Gerd Binnig studied physics at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt and completed his Ph.D. in 1978. Since 1978, he has been a research staff member of the IBM Zurich Research Laboratory, interrupted by a sabbatical at the IBM Almaden Research Center (1985-86) and a guest professorship at Stanford University (1985-88). From 1987 to 1995, he headed an IBM Physics group at the University of Munich, from which he received an honorary professorship in 1987. For the development of the scanning tunneling microscope (STM), which he invented together with Heinrich Rohrer, he received numerous awards including the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1986. The STM, and the atomic force microscope (AFM), which he invented later and developed together with Calvin Quate and Christoph Gerber, were essential for nanotechnology to emerge. Later he developed a model to describe complex systems and founded in 2000 the company Definiens, where he, together with others, developed the novel computer language CNL. Today CNL is widely used for complex image analysis.
A new analytical technique, with unique advantages over existing molecular sensing methods, would allow the ultrasensitive and selective characterization of biomolecular interactions on a chip.