Grass, Robert, Prof. Dr.

Prof. Dr. Robert Grass

Inst. f. Chemie- u. Bioing.wiss. 

HCI  E 111 

Vladimir-Prelog-Weg 1-5/10

8093 Zürich


  • phone +41 44 633 63 34 
  • mail
  • vcard
  • vcard V-Card (vcf, 1kb)

Robert N. Grass (1979) is lecturer in the group of Prof. Stark at ETH Zurich. He studied Chemical Engineering at ETH with a stay at CASE Western Reserve University Cleveland in 2003 after which he pursued a PhD at ETH Zurich.

He has written over 100 research papers, 8 patents and three book chapters. Based on results of his research he founded the company TurboBeads GmbH in 2007, which makes chemically functionalized magnetic materials commercially available (e.g. via Sigma Aldrich). Since 2008 Robert Grass is responsible for the Process Control lecture and practicum in the Chemical Engineering Curriculum at ETH Zurich (Link).


Research focus

His research is at the interface of nanoparticles, surfaces and biochemistry; he pioneered the use of carbon coated metallic nanoparticles for separation purposes and has more recently shifted his research interest from aerosol based synthesis processes to bio-analytical applications of functionalized particles. A current focus is on using encapsulated DNA as an information carrier in digital information storage, product barcoding, and material labeling.

Public Presentations available online

  • 3-Sat Nano zu DNA Datenspeicherung Link (04:37) 
  • Feature by BBC Future on long-term DNA Data Storage Link (03:45) 
  • Full presentation on long-term Data Storage given at Microsoft Research Link (87:25)
  • Interview about Chemical Education and Nanotechnology and Entrepreneurship by ACS Link (03:15) 

Selected publications

Full publication list on Google Scholar:

  • M. Puddu, G. Mikutis, W. J. Stark, R. N. Grass
    Submicrometer‐Sized Thermometer Particles Exploiting Selective Nucleic Acid Stability
    Small 12, 452-456 (2016). Link
  • R. N. Grass, W. J. Stark
    The Dissipation Rate of News in Online Mass Media Evaluated by Chemical Engineering and Process Control Tools
    AIChE J.
     62, 1104-1111 (2016). Link
  • D. Paunescu, C. A. Mora, L. Querci, R. Heckel, M. Puddu, B. Hattendorf, D. Günther, R. N. Grass
    Detecting and Number Counting of Single Engineered Nanoparticles by Digital Particle Polymerase Chain Reaction
    ACS Nano 9, 9564-9572 (2015). Link
  • R. N. Grass, R. Heckel, M. Puddu, D. Paunescu, W. J. Stark
    Robust Chemical Preservation of Digital Information on DNA in Silica with Error-Correcting Codes
    Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 54, 2552-2555 (2015). Link
  • M. Puddu, D. Paunescu, W. J. Stark, R. N. Grass
    Magnetically Recoverable, Thermostable, Hydrophobic DNA/Silica Encapsulates and their Application as Invisible Oil Tags
    ACS Nano 8, 2677-85 (2014). Link
  • D. Paunescu, M. Puddu, J. O. B. Soellner, P. R. Stoessel, R. N. Grass
    Reversible DNA encapsulation in silica to produce ROS-resistant and heat-resistant synthetic DNA ‘fossils’
    Nat. Protoc. 8, 2440-2448 (2013). Link
  • D. Paunescu, R. Fuhrer, R. N. Grass
    Reversible DNA encapsulation in silica to produce ROS-resistant and heat-resistant synthetic DNA ‘fossils’
    Angew. Chem. Int Ed. 52, 4269-4272 (2013). Link
  • R. N. Grass, E. K. Athanassiou, W. J. Stark
    Covalently functionalized cobalt nanoparticles as a platform for inexpensive magnetic separations in organic synthesis
    Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 46, 4909-4912 (2007). Link
  • R. N. Grass, S. Tsantilis, S. E. Pratsinis
    Design of high-temperature, gas-phase synthesis of hard or soft TiO2 agglomerates
    AIChE J. 52, 1318-1325 (2006). Link
  • R. N. Grass, W. J. Stark
    Flame synthesis of calcium-, strontium-, barium fluoride nanoparticles and sodium chloride
    Chem. Commun., 1767-1769 (2005). Link  
Page URL:
© 2017 Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich