Nirmalraj Peter

Nirmalraj Peter

Group Leader, BioPhysics
Adolphe Merkle Institute
Chemin des Verdiers 4
CH-1700 Fribourg
Phone:+41 26 300 9541
Email:(turn on JavaScript)
ORCID:ORCID iD icon0000-0002-2282-6781

Peter Nirmalraj is a molecular surface physicist and is currently the group leader for the biophysics division at Adolphe Merkle Institute (AMI) since 2017. Here, he is working together with Prof. Michael Mayer on establishing a detailed understanding on the correlation between protein surface dynamics and function by liquid-based scanning probe microscopy.

His core area of research interest lies in applying cutting edge scanning probe microscopes to decipher the structure, dynamics and energetics of nanoscale molecules from functional organics to biomolecular systems with high spatio-temporal clarity. In particular his research interests span from observing and exploiting the embryonic phase of self-assembling molecules of organic molecules as they adapt to feedback from local environment, topology and energetic constraints towards engineering robust molecular scale devices.

After receiving his PhD in nanoscience in 2011 from Trinity College Dublin, Ireland he joined IBM Zurich Research Laboratory after securing a Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellowship in IEF-Physics division. Here at IBM, he proposed and delivered a novel roadmap to develop a liquid-based scanning tunnelling microscopy and spectroscopy to fingerprint emerging nanomaterials based on their electronic structure and surface dynamics. He was awarded the prestigious IBM Outstanding Technical Achievement Award in 2016 for his work on atom-scale metrology in liquids. He is an ardent speaker on emerging technological trends and actively engages in outreach activities for sharing his research.

Selected Publications

1. Motion of Fullerenes around Topological Defects on Metals: Implications for the Progress of Molecular Scale Devices. Peter N. Nirmalraj, Ronan Daly, Nazario Martin and Damien Thompson. ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces, 2017, 9,9,7897-7902.
2. A Robust Molecular Probe for Angstrom-Scale Analytics in Liquids. Peter N. Nirmalraj et al. Nature Communications, 2016, 7, 12403.
3. Nanoelectrical Analysis of Single-Molecules and Atomic-Scale Materials at the Solid-Liquid Interface. Peter N. Nirmalraj et al. Nature Materials, 2014, 13, 947-953.
4. Nanoscale Origin of Defects at Metal-Molecule Engineered Interfaces. Peter N. Nirmalraj, Heinz Schmid, Bernd Gotsmann and Heike Riel. Langmuir, 29, 5, 1340-1345.
5. Electrical Connectivity in Single-Walled Carbon Nanotube Networks. Peter N. Nirmalraj et al. Nano Letters, 2009, 9(11), 3890-3895.
6. Nanoscale Mapping of Electrical Resistivity and Connectivity in Graphene Strips and Networks. Peter N. Nirmalraj et al. Nano Letters, 2010, 11 (1), 16-22.
7. Selective Tuning and Optimization of the Contacts to Metallic and Semiconducting SWCNTs. Peter N. Nirmalraj and John. J. Boland. ACS Nano, 2010, 4 (7), 3801-3806.
8. Manipulating Connectivity and Electrical Conductivity in Metallic Nanowire Networks. Peter N. Nirmalraj et al. Nano Letters, 2012, 12 (11), 5966-5971.


2016                      IBM Outstanding Technical Achievement Award for Atom-Scale Metrology in Liquids.
2016                      IBM First Patent Invention Award for Fabricating Ultra-Flat 2D Materials.
2015                      Keysight Technologies Best Research Image Award Winner.
2014                      Materials Today Research Prize for Atom-Scale Imaging of Graphene in Liquids.
2011                      Marie-Curie Fellowship (EU-FP7, IEF PHYS 2010).
2008                      American Chemical Society, NanoVision Award Winner.


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Adolphe Merkle Institute - Chemin des Verdiers 4 - CH-1700 Fribourg - Phone +41 26 300 9254