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History

Heinrich Rohrer and Gerd Binnig from the IBM Research Laboratory Zurich receive the Physics Nobel Prize for the invention of the Scanning Tunneling Microscope (STM). This is the beginning of the success of scanning probe technologies, which exist nowadays in a huge variety and are widely used in research and industry.

Gerd Binnig and Peter Vettiger start the IBM Millipede project, a unique data storage concept using sharp heatable tips. By 2007 a 2D array of heatable tips was able to write, read and delete data with an extremely high storage density. Still, the technology has not been marketed due to economic reasons.

The IBM scientists Michel Despont, Armin Knoll and Urs Dürig come up with new ideas for probe-based nanopatterning using thermally responsive resists.

The SNF funded research project ‘Surface structuring by means of stimulated desorption of organic material’ starts at ETH Zurich and IBM Research Zurich. Felix Holzner joins IBM.

Proof-of-principle experiments of the novel nanopatterning technology are published in Science and Advanced Materials. Philip Paul joins IBM.

A new high-speed patterning scheme is impressively demonstrated by Philip Paul (published in Nanotechnology, awarded a Highlight of 2011). The unique 3D nanofabrication capability of the NanoFrazor is used for first applications (published 2011 in Nano Letters and Applied Physics Letters).

Incorporation of the SwissLitho AG by Felix Holzner and Philip Paul. The vision of the two founders is to establish the novel nanopatterning technology, termed NanoFrazor, as a standard method for clean-room facilities.

Relocation of the headquarters to the Technopark in Zurich.

First delivery of a NanoFrazor tool to a customer.

Company profile

SwissLitho is a young high-tech company with the vision to change the way nanostructures are commonly made.
SwissLitho is a tool manufacturer with the patented NanoFrazor being the main product. The company has an international and interdisciplinary character with physicists, material scientists and software and electrical engineers from 7 different countries.

Management

Dr. Felix Holzner / CEO & co-founder

Felix Holzner joined the Nanofabrication Group at the IBM Research Laboratory in Zurich in 2009. There, he started to work on the technology and on applications of Thermal Desorption Scanning Probe Lithography. After several technological breakthroughs, Felix shortened the name of the technology to "NanoFrazor" and started to develop the business idea of SwissLitho.

Felix is a physicist by training and received a PhD from the Department of Materials at the ETH Zurich. He holds a Postgraduate Diploma and a Diplom in physics from the University of Canterbury (New Zealand) and the University of Tübingen (Germany), respectively. On the business side, Felix gathered the relevant skills in numerous intensive business courses with a highlight in June 2013: Felix was selected to join the venture leaders, an intense business development boot camp in Boston for the 20 most promising Swiss startup companies.

As CEO of SwissLitho, Felix managed to raise funding from a Swiss CTI project  and an EU project and from several prestigious startup awards like the McKinsey Venture award, all three venture kick awards, the ZKB Pionierpreis Technopark and most recently the Heuberger Winterthur Jungunternehmerpreis. Furthermore, Felix is an ETH Pioneer Fellow and holds the IBM Plateau Invention Achievement Award.

contact: holzner@swisslitho.com
Dr. Philip Paul / CTO & co-founder

Philip Paul is the head behind the technology of the NanoFrazor. He received his Master of Engineering and his PhD from the University of Cambridge, UK. During his research career he worked on several projects in collaboration with partners like Epson and CSR (Cambridge Silicon Radio). In 2004, he joined the Millipede project at the IBM Research Laboratories in Zurich. He returned to IBM in early 2010 to work on the recently discovered NanoFrazor patterning principle. He managed to increase the patterning speed by almost two orders of magnitude and invented and realized the unique Correlation Stitching method of the NanoFrazor. The corresponding scientific articles were recognized with the publication in “Nanotechnology Highlights 2011” and the “IOPselect” label, respectively. Philip is co-founder of SwissLitho and since 2013 he is managing the product development of the NanoFrazor explore as well as the research towards the NanoFrazor industrial.

contact: paul@swisslitho.com
Dr. Stefan M. Weber / COO

Stefan Weber has a PhD in experimental physics from the Free University of Berlin. During his post-doctoral research 2008-2010 at the EPFL in the SAMLAB of Prof. de Rooij and the University of Geneva, he developed and manufactured an Optical MEMS micromirror array specifically designed for femtosecond laser applications. He gained considerable project management, leadership and organizational experience while working at Jenoptik in Germany from 2011-2013. As project leader and product manager he was responsible for micro-optomechanical and optoelectronics modules for the next generation lithography units for the semiconductor equipment industry.

Apart from managing daily operations as COO of SwissLitho, Stefan is responsible for securing a stable supply chain, leading technological development projects with external partners, and furthermore for managing customers from industry of the upcoming model NanoFrazor industrial.

contact: weber@swisslitho.com
Dr. Nicolae Suditu / Head of Software Development

Nicolae Suditu leads the software development of the NanoFrazor. He defines the software architecture and decides about the software road-map and new releases to insure the robust operation of the NanoFrazor. He coordinates the software team and he manages the software-related customer support.

Nicolae Suditu has solid experience in large software projects. For more than 5 years he was working as a Design Software Engineer at Philips Medical Systems (Eindhoven, NL) and then as a research assistant at the Idiap Research Institute (Martigny, CH). He holds a PhD in computer science from EPFL (Lausanne, CH), a post-master in software design from TUE (Eindhoven, NL) and a MSc. in electrical engineering from UPB (Bucharest, RO).

contact: suditu@swisslitho.com

Advisory Board

Dr. Peter Vettiger / Advisor

Dr. Peter Vettiger is a pioneer of nanotechnology. At the IBM Zurich Research Laboratories, where he started working in 1963, he initiated and established nanoscale fabrication techniques based on e-beam lithography for superconducting, electronic, and opto-electronic devices and circuits. He led numerous projects with outstanding achievements for leading-edge semiconductor devices and lasers. In 1997, jointly with Nobel Laureate Dr. Gerd Binnig, he founded and led the newly formed Micro/Nanomechanical Systems Group and started the well-known “Millipede” project. Large arrays (64 x 64) of heatable cantilevers have been developed and operated to write, read and erase data with unmatched storage density.

Peter Vettiger (co-)authored more than about 200 scientific publications and five book chapters. He was a member of various steering and program committees of international conferences, served as reviewer of international scientific journals and acted as expert and reviewer of European and Swiss National Research Programs.

He also is the (co-)inventor of more than 80 filed patents, holds several IBM Outstanding and Invention Achievement Awards, and was elected an IBM Research Division Master Inventor in 1998.

In 2000 he was elected as IEEE Fellow and since 2009 he is an IEEE Life Fellow. In 2001, he was honored with a Doctor honoris causa from the University of Basel, Switzerland. Since 2003, he is a visiting Professor at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology EPFL at Lausanne and Neuchatel, Switzerland, and at the CNM, National Microelectronics Center of Spain in Barcelona and was a Senior Expert at the CSEM, Neuchatel.

In addition, he was elected member of the Royal Academy of Science and Arts, Barcelona, and the Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences (SATW) in 2005 and 2007, respectively. In the latter one he has been appointed a member of the Micro/Nanotechnology Platform (MNP).

Since 2013 Peter Vettiger is on the advisory boards of SwissLitho and Morphotonix, two recently founded Swiss Nanotechnology Start-up companies at Zurich and Lausanne.

References

For a list of customers, awards, partners, press releases and scientific publications click here.