news from the lab 2017

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Physics/Materials Science



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Physics/Materials Science - Computer Science/Telecom
16.11.2017
The stacked colour sensor
The stacked colour sensor
Red-sensitive, blue-sensitive and green-sensitive colour sensors stacked on top of each other instead of being lined up in a mosaic pattern - this principle could allow image sensors with unprecedented resolution and sensitivity to light to be created.
Physics/Materials Science - Astronomy
15.11.2017
Still no sign of dark matter
Still no sign of dark matter
Measurements at the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI further constrain theories about the nature of dark matter Experts are largely in agreement that a major portion of the mass in the universe consists of so-called dark matter. Its nature, however, remains completely obscure. One kind of hypothetical elementary particle that might make up the dark matter is the so-called axion.
Microtechnics/Electroengineering - Physics/Materials Science
10.11.2017
A rubber power station
A rubber power station
Researchers from Empa have developed a flexible material that generates electricity when stressed. In future, it might be used as a sensor, integrated into clothing or even implanted in the human body, for instance, to power a pacemaker.
Physics/Materials Science - Business/Economics
08.11.2017
A new bio-robot
A new bio-robot
With a new method for modifying antibodies, drugs are developped showing more stability and, thus, having fewer side-effects. At the time Spycher, a postdoctoral radiopharmaceutical researcher at the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI, was concerned with the question of how active agents could be bound to antibodies more efficiently.
Physics/Materials Science - Mechanical Engineering/Mechanics
08.11.2017
Liquid shock absorbers
Liquid shock absorbers
Researchers have determined how certain liquids stiffen in response to powerful impacts. At first glance, colloids resemble homogeneous liquids such as milk or blood plasma. But in fact they consist of particles in suspension. Some colloids have remarkable properties: they may stiffen following an impact and absorb surface shocks.
Physics/Materials Science - Medicine/Pharmacology
31.10.2017
Illuminated pajamas treat newborns
Illuminated pajamas treat newborns
Babies who suffer from jaundice after birth are treated with shortwave light. Empa researchers have now developed illuminated pajamas that replace the treatment in an incubator.
Arts and Design - Physics/Materials Science
19.10.2017
As black as ebony
As black as ebony
Like many tropical wood types, ebony is an endangered species that is tricky to use, such in in-strument manufacturing.
Physics/Materials Science
12.10.2017
Self-healing materials inspired by plants
Self-healing materials inspired by plants
Scientists have studied how the flax plant heals itself after it has been wounded. They measured changes in the plant's mechanical properties, like stiffness and damping, and examined the plant's self-repair mechanisms. Because natural fibers are being increasingly used to make composite materials, understanding how such mechanisms work can help scientists develop self-healing materials with better performance, drawing on methods inspired by nature.
Physics/Materials Science - Chemistry
26.09.2017
New synthesis boosts commercialization
New synthesis boosts commercialization
Chemists from Empa have developed and patented an environmentally friendly way to produce flame retardants for foams that can be used in mattresses and upholstery.
Chemistry - Physics/Materials Science
26.09.2017
Atmosphere in X-ray light
Atmosphere in X-ray light
Light from the particle accelerator helps to understand ozone decomposition A new experimental chamber coupled to the Swiss Light Source (SLS), a large-scale research facility of the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI, allows researchers to recreate atmospheric processes in the laboratory through unprecedented precision analysis involving X-rays.
Physics/Materials Science - Life Sciences
07.09.2017
New microscopy method offers one-shot 3D imaging of nanostructures
New microscopy method offers one-shot 3D imaging of nanostructures
EPFL scientists have developed a scanning transmission electron microscopy method that can quickly and efficiently generate 3D representations of curvilinear nanostructures. Image caption: Superposed, tilt-less electron microscopy stereo image (color-filtered) of carbon nanospheres decorated with nanoparticles.
Physics/Materials Science - Chemistry
04.09.2017
Carving diamonds for optical components
Carving diamonds for optical components
Thanks to a new technique developed at EPFL, optical diffraction gratings can now be made out of pure diamond, with their surfaces smoothed down to the very last atom. These new devices can be used to alter the wavelength of high-powered lasers or in cutting-edge spectrographs. A team of EPFL researchers has developed an unconventional way of microscopically cutting diamonds into a particular shape and smoothing them at an atomic level.
Chemistry - Physics/Materials Science
25.08.2017
More inflexible than imagined
More inflexible than imagined
Oligosaccharides - chains of sugar building blocks - are essential for biological cells. Scientists had thought that these molecules were freely mobile, but an international research team has now shown that such sugar molecules can form rigid structures, previously found only in DNA and proteins. Oligosaccharides - chains of sugar building blocks - are some of the most important molecules in living creatures.
Chemistry - Physics/Materials Science
21.08.2017
Weaving with nanothreads
Weaving with nanothreads
For the first time, ETH researchers have succeeded in applying a millennia-old method for making fabrics to create a completely organic nanoweave.
Computer Science/Telecom - Physics/Materials Science
14.08.2017
The right order
The right order
Ingo Scholtes from the Chair of Systems Design has developed an analytical method that takes account of the chronological order of connections within networks. This not only makes it possible to more accurately identify links between topics on the internet, but also makes it easier to predict the spread of epidemics, for example.
Physics/Materials Science
10.08.2017
Fertility app for parents-to-be
Fertility app for parents-to-be
Since January 2017 a sensor wristband that, according to the manufacturer, is capable of detecting a woman's fertile days in her cycle with 89 percent certainty has been on the market.
Physics/Materials Science - Medicine/Pharmacology
07.08.2017
Big issues around small particles
Big issues around small particles
An Empa team has succeeded in developing a new three-dimensional cell model of the human placental barrier. The "model organ" can quickly and reliably deliver new information on the intake of substances, such as nano-particles, by the placental barrier and on any possible toxic effects for the unborn child.
Physics/Materials Science - Chemistry
04.08.2017
Building a graphene-based nanotube biosensor
Building a graphene-based nanotube biosensor
Summer Series: Edward Honein has joined EPFL's Laboratory of Nanobiotechnology from the American University of Beirut.
Physics/Materials Science - Chemistry
31.07.2017
Clarifiying complex chemical processes with quantum computers
Clarifiying complex chemical processes with quantum computers
Science and the IT industry have high hopes for quantum computing, but descriptions of possible applications tend to be vague. Researchers at ETH Zurich have now come up with a concrete example that demonstrates what quantum computers will actually be able to achieve in the future. Specialists expect nothing less than a technological revolution from quantum computers, which they hope will soon allow them to solve problems that are currently too complex for classical supercomputers.
Physics/Materials Science
20.07.2017
Diving into magnets
Diving into magnets
First-time 3D imaging of internal magnetic patterns Magnets are found in motors, in energy production and in data storage. A deeper understanding of the basic properties of magnetic materials could therefore impact our everyday technology. A study by Scientists at the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI in Switzerland, the ETH Zurich and the University of Glasgow has the potential to further this understanding.
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