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Materials Science - Physics - 15.07.2020
Using magnetic worms to engineer nanoscale communication systems
Using magnetic worms to engineer nanoscale communication systems
Researchers at EPFL have shown that electromagnetic waves coupled to precisely engineered structures known as artificial ferromagnetic quasicrystals allow for more efficient information transmission and processing at the nanoscale. Their research also represents the first practical demonstration of Conway worms, a theoretical concept for the description of quasicrystals.

Physics - Materials Science - 10.07.2020
Cherned up to the maximum
Cherned up to the maximum
Topological materials are a new class of materials that could enable completely new types of electronic components and superconductors. In topological materials, electrons can behave differently than in conventional materials. The extent of these "exotic" phenomena depends on the so-called Chern number.

Materials Science - 06.07.2020
Outsmarting self-organization
Outsmarting self-organization
Researchers at ETH Zurich have coaxed tiny spheres made of polymer gels into forming complex patterns by themselves through a two-step process. Surfaces with tailor-made optical and mechanical properties could be realized in this way. When retiling the bathroom or the terrace using, for instance, square, rectangular or hexagonal tiles, the result will be a simple and regular pattern - assuming one doesn't make any mistakes.

Materials Science - Electroengineering - 02.07.2020
The lightest shielding material in the world
The lightest shielding material in the world
Researchers have succeeded in applying aerogels to microelectronics: Aerogels based on cellulose nanofibers can effectively shield electromagnetic radiation over a wide frequency range - and they are unrivalled in terms of weight. Electric motors and electronic devices generate electromagnetic fields that sometimes have to be shielded in order not to affect neighboring electronic components or the transmission of signals.

Physics - Materials Science - 25.06.2020
X-ray vision and eavesdropping ensure quality
X-ray vision and eavesdropping ensure quality
With an X-ray experiment at the European Synchrotron ESRF in Grenoble (France), Empa researchers were able to demonstrate how well their real-time acoustic monitoring of laser weld seams works. With almost 90 percent reliability, they detected the formation of unwanted pores that impair the quality of weld seams.

Physics - Materials Science - 24.06.2020
Wavy surfaces for better light control
Wavy surfaces for better light control
Researchers at ETH Zurich have developed a method for the production of wavy surfaces with nanometre precision. In the future this method could be used, for instance, to make optical components for data transmission on the internet even more efficient and compact. The importance of light-based technologies for our society was demonstrated once more in recent weeks.

Chemistry - Materials Science - 23.06.2020
Growing polymers with different lengths
Growing polymers with different lengths
ETH researchers have developed a new method for producing polymers with different lengths. This paves the way for new classes of polymer materials to be used in previously inconceivable applications. It is hard to imagine everyday life without materials made of synthetic polymers. Clothes, car parts, computers or packaging - they all consist of polymer materials.

Physics - Materials Science - 19.06.2020
Researchers cut nanometer-sized patterns into 2D materials
Researchers cut nanometer-sized patterns into 2D materials
EPFL researchers have developed a high-precision technology that enables them to carve nanometric patterns into two-dimensional materials. With their pioneering nanotechnology, EPFL researchers have achieved the impossible. They can now use heat to break the links between atoms with a miniature scalpel.

Life Sciences - Materials Science - 18.06.2020
Nanoresearch without animal experiments
Nanoresearch without animal experiments
In order to reduce the number of animal experiments in research, alternative methods are being sought. This is a particular challenge if the safety of substances that have hardly been studied is to be ensured, for instance, the completely new class of nanomaterials. To accomplish just that, Empa researchers are now combining test tube experiments with mathematical modelling.

Materials Science - Physics - 10.06.2020
Surprisingly strong and deformable silicon
Surprisingly strong and deformable silicon
Researchers at ETH have shown that tiny objects can be made from silicon that are much more deformable and stronger than previously thought. In this way, sensors in smartphones could be made smaller and more robust. Since the invention of the MOSFET transistor sixty year ago, the chemical element silicon on which it is based has become an integral part of modern life.

