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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


Rare Earths Become Water-repellent Only as They Age

Surfaces that have been coated with rare earth oxides develop water-repelling properties only after contact with air. Even at room temperature, chemical reactions begin with hydrocarbons in the air. In the journal Scientific Reports, researchers from the University of Basel, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute and the Paul Scherrer Institute report that it is these reactions that are responsible for the hydrophobic effect.


Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

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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
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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
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Full list of publications