Professor Harald Brune’s research program focuses on the exploration of the novel physical and chemical properties arising when metals shrink to the nanoscale. Starting from a detailed understanding of epitaxial growth, derived from variable temperature scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) experiments compared with theoretical modeling, we use self-assembly to grow metallic nanostructures with the desired morphology, size, and spacing at single crystal surfaces. These samples are then investigated either by spatially integrating measurements, revealing the properties of the ensemble of nanostructures, or by addressing some of the properties of interest directly at the atomic scale by means of STM. We intend to identify the individual contributions of each of the differently coordinated constituent atoms with the ultimate goal to engineer nanostructures with desired properties, such as magnetic anisotropy energy and moment, spin-polarization at the Fermi level, chemical reactivity and selectivity.

Prof. Dr. Harald Brune

Mme Nathalie Guex +41 (0)21 69 30302
Mme Carole Pascalon +41 (0)21 69 33320

Bâtiment PH, Station 3, Boîte B
1015 Lausanne, Switzerland



Stability of Holmium Single Atom Magnets

Magnetic contrast on Ho atoms

F. D. Natterer, F. Donati, F. Patthey, and H. Brune, Thermal and Magnetic-Field Stability of Holmium Single-Atom Magnets, Phys. Rev. Lett. 121, 027201 (2018).


2D Superlattice of Single Atom Magnets

Dy single atom magnet superlattice

R. Baltic, M. Pivetta, F. Donati, Ch. Wäckerlin, A. Singha, J. Dreiser, S. Rusponi, and H. Brune, Superlattice of Single Atom Magnets on Graphene, Nano Lett. 16, 7610 (2016).

Featured in  Phys.org


Magnetic remanence in single Ho atoms on MgO

STM image Ho on MgO

F. Donati, S. Rusponi, S. Stepanow, Ch. Wäckerlin, A. Singha, L. Persichetti, R. Baltic, K. Diller, F. Patthey, E. Fernandes, J. Dreiser,  Ž. Šljivančanin, K. Kummer, C. Nistor, P. Gambardella, and H. Brune, Magnetic remanence in single atomsScience 352, 318 (2016).

Featured in Phys.org, ESFR – Spotlight on Science


Reaching the magnetic anisotropy limit of a 3d metal atom

Co atoms on MgO - an artist view

I. G. Rau, S. Baumann, S. Rusponi, F. Donati, S. Stepanow, L. Gragnaniello, J. Dreiser, C. Piamonteze, F. Nolting, S. Gangopadhyay, O. R. Albertini, R. M. Macfarlane, Ch. P. Lutz, B. A. Jones, P. Gambardella, A. J. Heinrich, and H. Brune, Reaching the magnetic anisotropy limit of a 3d metal atom, Science 344, 988 (2014).

Featured in ScienceDaily


CO oxidation by surface-supported Pt clusters

Pt3 on TiO2(110)

S. Bonanni, K. Aït-Mansour, W.Harbich, and H. Brune, Reaction-Induced Cluster Ripening and Initial Size-Dependent Reaction-rates for CO Oxidation on Ptn/TiO2(110)-(1 x 1), J. Am. Chem. Soc. 136, 8702 (2014)


 Magnetic Moment and Anisotropy of Individual Co Atoms on Graphene

spin excitation spectroscopy

F. Donati, Q. Dubout, G. Autès, F. Patthey, F. Calleja, P. Gambardella, O. V. Yazyev and H. Brune, Magnetic Moment and Anisotropy of Individual Co Atoms on Graphene, Phys. Rev. Lett. 111, 236801 (2013)


Distinction of Nuclear Spin States with the Scanning Tunneling Microscope

H2 spectroscopyF. D. Natterer, F. Patthey, and H. Brune, Distinction of Nuclear Spin States with the Scanning Tunneling Microscope, Phys. Rev. Lett. 111, 175303 (2013)


Self-assembled superlattice of Fe clusters

Fe clusterM. Pivetta, G. E. Pacchioni, U. Schlickum, J. V. Barth, and H. Brune, Formation of Fe Cluster Superlattice in a Metal-Organic Quantum-Box Network, Phys. Rev. Lett. 110, 086102 (2013)


Magnetic anisotropy of nanostructures

Pd-decorated Co islands on Pt(111)S. Ouazi, S. Vlaic, S. Rusponi, G. Moulas, P. Buluschek, K. Halleux, S. Bornemann, S. Mankovsky, J. Minár, J. B. Staunton, H. Ebert and H. Brune, Atomic-scale engineering of magnetic anisotropy of nanostructures through interfaces and interlines, Nat. Commun. 3, 1313 (2012)