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Environment - Materials Science - 18.07.2024
Bridging the 'Valley of Death' in carbon capture
Bridging the ’Valley of Death’ in carbon capture
Developed at EPFL, Heriot-Watt University, and ETH Zurich, PrISMa is a new platform that uses advanced simulations and machine learning to streamline carbon capture technologies, by taking into account the perspectives of diverse stakeholders early in the research process. Mitigating the effects of climate change has become a major focus worldwide, with countries and international organizations developing various strategies to address the problem.

Physics - Materials Science - 08.07.2024
New method for determining the exchange energy of 2D materials
New method for determining the exchange energy of 2D materials
Researchers from the University of Basel have looked at how the ferromagnetic properties of electrons in the two-dimensional semiconductor molybdenum disulfide can be better understood. They revealed a surprisingly simple way of measuring the energy needed to flip an electron spin. Ferromagnetism is an important physical phenomenon that plays a key role in many technologies.

Materials Science - Chemistry - 05.07.2024
Innovative battery design: more energy and less environmental impact
Innovative battery design: more energy and less environmental impact
A new electrolyte design for lithium metal batteries could significantly boost the range of electric vehicles. Researchers at ETH Zurich have radically reduced the amount of environmentally harmful fluorine required to stabilise these batteries. Lithium metal batteries are among the most promising candidates of the next generation of high-energy batteries.

Materials Science - Chemistry - 25.06.2024
Gold membrane coaxes secrets out of surfaces
Gold membrane coaxes secrets out of surfaces
Using a special wafer-thin gold membrane, researchers have made it significantly easier to study surfaces. The membrane makes it possible to measure properties of surfaces that are inaccessible to conventional methods. "Surfaces were invented by the devil" - this quote is attributed to the theoretical physicist Wolfgang Pauli, who taught at ETH Zurich for many years and in 1945 received the Nobel Prize in physics for his contributions to quantum mechanics.

Microtechnics - Materials Science - 14.06.2024
Robots au chocolat for dessert?
Robots au chocolat for dessert?
A fully edible robot could soon end up on our plate if we overcome some technical hurdles, say scientists involved in RoboFood - an project which aims to marry robots and food. Robots and food have long been distant worlds: Robots are inorganic, bulky, and non-disposable; food is organic, soft, and biodegradable.

Chemistry - Materials Science - 20.05.2024
Machine learning accelerates discovery of solar-cell perovskites
Machine learning accelerates discovery of solar-cell perovskites
An EPFL research project has developed a method based on machine-learning to quickly and accurately search large databases, leading to the discovery of 14 new materials for solar cells. As we integrate solar energy into our daily lives, it has become important to find materials that efficiently convert sunlight into electricity.

Physics - Materials Science - 13.05.2024
Electron vortices in graphene detected
Electron vortices in graphene detected
Researchers at ETH Zurich have, for the first time, made visible how electrons form vortices in a material at room temperature. Their experiment used a quantum sensing microscope with an extremely high resolution. When an ordinary electrical conductor - such as a metal wire - is connected to a battery, the electrons in the conductor are accelerated by the electric field created by the battery.

Physics - Materials Science - 08.05.2024
Solving physics puzzles with coloured dots
Solving physics puzzles with coloured dots
By analysing images made of coloured dots created by quantum simulators, researchers have studied a special kind of magnetism. In the future this method could also be used to solve other physics puzzles, for instance in superconductivity. Up close it looks like lots of coloured dots, but from a distance one sees a complex picture rich in detail: Using the technique of pointillism, in 1886 George Seurat created the masterpiece ,,A Sunday afternoon on the island of La Grande Jatte".

Physics - Materials Science - 19.04.2024
Energy scientists unravel the mystery of gold's glow
Energy scientists unravel the mystery of gold's glow
Researchers have developed the first comprehensive model of the quantum-mechanical effects behind photoluminescence in thin gold films; a discovery that could drive the development of solar fuels and batteries. Luminescence, or the emission of photons by a substance exposed to light, has been known to occur in semiconductor materials like silicon for hundreds of years.

Microtechnics - Materials Science - 18.04.2024
An ink for 3D-printing flexible devices without mechanical joints
An ink for 3D-printing flexible devices without mechanical joints
Researchers are targeting the next generation of soft actuators and robots with an elastomer-based ink for 3D printing objects with locally changing mechanical properties, eliminating the need for cumbersome mechanical joints. For engineers working on soft robotics or wearable devices, keeping things light is a constant challenge: heavier materials require more energy to move around, and - in the case of wearables or prostheses - cause discomfort.

