Program Summary

The Nano-Tera.CH (NTCH) initiative aims at bringing Switzerland to the forefront of a new technological revolution driving engineering and information technology for health and security of humans and the environment in the 21st century. This revolution is rooted in advances in engineering nano-scale materials and their exploitation in a variety of systems, requiring extreme integration and coordinated control of diverse micro/nano-scale components. Embodiments of such systems can be found in lightweight, mobile and personalized products embedded in the environment and on/in the body. These products will enable us, for example, to detect in real time different health risks and conditions through integrated bio probing, to reveal security risks through smart buildings and environments, to save energy through ambient sensing, and to detect and monitor environmental hazards such as floods and avalanches from space and/or inaccessible positions on earth. The outstanding novelty and power of these systems stem from their connectedness and the integration of heterogeneous components. The engineering complexity, required quality of design and fabrication, and use of very advanced know-how in many complementary technologies is such that the manufacturing of these systems cannot be easily exported offshore as in the case of simpler consumer products.

National research programs, such as IM2, MICS, NANO and QP NCCRs as well as CIMENT, brought a network of Swiss institutions (e.g., EPFL, ETHZ, Universities of Lausanne, Geneva, Basel, Bern, Neuchtel, Svizzera Italiana, CSEM and IDIAP) to world-leading positions in key aspects of this technological revolution. Overall, national coordination projects for scientific objectives have been very successful: Nano-Tera.CH extends this approach to engineering. This coordinated and ambitious strategy can translate the present fundamental knowledge towards fast industrial expansion. Its foundation is the excellent know-how within the same institutions in enabling technologies and system engineering and networking, which are crucial elements for the integration of diverse ingredients into sophisticated devices. The proposed strategy includes the convergence of both advanced R&D on micro/nano electrical/mechanical components and on tera-scale systems, which integrate and network different (nano) elements to achieve both local and global processing of extremely large (tera) amount of data. The system-level integration is based on a unique holistic approach that achieves by integration the highest possible potential of the various disciplines.

Nano-Tera.CH - Converging Challenges

The available skills at various Swiss academic and R&D centers are exploited, extended and integrated. Key action domains include, but are not limited to, process development and process integration, micro/nano-scale sensors and actuators, enabling technologies and devices, communications, signal processing, quantum device concepts and information processing, software and large-scale distributed systems. Within the Nano-Tera.CH initiative, technology advancements will find their application and integration in application areas such as wearable, ambient and pico-satellite systems in order to cover the central domains of health, security and environment.

The leading role of academic institutions will guarantee the transfer of results into education programs at all levels. In addition to creating new high-tech companies in line with the Swiss quality image, the strategy will benefit other Swiss industries such as banking and insurance through global and secure monitoring technologies, health care through people and environment monitoring, and tourism through personalized weather and environment intelligence.


This document has been contributed by several scientists, including K. Aberer, G. De Micheli, N. de Rooij, J. Faist, B. Faltings, F. Guerkaynak, C. Hierold, N. Khaled, Y. Leblebici, B. Meyer, P. Renaud, H. Shea, L. Thiele and R. Vahldieck.


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