Alex Dommann is Head of the "Materials meet Life” Department at the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (Empa) since 2013 and member of Empa's Board of Directors.
He is an Adjunct Professor of the Institute for Surgical Technology and Biomechanics (ISTB) at the University of Berne since 2016. Between 2005 and 2013, he was heading the new Microsystems Technology division at Centre Suisse d'Electronique et de Microtechnique in collaboration with Prof. Nico de Rooij.
Prof. Dommann earned his PhD at the ETH Zurich after completing his diploma in solid-state physics and crystallography at the University of Zurich. In the following years he was a research fellow at the Applied Physics Department of the California Institute of Technology and the JPL of NASA, Pasadena (CA), research scientist at the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) in Würenlingen and at the Laboratory for Solid State Physics of the ETH in Zurich.
In 1991 he was appointed Professor of materials research at the Interstate University of Applied Sciences Buchs (NTB) in Switzerland. He took a sabbatical leave in summer 1997 as visiting faculty at Caltech, Pasadena, were he carried out research on amorphous metals and diffusion barriers. He was scientific Head of the Institute for Microsystems at NTB between 1997–2004.
His research concentrates on two broad topics, i.e., Medtech and X-Ray analytics. He has a long standing interest in bio surface interactions and the analysis of surfaces and interfaces in coatings and thin films. Much of his research and teaching activity has focused on different aspects of surface science and technology, mainly in the areas of surface functionalization, biointerface studies, patterning, and advanced bulk- and surface analysis. Since 1992, he is interested in the topic how the body is interacting with implanted MEMS sensors and how specific surfaces are modifying cell interactions. Later he studied also questions regarding functionalized nanomaterials and their direct or indirect interaction with body fluidics or human tissue. For this purpose, he also started with X-Ray dark field imaging.
Prof. Dommann has strong transdisciplinary collaborations between nanomaterial synthesis, X-Ray analytics, biochemistry and biology and more then 10 years of experience in space projects. His studies led to a variety of new semiconductor structuring and coating processes. His contributions have opened up possibilities for future research in the area of semiconductor and MEMS structuring and coating.