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Materials Science - Physics - 12.05.2022
Black holes as noise traps
Black holes as noise traps
Anyone who lives in an old building with wooden floors knows the problem: Even if the neighbors from above glide across the floor with graceful elegance, it sounds as if you were living under a bowling alley. Impact sound is a challenge even for the most modern wooden buildings. Scientists at Empa are now tinkering with a solution.

Physics - Materials Science - 05.05.2022
Glowing glass droplets on the ISS
Glowing glass droplets on the ISS
Together with researchers from Ulm and Neuchâtel, Empa will soon be studying material samples on the ISS. The material in question are super-hard and corrosion-resistant alloys of palladium, nickel, copper and phosphorus - also known as "metallic glasses". A high-tech company from La Chaux-de-Fonds, which produces materials for the watch industry, is also involved.

Materials Science - 03.05.2022
A solution to perovskite solar cell scalability problems
A solution to perovskite solar cell scalability problems
Scientists at EPFL have found a way to overcome power loss and the manufacturing complexity of scaling up perovskite solar cells. Perovskites are hybrid materials made from metal halides and organic compounds. They have attracted a lot of interest in the field of solar energy because of their light-harvesting capacities combined with a low cost of manufacturing, making them prime candidates for overtake the market from their silicon counterparts.

Environment - Materials Science - 29.04.2022
Improving the efficiency of tandem solar cells
Improving the efficiency of tandem solar cells
Scientists in Neuchâtel have developed a tandem solar cell that can deliver a certified efficiency of 29. This achievement was made possible by combining a perovskite solar cell with a textured silicon solar cell. Solar cells made of silicon are used widely but have limited power-conversion yields. These yields will likely top out at around 27% in the foreseeable future, owing to fundamental thermodynamic limitations.

Materials Science - 08.04.2022
Maintaining the structure of gold and silver in alloys
Maintaining the structure of gold and silver in alloys
EPFL engineers have developed a low-temperature annealing method that maintains the structure of gold and silver when the two metals are combined in an alloy. Their discovery will prove useful in the manufacture of contact lenses, holographic optical elements and other optical components, since the new alloys reflect the full spectral range.

Health - Materials Science - 29.03.2022
In the heat of the wound
In the heat of the wound
A bandage that releases medication as soon as an infection starts in a wound could treat injuries more efficiently. researchers are currently working on polymer fibers that soften as soon as the environment heats up due to an infection, thereby releasing antimicrobial drugs. It is not possible to l from the outside whether a wound will heal without problems under the dressing or whether bacteria will penetrate the injured tissue and ignite an inflammation.

Physics - Materials Science - 14.03.2022
Novel X-ray lens facilitates glimpse into the nanoworld
Novel X-ray lens facilitates glimpse into the nanoworld
PSI scientists have developed a ground-breaking achromatic lens for X-rays. This allows the X-ray beams to be accurately focused on a single point even if they have different wavelengths. The new lens will make it much easier to study nanostructures using X-rays, according to a paper just published by the researchers in the scientific.

Materials Science - Electroengineering - 14.03.2022
Scientists create new lead-free piezoelectric materials
Scientists create new lead-free piezoelectric materials
Researchers have discovered that gadolinium-doped cerium oxide, a compound they created in the lab, could be a promising alternative to certain piezoelectric materials: it has the same proprieties yet may be 100 times more effective. It's also lead-free, unlike the best piezoelectric materials, which means that it could be employed in bio-compatible medical applications.

Materials Science - 22.02.2022
Silence on the tracks
Silence on the tracks
Noise barriers or improved wheel systems and brakes that are less noisy are not the only ways to reduce railway noise for close-by residents. An inconspicuous component under the tracks is a source of hope for a research team including scientists. Railway noise is unhealthy. Hundreds of millions of Swiss francs have already been invested in noise barriers, quieter braking systems and other measures with the goal to protect at least 80 percent of the Swiss population from emissions by the year 2025 - but because railway traffic will continue to increase, a lot remains to be done.

