Project Partners

The core partners comprising the ACRITAS consortium were selected specifically for their expertise in various complementary facets of scanning probe microscopy research (and R&D) in academia and the private sector. The particular combination of skills available within the consortium is, to the best of our knowledge, unique: we are not aware of a network or a programme of research worldwide which has attempted to bridge the ultrahigh vacuum and biological environments within a single consortium, while not only  spanning a number of disciplines but involving partners from both the public and private sectors, and including other “socioeconomic actors”.

In addition to this core grouping of full partners, ACRITAS is fortunate also to have the support of a broad variety of associate partners spanning not only hi-tech industry in the SPM/nanotechnology sector but a range of other ‘socioeconomic actors’. This latter group of associated partners is particularly important in terms of both the transferable skills training within the network and the provision of secondments matched to the interests and career objectives of ESRs who may be considering a career in the third sector, or with an NGO, or a policy think-tank etc…

 Core Partners

Nanoscience Group, University of Nottingham (Coordinator).

Principal Scientist: Prof. Philip Moriarty, School of Physics & Astronomy

Theory and Simulation of Condensed Matter Group, King’s College London.

Principal Scientist: Prof. Lev Kantorovich, Dept. of Physics

Electronic and Photonic Molecular Materials Group, University of Sheffield.

Principal Scientist: Dr. Ashley Cadby, Department of Physics & Astronomy



Nanoscale Function Group, University College Dublin

Principal Scientist: Prof. Suzi Jarvis, Conway Institute

Molecular Self-Assembly Group, Johannes Gutenberg Universität Mainz

Principal Scientist: Prof. Dr. Angelika Kühnle, Institut für Physikalische Chemie

Scanning Probe Microscopy Group, University of Regensburg

Principal Scientist: Prof. Franz Giessibl, Department of Physics

Department of Biosystems Science and Engineering, ETH Zurich

Principal Scientist: Prof. Daniel Müller

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Single-Molecule Chemistry Group, University of Graz

Principal Scientist: Prof Leonhard Grill, Institute of Chemistry

SPM Theory and Nanomechanics Group, Universidad Autonoma de Madrid

Principal Scientist: Prof. Ruben Perez, Dept. Theoretical Physics of Condensed Matter


Physics of Nanoscale Systems – Atomic Manipulation Group, IBM Zurich

Principal Scientist: Dr. Leo Gross




Scanning Probe Microscopy Section, Omicron Nanotechnology

Principal Scientist: Dr. Juergen Koeble

 Associate Partners

Asylum Research is a technology leader in atomic force and scanning probe microscopy (AFM/SPM) for both materials and bioscience applications.  Founded in 1999, it is an employee owned company dedicated to innovative instrumentation for nanoscience and nanotechnology.

NANOTEC is an SME devoted to the development, manufacturing, and selling of SPMs and control systems for SPMs. The company was established in 1998 as a spin-off of UAM, and from that moment on has been continuously increasing the quality of its products, both via internal R&D and collaborations with public research institutions.

Zyvex Labs develops atomically precise manufacturing technology and has significant experience commercializing nanotechnology. Zyvex Technologies ( and Zyvex Instruments (  are two successful spin-outs from the primary company.

Technology-leader Zurich Instruments (ZI) designs and manufactures high performance dynamic signal analysis instruments for advanced scientific research and leading industrial applications. ZI’s products include lock-in amplifiers, phase-locked loops, instruments for electrical impedance spectroscopy, and application specific pre-amplifiers. Headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland, ZI is a technology spin-off from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich) established in 2008. ZI customers are scientists and engineers in leading research labs and organizations worldwide.

Quantulus Technology Ltd., a spin-out from the Nottingham Nanoscience Group, undertakes design and consultation for atomically precise engineering instrumentation for research and manufacture.

CambridgeNano was formed in mid-2011 by Dr Colm Durkan of the University of Cambridge (the company is not a University spin-off, and is privately owned and funded), and Dr Nan Wang, formerly a postdoctoral researcher in Dr Durkan’s group.  It was set up as a nanotechnology consultancy and as a scanning-probe microscope developer.  They currently have three microscopes on the European market, aimed at entry to mid-level research, which were developed and fabricated in China.  They will also deliver a series of one-day introductory courses in Nanotechnology, which will involve hands-on time on their microscopes.