Materials Science - Health - 09.06.2020
First transparent surgical mask goes into production
First transparent surgical mask goes into production
Scientists of Empa and EPFL have developed a fully transparent surgical mask that will soon be produced on an industrial scale.

Environment - Materials Science - 04.06.2020
A recipe for eco-concrete
A recipe for eco-concrete
Cement production has to drastically reduce its environmental footprint. Empa researchers are, therefore working on alternative cement recipes that cause significantly fewer emissions or can even bind the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. It is the most widely used product in the world. Cement is indispensable yet its reputation has become quite tainted in the course of the ongoing climate debate.

Physics - Materials Science - 02.06.2020
Joined nano-triangles pave the way to magnetic carbon materials
Joined nano-triangles pave the way to magnetic carbon materials
Graphene triangles with an edge length of only a few atoms behave like peculiar quantum magnets. When two of these nano-triangles are joined, a "quantum entanglement" of their magnetic moments takes place: the structure becomes antiferromagnetic. This could be a breakthrough for future magnetic materials, and another step towards spintronics.

Materials Science - Electroengineering - 01.06.2020
Smart textiles powered by soft transmission lines
Smart textiles powered by soft transmission lines
EPFL researchers have developed electronic fibers that, when embedded in textiles, can collect a wealth of information about our bodies by measuring subtle and complex fabrics deformations. Their technology relies on transmission line theory and offers a host of applications, such as in health care and robotics.

Materials Science - Environment - 29.05.2020
Caught in flight
Caught in flight
Humans are exposed to numerous harmful environmental influences, and it is an international concern to quantify these emissions as accurately as possible in order to be able to take measures to contain them. Empa is also part of these efforts and has, among other things, developed a drone equipped with state-of-the-art measuring instruments which can detect methane leaks.

Materials Science - Physics - 29.05.2020
Hot off the Oven
Hot off the Oven
During metal processing in the 3D laser printer, temperatures of more than 2,500 degrees Celsius are reached within milliseconds, causing some components of the alloys to evaporate. While widely considered a problem inherent to the process, Empa researchers spotted an opportunity - and are now using the effect to create new alloys with novel properties and embed them in 3D-printed metallic work pieces with micrometer precision.

Materials Science - Chemistry - 29.05.2020
The Transistor out of the Printer
The Transistor out of the Printer
A new revolution in the production of electronic circuits is on the way: Empa researchers are working on electronics that come out of printers. This makes it possible to produce the circuits on all sorts of substrates, such as paper or plastic film - but there are still some hurdles to overcome. Imagine being able to easily print electronics on any surface.

Materials Science - 29.05.2020
When Concrete learns to pre-stress itself
When Concrete learns to pre-stress itself
Concrete is by far the most widely used building material in the world - and the trend is rising. Using a new type of concrete formula, an Empa team has succeeded in producing self-prestressed concrete elements. This innovation makes it possible to build lean structures much more cost-effectively - and save material at the same time.

Materials Science - Health - 29.05.2020
Wearable Health
Wearable Health
There is more than cool looks about hip clothing for top performance: Thanks to a variety of smart technologies, high-tech clothing today is capable of analyzing body functions or actively optimizing the microclimate. The basis of these novel textiles are "smart" fibers and biocompatible composites that also contribute to innovations in biomedical research such as sensors, drug delivery systems or tissue engineering.

Materials Science - Environment - 29.05.2020
Platinum keeps Fruit fresh
Platinum keeps Fruit fresh
If different types of vegetables and fruits are stored together, they influence each other in the ripening process. This is due to ethylene, which is emitted by some plant-based foodstuff and accelerates ripening. To prevent excessive food waste due to accelerated ripening Empa and ETH Zurich researchers are developing a new catalyst that degrades ethylene into water and carbon dioxide.
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