IBM has maintained a research laboratory since 1945. Today, IBM has 12 research labs on six continents with 3,000 scientists and an annual research and development budget of $6 billion USD. IBM’s European labs are located in Zurich, Switzerland and Dublin, Ireland with large development labs in Germany and England.
IBM Research – Zurich was founded in 1956 as IBM’s first research lab outside the US, is noted for its two Nobel prizes. In 1986, Heinrich Rohrer and Gerd Binnig were awarded with the Nobel Prize in Physics for the invention of the Scanning Tunneling Microscope. An instrument that made it possible to image individual atoms and pushed the doors to the nanoworld open. Just a year later, in 1987, Alex K. Müller and Georg Bednorz received the Nobel Prize in Physics for the discovery of high-temperature superconductivity. The token ring communications protocol was invented and developed here–an important innovation and the entree to expanding our business.
Today, IBM Zurich scientists pursue research in high-performance computing, future chip technology, systems and storage technologies, business optimization and integration technologies, security and privacy and risk and compliance, biotechnology as well as energy & green technologies.
IBM Research – Zurich also continues to be an important center for the company’s nanotechnology efforts. Currently, IBM is building a new facility for cutting-edge research in nanoscience and technology on the campus of IBM Research – Zurich. The 90 million USD investment is part of a strategic partnership with Europe’s prime technical university, the ETH Zurich. The new collaborative research center is open to additional industrial or academic partners.
Beyond conventional devices: As device dimensions continue to shrink into the nanometer length-scale regime, conventional technology will approach fundamental physical limits. Further miniaturization based on conventional scaling appears neither technically nor economically feasible. New strategies, including the use of novel materials and one-dimensional device concepts, innovative device architectures, and smart integration schemes, need to be explored and assessed. They are crucial to extending current capabilities and maintaining momentum beyond the end of the technology roadmap time frame. Researchers at IBM Research – Zurich have set up an agenda for extensive investigation of functional nanostructures for ultimate and beyond-CMOS devices, focusing in particular on nano-mechanics, semiconductor nanowires, and on spintronics.