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Chemistry - Physics - 17.09.2019
A molecular bridge further
A molecular bridge further
Electronics built from molecules could open up new possibilities in the miniaturization of circuits in the future. Empa researchers, together with partners from Switzerland, the Netherlands, Israel, and the UK, succeeded in solving a crucial detail in the realization of such circuit elements: A molecular bridge for electrons that remains mechanically and electronically stable at room temperature.

Chemistry - Innovation / Technology - 16.09.2019
Measuring ethanol's deadly twin
Measuring ethanol’s deadly twin
ETH researchers have developed an inexpensive, handheld measuring device that can distinguish between methanol and potable alcohol. It offers a simple, quick method of detecting adulterated or contaminated alcoholic beverages and is able to diagnose methanol poisoning in exhaled breath. Methanol is sometimes referred to as ethanol's deadly twin.

Physics - Chemistry - 21.08.2019
Graphene nanoflakes: a new tool for precision medicine
Graphene nanoflakes: a new tool for precision medicine
Chemists funded by the SNSF have created a new compound for flexible drug delivery that specifically targets prostate cancer cells. Incorporating four different molecules, the compound prevents tumour cells from multiplying, can be detected by medical imaging and has staying power in the bloodstream.

Chemistry - Environment - 29.07.2019
A catalyst for sustainable methanol
A catalyst for sustainable methanol
Scientists at ETH Zurich and oil and gas company Total have developed a new catalyst that converts CO2 and hydrogen into methanol. Offering realistic market potential, the technology paves the way for the sustainable production of fuels and chemicals. The global economy still relies on the fossil carbon sources of petroleum, natural gas and coal, not just to produce fuel, but also as a raw material used by the chemical industry to manufacture plastics and countless other chemical compounds.

Chemistry - Physics - 23.07.2019
Adding a polymer stabilizes collapsing metal-organic frameworks
Adding a polymer stabilizes collapsing metal-organic frameworks
Porous metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) have many applications like carbon capture and water-cleaning. However, MOFs with large pores tend to collapse. Chemists and chemical engineers at EPFL have now solved the problem by adding small amounts of a polymer into the MOF pores, an act that impedes pore collapse.

Chemistry - Physics - 04.07.2019
Molecular energy machine as a movie star
Molecular energy machine as a movie star
Researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI have used the Swiss Light Source SLS to record a molecular energy machine in action and thus to reveal how energy production at cell membranes works. For this purpose they developed a new investigative method that could make the analysis of cellular processes significantly more effective than before.

Chemistry - Environment - 13.06.2019
Carbon-neutral fuels move a step closer
Carbon-neutral fuels move a step closer
Chemists at EPFL have developed an efficient process for converting carbon dioxide into carbon monoxide, a key ingredient of synthetic fuels and materials. The carbon dioxide (CO2) produced when fossil fuels are burned is normally released into the atmosphere. Researchers working on synthetic fuels - also known as carbon-neutral fuels - are exploring ways to capture and recycle that CO2.

Pharmacology - Chemistry - 11.06.2019
Learning from Nature's Bounty: New Libraries for Drug discovery
Learning from Nature’s Bounty: New Libraries for Drug discovery
Natural products, or their close derivatives, make some of our most potent medicines, among which macrocycles with their large carbon-rich ring systems are one class. The size and complexity of macrocycles has made it difficult to emulate and build on Nature's success in the laboratory.

Environment - Chemistry - 04.06.2019
Floating power plants
Floating power plants
Huge floating solar islands on the ocean that produce enough energy to enable CO2-neutral global freight traffic - what sounds like "science fiction" researchers from ETH Zurich, the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI), Empa, the Universities of Zurich and Bern and the Nowegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim have now calculated for the first time, as they write in the latest issue of the journal "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences" (PNAS).

