Prof. Dr. Willi Auwärter



Academic Career and Research Areas

The research focus of Professor Auwärter (b.1973) lies on the creation of nanoscale model systems on atomically tailored surfaces, enabling the study and control of single-molecule processes as well as the self-assembly of supramolecular structures. This approach includes the use of ultra-thin textured layers of boron nitride as a substrate. The studies are inspired by the chemistry of life – which shows how functionally versatile a single set of molecular building blocks can be – and oriented toward innovation in nanotechnology. Professor Auwärter studied physics at the University of Zurich (1993-1999), where he received his PhD in 2003. Subsequently he worked as postdoctoral fellow at the University of British Columbia and at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. He has been conducting research at TUM since 2007. In 2015, he was appointed Tenure Track Assistant Professor and received a Heisenberg Professorship from the DFG. In 2020, he was promoted to Associate Professor (W3).


  • Hans Fischer Memorial Award, Hans Fischer Society (2015)
  • Gaede-Prize, Deutsche Vakuumgesellschaft (2015)
  • ERC Consolidator Grant, EU (2013)
  • Carl von Linde Junior Fellowship, TUM-IAS (2010)
  • Fellowship for Prospective Researchers, Swiss National Science Foundation (2004)

Riss A, Richter M, Pérez Paz A, Wang X-Y, Raju R, He Y, Ducke J, Corral E, Wuttke M, Seufert K, Garnica M, Rubio A, Barth JV, Narita A, Müllen K, Berger R, Feng X, Palma C-A, Auwärter W: „Polycyclic aromatic chains on metals and insulating layers by repetitive [3+2] cycloadditions“. Nature Communications. 2020, 11, 1490.


Auwärter W: “Hexagonal boron nitride monolayers on metal supports: Versatile templates for atoms, molecules and nanostructures“. Surf. Sci. Rep. 2019; 74: 1-95.


Joshi S, Ecija D, Koitz R, Iannuzzi M, Seitsonen AP, Hutter J, Sachdev H, Vijarayaraghavan S, Bischoff F, Seufert K, Barth JV, Auwärter W: „Hexagonal boronnitride on Cu(111): An electronically corrugated monolayer“. Nano Letters. 2012; 12(11): 5821-5828.


Auwärter W, Seufert K, Bischoff F, Ecija D, Vijayaraghavan, Joshi S, Klappenberger F, Sumdrala N, Barth JV: „A surface-anchored molecular four-level conductance switch based on single proton transfer“. Nature Nanotechnology. 2012, 7, 41-46


Corso M, Auwärter W, Muntwiler M, Tamai A, Greber T, Osterwalder J: „Boron Nitride Nanomesh“. Science. 2004; 303(5655): 217-220.