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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.

Physics - Materials Science - 19.07.2019
Better thermal conductivity by adjusting the arrangement of atoms
Better thermal conductivity by adjusting the arrangement of atoms
Adjusting the thermal conductivity of materials is one of the challenges nanoscience is currently facing. Together with colleagues from the Netherlands and Spain, researchers from the University of Basel have shown that the atomic vibrations that determine heat generation in nanowires can be controlled through the arrangement of atoms alone.

Physics - 12.07.2019
Weyl fermions discovered in another class of materials
A particular kind of elementary particle, the Weyl fermions, were first discovered a few years ago. Their specialty: They move through a material in a well ordered manner that practically never lets them collide with each other and is thus very energy efficient. This implies intriguing possibilities for the electronics of the future.

Physics - Electroengineering - 09.07.2019
On-demand control of terahertz and infrared waves
On-demand control of terahertz and infrared waves
Researchers from the University of Geneva and the University of Manchester have confirmed experimentally the theory of very strong magneto-optical resonance in graphene. The ability to control infrared and terahertz waves using magnetic or electric fields is one of the great challenges in physics that could revolutionise opto-electronics, telecommunications and medical diagnostics.

Physics - Mathematics - 05.07.2019
Simulating quantum systems with neural networks
Simulating quantum systems with neural networks
A new computational method, based on neural networks, can simulate open quantum systems with unprecedented versatility. The method was independently developed by physicists at EPFL, France, the UK, and the US, and is published in Physical Review Letters. Even on the scale of everyday life, nature is governed by the laws of quantum physics.

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.

Life Sciences - Physics - 10.06.2019
New method reveals principles of chromatin folding in vivo
New method reveals principles of chromatin folding in vivo
Characterizing chromosome structure is fundamental to a better understanding of gene expression. Current experimental methods helped to build mechanistic models of chromosome folding, however they could not be formally validated so far by independent techniques. This is what the Giorgetti group just did - thanks to a new method they developed to measure chromosome structure quantitatively in living cells.

Materials Science - Physics - 04.06.2019
New material with magnetic shape memory
New material with magnetic shape memory
Researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI and ETH Zurich have developed a new material whose shape memory is activated by magnetism. It retains a given shape when it is put into a magnetic field. It is a composite material consisting of two components. What is special about the new material is that, unlike previous shape-memory materials, it consists of a polymer and droplets of a so-called magnetorheological fluid embedded in it.

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.

Life Sciences - Physics - 30.05.2019
A new mechanism for accessing damaged DNA
A new mechanism for accessing damaged DNA
UV light damages the DNA of skin cells, which can lead to skin cancer. But this process is counteracted by the DNA repair machinery, acting as a molecular sunscreen. It has been unclear, however, how repair proteins work on DNA tightly packed in chromatin, where access to DNA damage is restricted by protein packaging.

Physics - Mathematics - 28.05.2019
Researchers crack an enduring physics enigma
Researchers crack an enduring physics enigma
Researchers from EPFL have found the mechanism that lies behind a mysterious physics phenomenon in fluid mechanics: the fact that turbulence in fluids spontaneously self-organizes into parallel patterns of oblique turbulent bands - an example of order emerging spontaneously from chaos. In so doing, they solved a problem that had stumped generations of physicists.

Physics - 27.05.2019
A new theory of thermal conductivity
A new theory of thermal conductivity
Researchers have developed a new theory for heat conduction that can finally describe and predict the thermal conductivity of any insulating material. This new formulation will let scientists make accurate predictions of thermal conductivity in a range of materials for critical engineering applications - from electronics to lasers to waste-heat recovery.

Materials Science - Physics - 23.05.2019
Producing electricity at estuaries using light and osmosis
Producing electricity at estuaries using light and osmosis
Researchers at EPFL are working on a technology to exploit osmotic energy - a source of power that's naturally available at estuaries, where fresh water comes into contact with seawater. In a laboratory experiment, the team reproduced the real-world conditions that occur where rivers meet the sea (pH and salt concentration) and showed that, by shining light on a system comprising salt, water and a membrane three atoms thick, it was possible to optimize electricity production.

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 - Physics - 09.05.2019
Cancer cells can communicate over longer distances within the body
Cancer cells can communicate over longer distances within the body
EPFL researchers have discovered that cancer cells use exosomes to communicate with each other and send information through the bloodstream. This breakthrough opens up new possibilities for the use of cancer immunotherapy techniques. "It was a huge surprise, we didn't expect to find so many melanoma cancer cell markers in blood exosomes," explains Hubert Girault, who heads up the Laboratory of Physical and Analytical Electrochemistry at EPFL Valais Wallis.

Physics - Materials Science - 07.05.2019
New material also reveals new quasiparticles
New material also reveals new quasiparticles
Researchers at PSI have investigated a novel crystalline material that exhibits electronic properties that have never been seen before. It is a crystal of aluminum and platinum atoms arranged in a special way. In the symmetrically repeating unit cells of this crystal, individual atoms were offset from each other in such a way that they - as connected in the mind's eye - followed the shape of a spiral staircase.

Physics - 07.05.2019
Twisting whirlpools of electrons
Twisting whirlpools of electrons
Using a novel approach, EPFL physicists have been able to create ultrafast electron vortex beams, with significant implications for fundamental physics, quantum computing, future data-storage and even certain medical treatments. In Jules Verne's famous classic Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea , the iconic submarine Nautilus disappears into the Moskenstraumen, a massive whirlpool off the coast of Norway.

Physics - 03.05.2019
First demonstration of antimatter wave interferometry
An international collaboration with participation of the University of Bern has demonstrated for the first time in an interference experiment that antimatter particles also behave as waves besides having particle properties. This success paves the way to a new field of investigations of antimatter. Matter waves constitute a crucial feature of quantum mechanics, where particles have wave properties in addition to particle characteristics.

Physics - 03.05.2019
New holographic technique opens the way for quantum computation
EPFL physicists have developed a method based on the principles of holograms to capture 3D images of objects beyond the reach of light. Photography measures how much light of different color hits the photographic film. However, light is also a wave, and is therefore characterized by the phase. Phase specifies the position of a point within the wave cycle and correlates to depth of information, meaning that recording the phase of light scattered by an object can retrieve its full 3D shape, which cannot be obtained with a simple photograph.

Materials Science - Physics - 02.05.2019
Watching concrete explode
Watching concrete explode
Even if concrete is not flammable, it can be hazardous in tunnel fires: high-performance concrete can explode at high temperatures. Although the phenomenon is well known, the physics behind it have not yet been fully understood. Empa researchers have now made the processes inside concrete visible for the first time using real-time-neutron radiography and tomography.
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