Attolight AG was founded in 2008 by Samuel Sonderegger and Jean Berney who manage the company today. The combined knowledge of scanning electron microscopy and ultrafast spectroscopy from the Laboratory of Quantum Optics and Electronics of EPFL was transferred to the company that turned the unique technology into a new product line. Attolight is supported by a group of high-level private investors.
Samuel Sonderegger – CEO & Co-Founder
Samuel has many years experience in the design and development of ultrafast SEM technology. He studied at EPFL (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Lausanne) and Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon (France) and obtained a MS of Physics from EPFL. His master thesis on the optical properties of semiconductors was conducted at the Ioffe Physico-Technical Institute (Russia). During his PhD at EPFL, he further developed Attolight’s ultrafast cathodoluminescence technology and used this technique to advance the understanding of optical properties of nitride based structures. Samuel decided to jump into the entrepreneurial world after his PhD thesis and co-founded Attolight with Jean Berney. Since then he has mainly led the business development of the company.
Jean Berney – CTO & Co-Founder
Jean came to Attolight from the Laboratory of Quantum Opto-Electronics of Professor Benoît Deveaud at EPFL. He is an expert in ultrafast spectroscopy and semiconductor technologies. He has extensive experience in the automation of scientific measurements and user interface programming. He studied at EPFL, University of Waterloo (Canada), received a MS in Physics and a PhD in Photonics from EPFL. His thesis focused on fundamental quantum properties of novel semiconductor structures. Jean has been in charge of product development and IP strategy since the foundation of Attolight.
Board of Directors
Jean-Philippe Lallement – Chairman
Jean-Philippe is the Managing Director of the EPFL Innovation Park. A prominent specialist in high-tech entrepreneurship, Jean-Philippe formerly held the role of VP and General Manager at SITA Group and was closely involved in the formation of Equant which raised 200 MUSD and subsequently listed on the NYSE. Jean-Philippe has 20-year experience managing high growth international business units, and developing start-ups. He is a graduate from Ecole Polytechnique in France, Telecom ParisTech, and INSEAD.
Lucian Wagner – Director
Lucian has a truly global outlook with an extensive set of contacts in North America, Europe, and Asia. He is currently a General Partner at EuroUS Ventures LLC, Chairman & Co-founder of Launch in US Alliance, LLC and EuroUS Accelerator, Inc. and his main focus now is helping European companies gain traction in the US. In this function, he lectures frequently at events throughout Europe and the US and helps organize study trips and visits to Boston and Silicon Valley.
Before joining EuroUS Ventures in 2005, he launched US operations for itemic AG, a German semiconductor software company and was responsible for their worldwide sales and marketing. He is a current and past member of the Board of several European ICT companies and advises them on Marketing, Financing and General Strategy issues.
In 1997, he co-founded and became CEO of FabCentric, a Yield Management software company, where he raised several million dollars in VC funding and which he grew to more than 25 employees before it was sold to another publicly traded software company in late 2001.
Lucian spent more than 20 years in the semiconductor equipment industry, holding a series of positions in Sales and Marketing, based out of Switzerland and then Boston, MA.
Lucian was born in Germany, educated in the French school system, and went on to earn a B.Sc. in International Economics from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University (with a minor in Russian) and an MBA from INSEAD in 1981.
Dr. Frank Siebke – Director
Frank is an industry expert with international experience in operations and venture capital. He has held senior management positions in growth companies. As CTO and Investment Director at Good Energies, Frank invested in technology driven companies across Europe, Israel, North America and China. Before joining Good Energies, Frank held leading positions in the PV industry at RWE Schott Solar, Schott Glas and Shell Solar, and has worked as researcher and development engineer at the Research Center Jülich and Sanyo Electric in Osaka. Frank has held board or board observer positions at several companies including Azzurro Semiconductors, Concentrix Solar and Xjet.
Peter H. Mueller – Director
Peter came to Attolight as business angel investor in late 2010. He graduated as Mechanical Engineer from ETH Zurich, then moved to the USA for 2 years as trainee and student. He worked for 8 years in Japan as CEO of Cosa Japan selling European machines. After heading Cosa Liebermann Machinery Division for 9 years, Peter founded the business angels club StartAngels Network in 2000 and has been its president since.
Samuel Sonderegger – CEO & co-founder
Prof. Benoît Deveaud-Plédran – EPFL, Dean of Research
Benoît Deveaud-Plédran was born in France in 1952. In 1971, he enters Ecole Polytechnique in Paris where he specializes in physics. In 1974, he joins the National Center for research in Telecommunications (CNET). He undertakes at the same time studies on the main impurity centers in III-V semiconductors, and continues his studies in physics by preparing a diploma in solid state physics in Rennes. In 1984, he defends his PhD thesis at the University of Grenoble, under the supervision of Gérard Martinez. Meanwhile, his team gets interested in semiconductor microstructures and launches studies on the structural and optical properties of superlattices based on gallium arsenide. These studies highlight for example vertical transport in superlattices as well as the quantification of excitonic energies in a quantum well. In 1986 he joins the team of Daniel Chemla in Bell Laboratories (Holmdel, USA) and takes part in the development of the first luminescence set-up having a temporal resolution better than 1 picosecond. He studies then ultrafast processes in quantum wells. Returning to France in 1988, at CNET, he coaches a laboratory of high-speed studies, interested in the optical and electronic properties of semiconductor materials. Appointed professor in Physics at EPFL in October 1993, his research team studies the physics of ultrafast processes in semiconductor micro and nanostructures and in devices that use them. He has been the Director of the Institute of Micro and Optoelectronics since 1998, then of the Institute of Quantum Photonic and Electronics from 2003 to 2008. His team takes an active part in the “Quantum Photonics” National Center of Competence in Research, of which he was the Deputy Director from 2001 to 2005 then the Director since July 2005. As of 2008, he is Dean for Research at EPFL and president of the research commission. He has been a divisional editor of Physical Review Letters from 2001 to 2007.