Materials Science - Health - 16.04.2024
Finally friendly fibers
Finally friendly fibers
Rain jackets, swimming trunks or upholstery fabrics: Textiles with water-repellent properties require chemical impregnation. Although fluorine-containing PFAS chemicals are effective, they are also harmful to human health and accumulate in the environment. researchers are now developing a process with alternative substances that can be used to produce environmentally friendly water-repellent textile fibers.

Materials Science - Innovation - 04.04.2024
Airy cellulose from a 3D printer
Airy cellulose from a 3D printer
Ultra-light, thermally insulating and biodegradable: Cellulose-based aerogels are versatile. researchers have succeeded in 3D printing the natural material into complex shapes that could one day serve as precision insulation in microelectronics or as personalized medical implants. At first glance, biodegradable materials, inks for 3D printing and aerogels don't seem to have much in common.

Materials Science - 28.03.2024
3D images reveal link between crack complexity and material toughness
3D images reveal link between crack complexity and material toughness
By capturing a rare glimpse into three-dimensional crack formation in brittle solids, researchers have found that complex cracks require more energy to advance than simple ones; a discovery that could improve materials testing and development. The last time you dropped a favorite mug or sat on your glasses, you may have been too preoccupied to take much notice of the intricate pattern of cracks that appeared in the broken object.

Chemistry - Materials Science - 06.03.2024
Quest for materials with defects
Quest for materials with defects
Is it possible to convert CO2 back to fuels or other useful chemicals? Absolutely - but not in a very targeted way just yet. Empa researcher Alessandro Senocrate is looking at defects in materials that will help us achieve this goal. Can we undo the burning of oil, gas and coal? With a renewable source of electricity, some water and a suitable catalyst, the excess CO2 in the atmosphere could become a resource, for example for the production of synthetic fuels, so-called synfuels.

Materials Science - Innovation - 01.03.2024
Turning waste into gold
Turning waste into gold
Researchers have recovered the precious metal from electronic waste. Their highly sustainable new method is based on a protein fibril sponge, which the scientists derive from whey, a food industry byproduct. Transforming base materials into gold was one of the elusive goals of the alchemists of yore.

Materials Science - Innovation - 09.02.2024
Innovative coating prevents limescale formation
Innovative coating prevents limescale formation
Wherever hot water flows, limescale is never far away. In households, this is a nuisance; in thermal power stations, it's an expensive problem. Now researchers at ETH Zurich have found an answer. Hot water tanks, washing machines, kettles: limescale forms in every domestic appliance that comes into contact with (hot) water - especially in areas where the water is hard, meaning high in calcium.

Materials Science - 08.02.2024
When nanoplastics are not what they seem
When nanoplastics are not what they seem
Textiles made of synthetic fibers release microand nanoplastics during washing. researchers have now been able to show: Some of the supposed nanoplastics do not actually consist of plastic particles, but of water-insoluble oligomers. The effects they have on humans and the environment are not yet well-understood.

Materials Science - Innovation - 29.01.2024
Sound-powered sensors stand to save millions of batteries
Sound-powered sensors stand to save millions of batteries
Researchers at ETH Zurich have developed a sensor that utilises energy from sound waves to control electronic devices. This could one day save millions of batteries. Sensors that monitor infrastructure, such as bridges or buildings, or are used in medical devices, such as prostheses for the deaf, require a constant supply of power.

Health - Materials Science - 16.01.2024
Soldering wounds with light and nano thermometers
Soldering wounds with light and nano thermometers
Not every wound can be closed with needle and thread. researchers have now developed a soldering process with nanoparticles that gently fuses tissue. The soldering technique is expected to prevent wound healing disorders and life-threatening complications from leaking sutures. The team recently published the promising method in the journal Small Methods and applied for a patent.

Physics - Materials Science - 11.01.2024
Laser additive manufacturing: listening for defects as they happen
Laser additive manufacturing: listening for defects as they happen
Researchers from EPFL have resolved a long-standing debate surrounding laser additive manufacturing processes with a pioneering approach to defect detection. The progression of laser additive manufacturing - which involves 3D printing of metallic objects using powders and lasers - has often been hindered by unexpected defects.
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