block Copolymers' under the direction of Professor G. Krausch.

Armin Knoll joined the IBM Research - Zurich Lab as a post-doctoral research fellow in 2003, working on two-photon lithography for mechanical logic applications.

From 2005 to 2006, he was then hired as a visiting scientist and worked on retention properties of polymers for probe data storage.

Since 2006, Armin Knoll has been a permanent Research Staff Member, working on the design and characterization of polymers for probe data storage. This project was conducted in close collaboration with external industry partners to bring a probe-based data storage device to the market. It received high external visibility as the 'Millipede' project.

Since 2008, Armin has been co-leading a new project called '3D nanofabrication using heatable probes.' Building on the strong skills and collaborations established in the 'Millipede' project, this new method was established to create high-resolution three-dimensional structures with unprecedented quality. It received avid attention throughout the scientific community, with publications in Science, Advanced Materials, and various press articles.

Professional activities

  • Co-organization of the 2011 MRS Fall Symposium FF: 'Mechanical Nanofabrication, Nanopatterning, and Nanoassembly'
  • Reviewer for an ERC Advanced Grant Proposal, the Czech Science Foundation and several scientific journals including PNAS, Lab on a Chip, Scientific Reports, Macromolecules, Nanotechnology, Polymer, Optics Express, etc.
  • Supervision of two postdoctoral students and a PhD student since 2007.

Prizes and awards


European Research Council (ERC) award for project entitled 'Topographically guided placement of asymmetric nano-objects'


Best Paper Award in 2010 of the IBM materials research community (MRC).


IBM Research Division Accomplishment 2010 for 'Probe-based Nanopatterning'.

Research Division Award for 'Probe-based Nanopatterning'.


IBM Research Division Accomplishment 2009 for 'Designing Polymers to Enable Nanoscale Thermo-Mechanical Data Storage'.





Chemical Computing

Developing solutions to execute computing tasks in complex chemical systems used as information-processing units.

Scanning Single Electron Transistor

Batch producible scanning SET sensors with superior resolution and bandwidth for ultra-sensitive electric field imaging.

Top collaborators