Physics - Chemistry - 03.06.2019
Exposing modern forgers
Exposing modern forgers
Researchers at ETH Zurich have developed a process that can provide conclusive evidence with regard to modern fakes of paintings, even in cases where the forger recycled older canvases. This verification process requires less than 200 micrograms of paint. Art forgeries have been around since ancient times.

Physics - Chemistry - 22.05.2019
The geometry of an electron determined for the first time
The geometry of an electron determined for the first time
Physicists at the University of Basel are able to show for the first time how a single electron looks in an artificial atom. A newly developed method enables them to show the probability of an electron being present in a space. This allows improved control of electron spins, which could serve as the smallest information unit in a future quantum computer.

Health - Chemistry - 22.05.2019
Shedding light on cancer metabolism in real-time with bioluminescence
Shedding light on cancer metabolism in real-time with bioluminescence
Cancerous tumors can be made to bioluminesce, like fireflies, according to the level of their glucose uptake, giving rise to a technique for quantifying metabolite absorption. The firefly imaging technique for sugar can be translated from cancer to many other metabolic diseases. EPFL scientists have invented a new way to quantify - in real-time - glucose metabolism of cancerous tumors by making them bioluminesce.

Health - Chemistry - 15.05.2019
How your clothes influence the air you breathe
How your clothes influence the air you breathe
Researchers have taken a critical look at how much we really know about our exposure to particles and chemicals transported by our clothing. His study concludes that further research is needed and opens up new areas of investigation. There is growing evidence that our clothing exposes us to particles and chemicals on a daily basis - and that this exposure could carry significant health risks.

Chemistry - Physics - 29.04.2019
Record solar hydrogen production with concentrated sunlight
Record solar hydrogen production with concentrated sunlight
EPFL researchers have created a smart device capable of producing large amounts of clean hydrogen. By concentrating sunlight, their device uses a smaller amount of the rare, costly materials that are required to produce hydrogen, yet it still maintains a high solar-to-fuel efficiency. Their research has been taken to the next scale with a pilot facility installed on the EPFL campus.

Physics - Chemistry - 29.04.2019
Decoupled graphene thanks to potassium bromide
Decoupled graphene thanks to potassium bromide
The use of potassium bromide in the production of graphene on a copper surface can lead to better results. When potassium bromide molecules arrange themselves between graphene and copper, it results in electronic decoupling. This alters the electrical properties of the graphene produced, bringing them closer to pure graphene, as reported by physicists from the universities of Basel, Modena and Munich in the journal ACS Nano.

Life Sciences - Chemistry - 26.04.2019
Bringing information into the cell
Bringing information into the cell
Researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI have elucidated an important part of a siganalling pathway that transmits information through the cell membrane into the interior of a cell. This siganalling pathway is of great significance for all mammals, since it is involved in various important vital processes such as the regulation of the heartbeat.

Life Sciences - Chemistry - 08.04.2019
New biologically derived metal-organic framework mimics DNA
New biologically derived metal-organic framework mimics DNA
Chemical engineers at EPFL have synthesized a biologically-derived metal-organic framework on which the hydrogen bonding that forms the DNA double helix can be mimicked and studied like never before.

Chemistry - Physics - 01.04.2019

Physics - Chemistry - 29.03.2019
A compass pointing West
A compass pointing West
Researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI and ETH Zurich have discovered a special phenomenon of magnetism in the nano range. It enables magnets to be assembled in unusual configurations. This could be used to build computer memories and switches to increase the performance of microprocessors. The results of the work have now been published in the journal Science .

Physics - Chemistry - 20.03.2019
Precision work for large molecules
Precision work for large molecules
Quantum cascade lasers are able to measure the smallest molecules with high precision. But the technology has failed to measure larger gas molecules - until now! Empa researchers have succeeded in quantifying ethanol, an important organic molecule, with the aid of such a laser. In collaboration with the Swiss Federal Institute of Metrology (METAS), a team of researchers has successfully developed a method for determining the concentration of ethanol in a gas mixture with a very high proportion of water vapour and carbon dioxide.