news from the lab 2017


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Physics/Materials Science
27.04.2017
Light can improve perovskite solar cell performance
Light can improve perovskite solar cell performance
Publishing in Nature, EPFL scientists show how light affects perovskite film formation in solar cells, which is a critical factor in using them for cost-effective and energy-efficient photovoltaics.  Perovskites are materials of immense interest in solar energy technology lately, as they promise to bring down the cost of solar cells to very low levels.
Life Sciences - Medicine/Pharmacology
26.04.2017
Novel Antibiotic Resistance gene in Milk
Novel Antibiotic Resistance gene in Milk
Media releases, information for representatives of the media Media Relations (E) Researchers of the University of Bern have identified a new antibiotic resistance gene in bacteria from dairy cows. This gene confers resistance to all beta-lactam antibiotics including the last generation of cephalosporins used against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.
Physics/Materials Science - Chemistry
26.04.2017
Caught in the act
Caught in the act
As of October 2017, newly launched car models will have to pass more stringent exhaust gas tests in the EU and in Switzerland. The new test method includes measuring drives in actual traf-fic. Empa already tested currently available cars with the new method - with alarming results. By now, it's no secret: the certification requirements for cars in the EU and in Switzerland have precious little to do with the cars' actual exhaust emissions on the roads.
Microtechnics/Electroengineering
26.04.2017
A new sensor increases smartwatch battery life five times
A new sensor increases smartwatch battery life five times
Nearly 80% of the battery power in smartwatches is used up by the heart-rate monitor. But a new generation of sensors developed by EPFL startup ActLight consumes five times less energy.
Physics/Materials Science
25.04.2017
A simplified fabrication process for high efficiency solar cells
A simplified fabrication process for high efficiency solar cells
A team of EPFL and CSEM researchers in Neuchâtel has featured in Nature Energy with an astonishing new method for the creation of crystalline solar cells. These cells have electrical contacts at the back, which removes all shadowing at the front. Thanks to this new inexpensive approach, the fabrication process is greatly simplified, with efficiencies in the laboratory already surpassing 23%.
Life Sciences
25.04.2017
A novel form of iron for fortification of foods
A novel form of iron for fortification of foods
Whey protein nanofibrils loaded with iron nanoparticles: ETH researchers are developing a new and highly effective way of fortifying iron into food and drinks.
Environment/Sustainable Development - Earth Sciences
24.04.2017
Little Ice Age displaced the tropical rain belt
Little Ice Age displaced the tropical rain belt
Even small changes in global temperature can trigger a migration of the tropical rain belt. This can also lead to climate change, as described by a team of researchers from ETH Zurich and other universities. The tropical rain belt, also known as the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ), is in a state of constant migration.
Life Sciences
20.04.2017
Cameras can reveal images that are hidden to the naked eye
Cameras can reveal images that are hidden to the naked eye
EPFL researchers took advantage of the limits of human vision to hide an image in a video. The image is invisible to the human eye, but not to a camera. Human visual perception works well and is very effective at seeing what's important to us. But our eyes are not capable of analyzing video images that last longer than 40 milliseconds.
Physics/Materials Science - Chemistry
19.04.2017
Gelatine instead of forearm
Gelatine instead of forearm
The characteristics of human skin are heavily dependent on the hydration of the tissue - in simple terms, the water content.
Chemistry
19.04.2017
Nanoparticles remain unpredictable
Nanoparticles remain unpredictable
The way that nanoparticles behave in the environment is extremely complex. There is currently a lack of systematic experimental data to help understand them comprehensively, as ETH environmental scientists have shown in a large overview study. A more standardised approach would help to advance the research field.
Physics/Materials Science - Microtechnics/Electroengineering
13.04.2017
Shedding light on the absorption of light by titanium dioxide
Shedding light on the absorption of light by titanium dioxide
EPFL scientists have uncovered the hidden properties of titanium dioxide, one of the most promising materials for light-conversion technology. Figure Caption : Lattice structure of anatase TiO 2 with a graphical representation of the 2D exciton that is generated by the absorption of light (purple wavy arrow).
Medicine/Pharmacology
12.04.2017
Targeting blood vessels to improve cancer immunotherapy
Targeting blood vessels to improve cancer immunotherapy
EPFL scientists have improved the efficacy of cancer immunotherapy by blocking two proteins that regulate the growth of tumor blood vessels. Cancer immunotherapy aims to enhance or restore the ability of the patient's immune system - namely T'cells - to recognize and attack cancer. But tumors use several strategies to fight back immune attacks, making immunotherapy efficacious only in a minority of the patients.
Business/Economics - Environment/Sustainable Development
11.04.2017
Assessing the impact of climate risks on the financial system
Assessing the impact of climate risks on the financial system
In the wake of 2015 Climate Paris Agreements to limit global temperature below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, many governmental and private stakeholders have advocated for the introduction of policies to mitigate climate change.
Medicine/Pharmacology
10.04.2017
Medically monitoring premature babies with cameras
Medically monitoring premature babies with cameras
Researchers at EPFL and CSEM have developed a contactless and wireless camera system to continuously monitor the vital signs of premature babies. This system could replace skin sensors, which cause false alarms nearly 90% of the time. Preliminary tests will soon be carried out on newborns at University Hospital Zurich, a partner in the project.
Life Sciences
10.04.2017
Brain stimulation influences honest behavior
Brain stimulation influences honest behavior
Honesty plays a key role in social and economic life. Without honesty, promises are not kept, contracts are not enforced, taxes remain unpaid. Despite the importance of honesty for society, its biological basis remains poorly understood. Researchers at the University of Zurich, together with colleagues from Chicago and Boston, now show that honest behavior can be increased by means of non-invasive brain stimulation.
Civil Engineering/Traffic Engineering - Architecture
10.04.2017
Modern construction using long-forgotten techniques
Modern construction using long-forgotten techniques
Researchers at ETH Zurich's Department of Architecture (D-ARCH) have developed a concrete floor system that does not require steel reinforcement and is 70 percent lighter than conventional concrete floors.
Business/Economics
07.04.2017
Physics/Materials Science - Computer Science/Telecom
06.04.2017
Unraveling the mystery of snowflakes, from the Alps to Antarctica
Unraveling the mystery of snowflakes, from the Alps to Antarctica
Using a special multi-angle camera, EPFL researchers have gained important insights into the structure of snowflakes. Their aim is to improve the accuracy of snowfall measurements and winter weather forecasts. Imagine taking pictures of thousands of snowflakes from three different angles with a specialized instrument installed at an altitude of 2,500 meters.
Environment/Sustainable Development
06.04.2017
Control pest fungi in an environmentally
Control pest fungi in an environmentally
The St. Gallen-based Empa biotech spin-off, MycoSolutions AG, has developed a new fungal product that improves the soil and controls pest fungi in an environmentally friendly way. Wooden poles remain in use much longer, leading to cost savings of millions for operators. A "Proof-of-Concept" is now available for the integrated wood preservation method.
Careers/Employment
05.04.2017
A more secure biometric authentication system
A more secure biometric authentication system
EPFL's Security and Cryptography Laboratory joined forces with startup Global ID to develop an encryption technique for processing biometric data captured via 3D finger vein recognition - a system that's next to impossible to counterfeit.
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