Environment - Materials Science - 11.02.2022
Solar and wind power are key to decarbonising Switzerland
Solar and wind power are key to decarbonising Switzerland
A team from the UNIGE and Empa demonstrate that a mix of photovoltaic and wind power is optimal for reducing the carbon footprint of Swiss electricity consumption . How can we reduce the carbon footprint of electricity consumption in Switzerland? The country relies on electricity imports from fossil fuel power plants, which are major emitters of greenhouse gases.

Materials Science - Chemistry - 09.02.2022
A new electrolyte for greener and safer batteries
A new electrolyte for greener and safer batteries
A team from the University of Geneva has developed a new material that improves the performance of solid-state sodium batteries, a less dangerous and more durable alternative to lithium. The future of battery technologies lies in sodium. More sustainable than lithium - which currently powers most of our devices and vehicles - sodium is also abundant on the earth's surface.

Materials Science - 03.02.2022
Novel printing process switches materials from black to transparent
Novel printing process switches materials from black to transparent
Researchers have developed a new type of printing process that involves removing material rather than depositing it.

Physics - Materials Science - 02.02.2022
Cooling matter from a distance
Cooling matter from a distance
Researchers from the University of Basel have succeeded in forming a control loop consisting of two quantum systems separated by a distance of one meter. Within this loop, one quantum system - a vibrating membrane - is cooled by the other - a cloud of atoms, and the two systems are coupled to one another by laser light.

Physics - Materials Science - 21.01.2022
Quantum dots boost perovskite solar cell efficiency and scalability
Quantum dots boost perovskite solar cell efficiency and scalability
Scientists at EPFL have boosted the efficiency and scalability of perovskite solar cells by replacing their electron-transport layers with a thin layer of quantum dots. Perovskites are hybrid compounds made from metal halides and organic constituents. They show great potential in a range of applications, e.g. LED lights, lasers, and photodetectors, but their major contribution is in solar cells, where they are poised to overtake the market from their silicon counterparts.

Physics - Materials Science - 22.12.2021
Semiconductors reach the quantum world
Semiconductors reach the quantum world
Quantum effects in superconductors could give semiconductor technology a new twist. Researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI and Cornell University in New York State have identified a composite material that could integrate quantum devices into semiconductor technology, making electronic components significantly more powerful.

Materials Science - Innovation - 20.12.2021
Shellac for printed circuits
Shellac for printed circuits
Intelligent packaging with sensors that monitor goods, such as vegetables, on long transport routes is a trend for the future. Yet printed and disposable electronics also cause problems: Metals in printing inks are expensive - and disposing of them in an environmentally sound manner is costly and exacerbates the problem of electronic waste.

Materials Science - Environment - 16.11.2021
An ironclad future
An ironclad future
Solar energy plays an important role in the fight against climate change as a substitute for fossil fuels. Dye-sensitized solar cells promise to be a low-cost supplement to the photovoltaic systems we know today. Their key feature is the dye sensitizers attached to their surface. Researchers at the University of Basel continue to improve the performance with sensitizers using iron - a commonly available and environmentally friendly metal.

Materials Science - Innovation - 11.11.2021
Teaching fungi how to write
Teaching fungi how to write
Spalted wood is a highly sought-after material in the high-end furniture industry. In a newly developed process, scientists have succeeded at controlling the spread of fungi in native wood types to create elaborate marblewood pictures - and even taught the fungi to write some words. Fine black lines spread elegantly across the clock face made from pale, fine-grained timber of ash, beech and maple.

Physics - Materials Science - 10.11.2021
New imaging method gives live glimpse into how cells work
New imaging method gives live glimpse into how cells work
By combining two microscopy methods, researchers are able to see what is happening inside a cell and on its membrane simultaneously, giving unprecedented insight into the cellular processes that occur during infection, for example. Cells are the fundamental component of living organisms and play host to a number of complex biological phenomena.

Physics - Materials Science - 14.10.2021
Exotic magnetic states in miniature dimensions
Exotic magnetic states in miniature dimensions
Led by scientists at Empa and the International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory, an international team of researchers from Switzerland, Portugal, Germany, and Spain have succeeded in building carbon-based quantum spin chains, where they captured the emergence of one of the cornerstone models of quantum magnetism first proposed by the 2016 Nobel laureate F. D.
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