Basel Universität
Departement für Physik und Astronomie
Departement für Physik und Astronomie

Prof. Dr. Ernst Meyer

Professor of Experimental Physics (Ordinarius)
Department of Physics
University of Basel
Klingelbergstrasse 82
CH-4056 Basel

office 3.01
Tel.: ++41 (0)61 207 37 24
Fax: ++41 (0)61 207 37 95
research homepage:

administrative assistant
Germaine Weaver
Tel.: ++41 (0)61 207 37 67
Fax: ++41 (0)61 207 37 95

Short Biography

Ernst Meyer received his Ph.D. at the University of Basel in 1990. The topic of force microscopy on ionic crystals and layered materials was treated in his thesis. He worked at the IBM Research Center Zurich (1992-1995). In 1997, he started his present position at the University of Basel. Currently, he is module coordinator in the National Center of Competence in Research "Nanoscale Science" and is chairman of the European Science Foundations network "Nanotribo".

Research Summary

Scanning probe microscopy (SPM) became an indispensable tool in physics, chemistry, biology and engineering. My research is focussed on the advancement of scanning probe microscopy. The interaction mechanisms of non-contact and contact force microscopy are investigated. A further major challenge is to combine SPM with local chemical analysis. Two strands are followed: 1) The combination of force microscopy with time-of-flight mass spectroscopy 2) The development of magnetic resonance force microscopy under ultrahigh vacuum (UHV) conditions. High Q-oscillators are prepared to probe forces in the attonewton (10-18N) regime.

Nanomechanics is an active field, where we aim for an understanding of friction and wear on the atomic scale. Is it possible to control friction on the nanometer-scale? Can we extend the results to the macroscale? Recently, a first step was made to address these questions: The novel regime of superlubricity was explored by well-defined force microscopy experiments, where electrostatic actuation was used to switch friction on and off.

Selected Publications

  1. E. Meyer, H. Hug, R. Bennewitz, Scanning Probe Microscopy, The lab on a Tip, Springer Verlag ISBN 3-540-43180-2 (2003).
  2. E. Gnecco and E. Meyer, Editors, Fundamentals of Friction and Wear on the Nanoscale, Springer Verlag ISBN-13: 978-3-540-36806-9 (2006).
  3. Wetzel, A. Socoliuc, E. Meyer, R. Bennewitz, E. Gnecco and C. Gerber, Scanning Probe Microscopy combined with Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometry: Chemical Analysis on the Nanometer Scale, Rev. Sci. Instrum. 76, 103701 (2005).
  4. S. Rast, U. Gysin, P. Ruff, C. Gerber, E. Meyer and D.W. Lee, Force Microscopy Experiments with Ultrasensitive Cantilevers, Nanotechnology 17, (2006).
  5. A. Socoliuc, S. Maier, O. Pfeiffer,E. Gnecco, A. Baratoff, R. Bennewitz and E. Meyer, Atomic-Scale Control of Friction by Actuation of Nanometer-Sized Contacts, Science 313, 207 (2006).