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Physics - Materials Science - 12.10.2020
Well-formed disorder for versatile light technologies
Well-formed disorder for versatile light technologies
Researchers at ETH have managed to make an efficient material for broadband frequency doubling of light using microspheres made of disordered nanocrystals. The crucial idea for the method arose during a coffee break. In the future, the new approach could be used in lasers and other light technologies.

Materials Science - Physics - 09.10.2020
Modeling eternity in the rock laboratory
Modeling eternity in the rock laboratory
Cement is one of the key materials for the safe storage of radioactive waste. What is needed is an almost infinite durability of the containers. Empa researchers are therefore analyzing material systems that can handle this task. Exploratory tunnel in the Mont Terri international rock laboratory. Since 1996, rock formations that could play a role in the storage of radioactive waste have been investigated here.

Materials Science - Physics - 05.10.2020
Lego-like assembly of zeolitic membranes improves carbon capture
Lego-like assembly of zeolitic membranes improves carbon capture
EPFL chemical engineers have developed a new way to manufacture zeolitic membranes, state-of-the-art materials used for gas separation in harsh conditions. Zeolites are porous minerals that occur both naturally but also are being synthesized artificially. Because they are stable and durable, zeolites are used for chemical catalysis, purification of gases and liquids, and even in medical applications such as drug delivery and blood-clotting powders, e.g. the QuickClot trauma bandages used in the US military.

Physics - 02.10.2020
Microcomb-injected pulsed lasers as variable microwave gears
Microcomb-injected pulsed lasers as variable microwave gears
Optical frequency combs can link frequencies in the microwave domain to high-purity laser emissions, yielding unprecedented precision in time-keeping and metrology. Now EPFL scientists and their colleagues have generated variable low-noise microwave signals by building variable microwave gears with two compact optical frequency combs.

Environment - Physics - 01.10.2020
Climate: Iodic acid influences cloud formation at the North Pole
Climate: Iodic acid influences cloud formation at the North Pole
An international team of scientists from EPFL, the Paul Scherrer Institute and Stockholm University has identified a novel driver of new aerosol particle formation in the Arctic during the summer to fall transition. The authors show that iodic acid is important for forming new particles which subsequently influence the formation of clouds and their radiative effect over the Arctic pack ice.

Physics - Materials Science - 23.09.2020
Nanostructures with a unique property
Nanostructures with a unique property
Nanoscale vortices known as skyrmions can be created in many magnetic materials. For the first time, researchers at PSI have managed to create and identify antiferromagnetic skyrmions with a unique property: critical elements inside them are arranged in opposing directions. Scientists have succeeded in visualising this phenomenon using neutron scattering.

Physics - Electroengineering - 22.09.2020
Customising an electronic material
Customising an electronic material
Scientists have gained a fundamental understanding of a highly promising material that could be suited to future data storage applications. Their experiments with strontium-iridium oxide, Sr2IrO 4 , investigated both the magnetic and electronic properties of the material as a thin film. They also analysed how these properties can be systematically controlled by manipulating the films.

Astronomy / Space Science - Physics - 21.09.2020
Comet Chury's ultraviolet aurora
Comet Chury’s ultraviolet aurora
On Earth, auroras, also called northern lights, have always fascinated people. An international consortium involving the University of Bern has now discovered such auroras in the ultraviolet wavelength range at comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, Chury for short. This phenomenon was detected thanks to the analysis of data from the European Space Agency ESA's Rosetta mission.

Physics - Chemistry - 17.09.2020
Lighting the way to infrared detection
Lighting the way to infrared detection
Physicists propose a new path to detect infrared radiation with outstanding sensitivity, allowing detection of signals as low as that of a single quantum of light. When using our webcam or cell phone camera, we experience the tremendous capabilities of cheap and compact sensors developed in the past decades for the visible region of the electromagnetic spectrum.

Earth Sciences - Physics - 17.09.2020
Detaching and uplifting, not bulldozing
Detaching and uplifting, not bulldozing
Researchers have used a computer model to test a new hypothesis about the formation of the Alps while simulating seismic activity in Switzerland. This will help improve current earthquake risk models. For a long time, geoscientists have assumed that the Alps were formed when the Adriatic plate from the south collided with the Eurasian plate in the north.