Prof. Nicolas Grandjean – EPFL
Nicolas Grandjean was born in France and received his PhD degree in Physics from the University of Nice-Sophia Antipolis in 1994. He was working during his PhD thesis on III-V semiconductor heterostructures. From 1994 to 2003, he was a member of the permanent staff at the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS). His research activities were focused on the physical properties of GaN semiconductor based nanostructures for optoelectronics. In 2004, he was appointed tenure-track Assistant Professor at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in the Institute of Quantum Photonics and Electronics. He was promoted Full Professor in Physics in 2009. He is currently director of the Laboratory of Advanced Semiconductors for Photonics and Electronics at the Institute of Condensed Matter Physics. In 2004 he was awarded the Sandoz Family Foundation grant for Academic Promotion and received in 2010 the “Nakamura Lecturer” award from the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB). He is author or co-author of more than 300 publications in peer-reviewed international journals, 5 book chapters, and he holds 4 patents. He is also acting as Scientific Advisor for a large industrial group. He recently participated to the creation of a start-up (Novagan) for the purpose of transferring unique expertise in blue light emitters and transistors. His current research activities are centered on the physics and technology of III-V nitride semiconductors, and in particular on polariton physics, quantum dots, intersubband transitions, and 2D electron gas.
Dr. Jean-Daniel Ganière – EPFL
Jean-Daniel Ganière was born in Aubonne (Switzerland) in 1949. He received his master in engineering physics in 1972 at EPFL. After a stage in the Department of Mathematics (Prof. Nuesch) where he develops software in statistics, he is hired in 1974, by Mr. Prof. R. Mercier, in the Department of Physics at EPFL, to study the optical properties of metal aggregates embedded in solid matrices. In 1976, he begins a thesis (optical spectroscopy of alkaline aggregates in molecular beam) supervised by Prof. A. Chatelain and obtains in 1982 the degree of Dr. ès Sciences of EPFL. After two years of post-doctoral research at the University of Oregon (Prof. J.T. Moseley), he became, in 1985, a research staff member at the Institute for Micro- and Optoelectronics at EPFL (Prof. F.K. Reinhart). His research field covers semiconductor physics of silicon, II-VI and III-V compounds. In particular, he is deeply involved in the study of impurity induced disordering processes, the design and the realization of advanced laser sources. He develops an experimental method of preparation of the specimen (investigations on cleaved wedge shaped sample) that expedited the job of thickness determination and interface characterization into useful and reproducible job. In 1995, he joins the group of the Prof. B. Deveaud and becomes responsible of the picosecond spectrocopy laboratory in IPEQ (The Institute of Quantum Electronics and Photonics of EPFL). Through various collaborations, he widens his domains of interest and his current research includes the optical properties of wide band gap materials (C60, 1D polymer chain, quantum wire, quantum boxes, …). In 2002, he initiates the picosecond Time Resolved CathodoLuminescence (pTRCL) project. The pTRCL is an original experimental set-up to improve our understanding of the dynamics that rule the nanoscale world, at a time scale of ten picoseconds and a spatial resolution of 50 nm. The wide energy range of electrons in the beam can excite materials that will not luminesce with laser techniques. The pTRCL will allow to study previously intractable materials (such as AlN, BN, diamond, ..,). He is the author or co-author of over 120 scientific publications. He is a member of The American Physical Society (APS), The Material Research Society (MRS), The Swiss Physical Society (SSP), The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and The American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT).
Prof. Patrik Hoffmann – EMPA and EPFL
Patrik Hoffmann received a diploma in chemistry from the Technical University Fridericiana at Karlsruhe (Germany) in 1988, and a Ph.D. degree from the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL, Switzerland) in 1992. After a post-doc at IBM Almaden Research Center in San Jose (California) he returned to EPFL as a research scientist, working on optical fiber probes and photo-deposition processes. In 1995 he became the head of R&D, and dental section manager for Gramm Technik, a German electrodeposition company. In 1997 he returned to EPFL as a Senior Scientist (MER) in the Advanced Photonics Laboratory (APL). He stayed at the APL for 12 years, including a 6 month research visit to University of Maryland at College Park. At present, Patrik Hoffmann is heading the laboratory of Advanced Materials Processing within Empa, Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology, located in Thun. He has been in Empa since April 2009. Beginning 2010 Patrik Hoffmann was nominated adjunct professor at EPFL, attached to laboratory for Photonic Materials and Characterization LPMAT. Dr. Hoffmann is author or co-author of more than 100 peer reviewed journal papers, 7 patents, and several technology transfers to industry. He is a member of the executive board of the Swiss Association for Materials Science and Technology (SVMT), the Electrochemical Society, Association of German Engineers (VDI), Society for Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology (DECHEMA) and serves on boards of international conferences in the fields of laser processing and chemical vapor deposition processes.