Nanotimes is a French SME specialized in simulation software solutions for STM/AFM image interpretation and electronic structure analysis. The application fields are : nanochemistry, atomic surface study, atomic scale effects in nanoelectronics, carbon nanotubes, graphene, nanomaterials. Used mostly by experimentalists and nanoscience teachers and students, Nanotimes’ products tackle the very specific need for data or image interpretation at the nanoscale, when using a Scanning Probe Microscope (STM or AFM). With an easy-to-use interface and powerful simulation engines, the software package helps save valuable lab time and brings additional value to STM or AFM equipments and users.

Agilent Technologies spun off from Hewlett-Packard Company in 1999 as part of a corporate realignment that created two separate companies. Agilent has continued to support the values that have made Packard and Hewlett’s company a success: dedication to innovation; trust, respect, and teamwork; and uncompromising integrity. Agilent’s Nanotechnology Measurement Operations (NMO) has established itself as a leading provider of atomic force microscopes, nanoindentation equipment, and compact FE-SEMs.

Bruker manufactures world class atomic force microscopes and other nano technologies that incorporate the very latest advances in AFM techniques, including the revolutionary ScanAsyst™ AFM imaging mode and the PeakForce QNM® atomic force microscopy imaging mode to ideally suit a wide array of application areas, from biology to semiconductors, from data storage devices to polymers, and from integrated optics to measurement of forces between particles and surfaces. We have a range of AFM facilities available to doctoral students seconded from ACRITAS.

Scanwel manufacture and distribute components and systems to end users and o.e.m.s in academia, government laboratories and industry.  Our products find application in the production and development of advanced materials and processes in a number of high technology fields, including: nanotechnology, microelectronics, storage media and bio-medical and basic materials research of metals, oxides, polymers, coatings, etc.  Our own product range includes vacuum fittings, components, custom fabrications/ chambers and bespoke systems  Our web site introduces our principal leading edge technology products, but among the most relevant for ACRITAS are the following leading edge SPM companies: NT-MDT – Ambient, Vacuum, Liquid & Bio SPM; SPECS – Surface Science Components, Systems, Aarhus, Curlew & JT-STMs controlled by Nanonis SPM control systems; Createc – LT-STM and MBE Systems & Components

The Institute of Physics is a leading scientific society promoting physics and bringing physicists together for the benefit of all. It has a worldwide membership of around 40,000 comprising physicists from all sectors, as well as those with an interest in physics. It works to advance physics research, application and education; and engages with policy makers and the public to develop awareness and understanding of physics. Its publishing company, IOP Publishing, is a world leader in professional scientific communications.

The Royal Society is a Fellowship of the world’s most eminent scientists and is the oldest scientific academy in continuous existence. We aim to expand the frontiers of knowledge by championing the development and use of science, mathematics, engineering and medicine for the benefit of humanity and the good of the planet. Our priorities address the future of science in the UK and beyond. We aim to invest in future scientific leaders and in innovation; influence policymaking with the best scientific advice; invigorate science and mathematics education; increase access to the best science internationally; and inspire an interest in the joy, wonder and excitement of scientific discovery. Our Fellows and Foreign Members, who are elected for life on the basis of scientific excellence, have included Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Ernest Rutherford, Albert Einstein, Dorothy Hodgkin, Francis Crick, James Watson and Stephen Hawking. Today there are approximately 1,500 Fellows and Foreign Members, including more than 80 Nobel Laureates. The Society has three roles: it is the UK academy of science promoting the natural and applied sciences, a learned society, and a funding agency. The Society is governed by an elected Council of 21 Fellows, which is headed by the President, Sir Paul Nurse. The Council and Officers are supported by a permanent staff of around 140.

SGR is an independent UK-based membership organisation of about 1000 natural and social scientists, engineers, IT professionals and architects. It promotes science, design and technology that contribute to peace, social justice, and environmental sustainability. It carries out research, education and advocacy activities.