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Rainer Hillenbrand

Rainer Hillenbrand



Phone: +34 943574007
Email: r.hillenbrand@nanogune.eu
Ikerbasque Research Professor
Nanooptics Group Leader



Short Biography

Rainer Hillenbrand is Ikerbasque Research Professor and Nanooptics Group Leader at the nanoscience research center CIC nanoGUNE in San Sebastian (Basque Country, Spain), and a Joint Professor at the University of the Basque Country. He is also co-founder of the company neaspec GmbH (Martinsried, Germany), which develops and manufactures near-field optical microscopes. From 1998 to 2007 he worked at the Max-Planck-Institut fuer Biochemie (Martinsried, Germany), where he led the Nano-Photonics Research Group from 2003 to 2007. He obtained his PhD degree in physics from the Technical University of Munich in 2001. Hillenbrand’s research activities include the development of optical near-field nanoscopy and infrared nanospectroscopy, and its applications in nanophotonics, graphene plasmonics, materials sciences and biology. In 2014 he received the Ludwig-Genzel-Price “for the design and development of infrared near-field spectroscopy and the application of the novel spectroscopy method in different fields of natural sciences”.

Professional Experience

  • Since 02/2014: Joint Professor at the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU).
  • Since 02/2008: Ikerbasque Research Professor (Basque Foundation for Science).
  • Since 02/2008: Group Leader (Nanooptics) at CIC nanoGUNE Consolider, Donostia – San Sebastian, Spain.
  • Since 05/2007: Co-Founder of Neaspec GmbH, Martinsried and member of the Board of Directors. The company develops and manufactures scanning near-field optical microscopes.
  • 05/2009: Visiting Professor at the Institute of Photonic Sciences (ICFO), Castelldefels (Barcelona), Spain.
  • 10-12/2005: Visiting professor in the group of Prof. L. Novotny, The Institute of Optics, Rochester, NY,USA.
  • 02/2003-01/2008: Head of the Independent Junior Research Group "Nano-Photonics" at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry.

Postdoctoral training

  • 2001-2002: Postdoc at the Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie, Martinsried, Germany.

Academic Education

  • 2001: PhD from the Technische Universität München for research and development in optical near-field microscopy.
  • 1998-2001: PhD-student at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, Martinsried.
  • 1991-1997: Studies in Physics at the Universität Augsburg.


  • 2014: Ludwig-Genzel Prize for the "design and development of infrared near-field spectroscopy and the application of this novel spectroscopy method in different fields of natural sciences".
  • 2013: Microscopy Today Innovation Award for the "nano-FTIR" product development, together with F. Huth, F. Keilmann and Neaspec GmbH.
  • 2010: European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant.
  • 2002: Nanofutur award form the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF).
  • 2002: 3. prize of the "IKuh"-award, awarded by the "IVG – Businesspark vor München" for applied nanosciences.
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