The role nano structures play in information technology and in life sciences is growing continuously. While many individual building blocks in the nanometer sector have been developed in the past few years, relatively little is known to date about how these components are integrated in complex systems. It is therefore one of the principal objectives of the Nanosystems Initiative (NIM) to create a broad range of artificial and multifunctional nanosystems, to understand the way they function and ultimately to control them. This is the only way to ensure their use in information technology and in life sciences. In a total of 10 sub-areas the focus ranges, for example, from quantum phenomena in nanosystems to “lab-on-a-chip” applications. NIM brings together scientists of international repute from various research facilities in Munich and different disciplines such as physics, biophysics, physical chemistry, biochemistry, pharmaceutics, biology, electrical engineering and medicine to form one unique research association. NIM has been established within the scope of the Excellence Initiative, a Germany-wide competition to promote top-level university research.