Merle, Benoit

PD Dr.-Ing. Benoit Merle

Gruppenleiter Nanomechanik

Department Werkstoffwissenschaften (WW)
Lehrstuhl für Werkstoffwissenschaften (Allgemeine Werkstoffeigenschaften)

Raum: Raum 02.170
Cauerstrasse 3
91058 Erlangen 91058 Erlangen

Scientific Career

Benoit Merle is an expert in nanomechanical testing. He graduated with distinction from the Ecole Centrale de Lyon in France in 2005. After spending a few years as an engineer with Siemens AG, he joined the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg to pursue a PhD on the mechanical behavior of thin films. He obtained his doctorate degree (Dr.-Ing.) with distinction in 2013 (advisor: Prof. M. Göken) and went on to establish the nanomechanics group which he currently leads. He spent the summer 2018 at Texas A&M university on an extended research stay with Prof. George Pharr. Back in Erlangen, he completed his habilitation (Dr.-Ing. habil.) in the field of materials science in May 2019.

Academic Education

05/2019 Habilitation in Materials Science, FAU, Erlangen
06/2013 PhD in Materials Science, FAU, Erlangen
11/2005 M.Sc. in Engineering, École Centrale de Lyon, France


since 2019 Privatdozent, Faculty (Akademischer Oberrat a.Z.), Group Leader
2018 Visiting Scholar, Texas A&M University, USA
2013 – 2019 Faculty (Akademischer Rat a.Z.), Group Leader
2007 – 2013 Research Associate
2006 – 2007 Engineer, Siemens AG


He is the author or co-author of >50 publications in international peer-reviewed journals – as listed below – and has also given numerous invited presentations (TMS, DPG, ESMC…) and organized 6 symposia at major international conferences (ICMCTF, E-MRS, TMS). He is the lead guest editor of a 2021 special issue of the Journal of Materials Research and a 2022 special issue of the JOM Journal. The quality of his work has been acknowledged by the 4 researcher awards that he has received, incl. from the German materials society (DGM) and the Staedtler Foundation. He has also received 3 teaching awards for his lectures at the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg and has been a member of the graduate program committee of the nanotechnology curriculum since 2015. In 2020, he was awarded a prestigious ERC Starting Grant by the European research Council.

2021 Masing Award, German Society for Materials Research (DGM)
2020 ERC Starting Grant, European Research Council
2020 Wolfgang Finkelnburg Habilitation Award, Erlangen
2019 Best lecture award from the Faculty of Engineering (rank 1/57), Erlangen
2016 Best lecture award from the Faculty of Engineering (rank 3/53), Erlangen
2015 Best Poster Award at the „Nanomechanical Testing in Materials Research & Development V“ Conference, Albufeira, Portugal
2015 Best lecture award from the Faculty of Engineering (rank 1/24), Erlangen
2014 Young Researcher Award, German Society for Materials Research (DGM), Darmstadt
2014 Best PhD Award, Staedtler Foundation, Nürnberg
2011 Best Poster Award at the „Nanomechanical Testing in Materials Research & Development III“ Conference, Lanzarote, Spain
2009 Best Poster Award at the „Nanomechanical Testing“ Conference, Barga, Italy

Research Focus

Benoit Merle has a strong research focus on the mechanical characterization of materials in small dimensions by nanoindentation, micromechanical testing and in-situ testing in the electron and atomic force microscopes. He is an expert at developing novel testing methods and applying them to various material systems. He also has a strong background in the fabrication and characterization of thin films and coatings. His current projects are mostly connected to small-scale fatigue, nanotribology and nanoindentation at high strain rates.

Third-party Funding

ERC Starting Grant „High-speed deformation and failure of materials at the nanometer scale“
Funded by the European research Council (ERC), 2021-2026
Research Grant „Metallic thin film fatigue dominated by interface character”
Cooperation with the Austrian Academy of Sciences
DFG funded, 2020-2023
Research Training Programme “In situ Microscopy with Electrons, X-rays and Scanning Probes”
Cooperation with the Electron Microscopy and Physics departments
DFG funded, 2018-2022
Priority Programme „Fluidless Lubricationsystems with high mechanical Load”
Cooperation with the Mechanical Engineering department
DFG funded, 2018-2021

Projekte [DE]

Researcher identifiers

Publications in Web of Science












 Nanomechanics Group in 2021 (Wakeboarding at lake Brombach)

 Nanomechanics Group in 2020 (Canoeing along the Wiesent river)

Nanomechanics Group in 2019 (Rickshaw riding at lake Brombach)

Nanomechanics Group in 2018 (Aerial adventure park)

Nanomechanics Group in 2017 (Disco-golf)