Computer Science - Physics - 09.09.2020
Artificial intelligence explains hydrogen's behavior on giant planets
Artificial intelligence explains hydrogen's behavior on giant planets
Using computer simulations powered by machine-learning algorithms EPFL scientists have made an important breakthrough in understanding how hydrogen behaves on Saturn and Jupiter. The giant planets in our solar system are made mainly of hydrogen, mostly in a liquid state. Near the planets- surface, hydrogen exists in an insulating, molecular form - H2 - but closer to the center, it takes on a metallic form where individual atoms can move around freely.

Physics - Electroengineering - 07.09.2020
A tiny instrument to measure the faintest magnetic fields
A tiny instrument to measure the faintest magnetic fields
Physicists at the University of Basel have developed a minuscule instrument able to detect extremely faint magnetic fields. At the heart of the superconducting quantum interference device are two atomically thin layers of graphene, which the researchers combined with boron nitride. Instruments like this one have applications in areas such as medicine, besides being used to research new materials.

Physics - Electroengineering - 07.09.2020
Reconfiguring microwave photonic filters without an external device
Reconfiguring microwave photonic filters without an external device
Researchers from EPFL's Photonics Systems Lab have come up with a way of reconfiguring microwave photonic filters without the need for an external device. This paves the way for more compact, environmentally friendly filters that will be more practical and cheaper to use. Potential applications include detection and communications systems.

Astronomy / Space Science - Physics - 04.09.2020
Surprise on Mars
Surprise on Mars
NASA's InSight mission provides data from the surface of Mars. Its seismometer, equipped with electronics built at ETH Zurich, not only records marsquakes, but unexpectedly reacts to solar eclipses as well. When the Martian moon, Phobos moves directly in front of the sun, the instrument tips slightly to one side.

Physics - Chemistry - 04.09.2020
A step towards a better understanding of molecular dynamics
A step towards a better understanding of molecular dynamics
Researchers, working at the boundary between classical and quantum physics, have developed a method for quickly spotting molecules with particularly interesting electron properties. Laser technology is giving scientists an ever-closer look into molecular structures, and this sometimes leads to very interesting surprises.

Life Sciences - Physics - 31.08.2020
A universal structural deformation in all heme proteins
Chemists and physicists from Switzerland and Germany have shown that the typical deformation of respiratory heme proteins also occurs in heme proteins not involved in the respiratory function. Image: A model of heme, which is an organic ring molecule surrounding an atom of iron and is a major component of hemoglobin in red blood cells.

Chemistry - Physics - 24.08.2020
Fuel cells for hydrogen vehicles are becoming longer lasting
Fuel cells for hydrogen vehicles are becoming longer lasting
An international research team led by the University of Bern has succeeded in developing an electrocatalyst for hydrogen fuel cells which, in contrast to the catalysts commonly used today, does not require a carbon carrier and is therefore much more stable. The new process is industrially applicable and can be used to further optimize fuel cell powered vehicles without CO2 emissions.

Chemistry - Physics - 20.08.2020
Electron movements in liquid measured in super-slow motion
Electron movements in liquid measured in super-slow motion
Electrons are able to move within molecules, for example when they are excited from outside or in the course of a chemical reaction. For the first time, scientists have now succeeded in studying the first few dozen attoseconds of this electron movement in a liquid. To understand how chemical reactions begin, chemists have been using super-slow motion experiments for years to study the very first moments of a reaction.

Astronomy / Space Science - Physics - 20.08.2020

The discovery of the first galaxy emitting "extreme" ultraviolet radiation could help to better understand how the cosmic era known as the "Dark Ages" came to an end more than 13 billion years ago. Thanks to the Indian satellite AstroSat, an international team, including astronomers from the University of Geneva, has detected the first galaxy, called AUDFs01, emitting "extreme" ultraviolet radiation, i.e. highly energetic (with a wavelength of about 60 nanometres, or billionths of a metre).

Chemistry - Physics - 18.08.2020
Unraveling the initial molecular events of respiration
Unraveling the initial molecular events of respiration
Physicists from Switzerland, Japan and Germany have unveiled the mechanism by which the first event of respiration takes place in heme proteins. Respiration is a fundamental process of all living things, allowing them to produce energy, stay healthy, and survive. In cells, respiration involves what are known as "respiratory proteins", e.g. hemoglobin in the blood and myoglobin in muscles.