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Physics - Materials Science - 25.11.2020
Phytoplankton disturbed by nanoparticles
Phytoplankton disturbed by nanoparticles
Due to its antibacterial properties, nanosilver is used in a wide range of products from textiles to cosmetics. But nanosilver if present at high concentrations also disrupts the metabolism of algae that are essential for the aquatic food web dynamics and the production of terrestrial oxygen. Products derived from nanotechnology are efficient and highly sought-after, yet their effects on the environment are still poorly understood.

Chemistry - Physics - 18.11.2020
A sulfur molecule to block the coronavirus
A sulfur molecule to block the coronavirus
Some viruses can get inside cells via a mechanism that involves sulfur organic molecules. Chemists at UNIGE have discovered effective inhibitors and blocked the uptake of SARS-CoV-2. The cell membrane is impermeable to viruses: to get inside and infect a cell, they use a range of strategies to exploit the cellular and biochemical properties of the membranes.

Physics - Electroengineering - 09.11.2020
A new candidate material for Quantum Spin Liquids
A new candidate material for Quantum Spin Liquids
Using a unique material, EPFL scientists have been able to design and study an unusual state of matter, the Quantum Spin Liquid. The work has significant implications for future technologies, from quantum computing to superconductivity and spintronics. In 1973, physicist and later Nobel laureate Philip W. Anderson proposed a bizarre state of matter: the quantum spin liquid (QSL).

Computer Science - Physics - 05.11.2020
Next-generation computer chip with two heads
Next-generation computer chip with two heads
EPFL engineers have developed a computer chip that combines two functions - logic operations and data storage - into a single architecture, paving the way to more efficient devices. Their technology is particularly promising for applications relying on artificial intelligence. It's a major breakthrough in the field of electronics.

Physics - 21.10.2020
Optical wiring for large quantum computers
Optical wiring for large quantum computers
Researchers at ETH have demonstrated a new technique for carrying out sensitive quantum operations on atoms. In this technique, the control laser light is delivered directly inside a chip. This should make it possible to build large-scale quantum computers based on trapped atoms. Hitting a specific point on a screen with a laser pointer during a presentation isn't easy - even the tiniest nervous shaking of the hand becomes one big scrawl at a distance.

Materials Science - Physics - 15.10.2020
Hanging by a colored thread
Hanging by a colored thread
High-performance fibres that have been exposed to high temperatures usually lose their mechanical properties undetected and, in the worst case, can tear precisely when lives depend on them. For example, safety ropes used by fire brigades or suspension ropes for heavy loads on construction sites. Empa researchers have now developed a coating that changes color when exposed to high temperatures through friction or fire.

Physics - 15.10.2020
Altering the properties of 2D materials at the nanometer scale
Altering the properties of 2D materials at the nanometer scale
Scientists have developed a method for changing the physical properties of 2D materials permanently using a nanometric tip. Their approach, which involves deforming the materials, paves the way to using these materials in electronic and optoelectronic devices. Materials all come with their own set of properties - they can be insulating, semi-conducting, metallic, transparent or flexible, for example.

Physics - Materials Science - 12.10.2020
Well-formed disorder for versatile light technologies
Well-formed disorder for versatile light technologies
Researchers at ETH have managed to make an efficient material for broadband frequency doubling of light using microspheres made of disordered nanocrystals. The crucial idea for the method arose during a coffee break. In the future, the new approach could be used in lasers and other light technologies.

Materials Science - Physics - 09.10.2020
Modeling eternity in the rock laboratory
Modeling eternity in the rock laboratory
Cement is one of the key materials for the safe storage of radioactive waste. What is needed is an almost infinite durability of the containers. Empa researchers are therefore analyzing material systems that can handle this task. Exploratory tunnel in the Mont Terri international rock laboratory. Since 1996, rock formations that could play a role in the storage of radioactive waste have been investigated here.

Materials Science - Physics - 05.10.2020
Lego-like assembly of zeolitic membranes improves carbon capture
Lego-like assembly of zeolitic membranes improves carbon capture
EPFL chemical engineers have developed a new way to manufacture zeolitic membranes, state-of-the-art materials used for gas separation in harsh conditions. Zeolites are porous minerals that occur both naturally but also are being synthesized artificially. Because they are stable and durable, zeolites are used for chemical catalysis, purification of gases and liquids, and even in medical applications such as drug delivery and blood-clotting powders, e.g. the QuickClot trauma bandages used in the US military.

Physics - 02.10.2020
Microcomb-injected pulsed lasers as variable microwave gears
Microcomb-injected pulsed lasers as variable microwave gears
Optical frequency combs can link frequencies in the microwave domain to high-purity laser emissions, yielding unprecedented precision in time-keeping and metrology. Now EPFL scientists and their colleagues have generated variable low-noise microwave signals by building variable microwave gears with two compact optical frequency combs.

Environment - Physics - 01.10.2020
Climate: Iodic acid influences cloud formation at the North Pole
Climate: Iodic acid influences cloud formation at the North Pole
An international team of scientists from EPFL, the Paul Scherrer Institute and Stockholm University has identified a novel driver of new aerosol particle formation in the Arctic during the summer to fall transition. The authors show that iodic acid is important for forming new particles which subsequently influence the formation of clouds and their radiative effect over the Arctic pack ice.

Physics - Materials Science - 23.09.2020
Nanostructures with a unique property
Nanostructures with a unique property
Nanoscale vortices known as skyrmions can be created in many magnetic materials. For the first time, researchers at PSI have managed to create and identify antiferromagnetic skyrmions with a unique property: critical elements inside them are arranged in opposing directions. Scientists have succeeded in visualising this phenomenon using neutron scattering.

Physics - Electroengineering - 22.09.2020
Customising an electronic material
Customising an electronic material
Scientists have gained a fundamental understanding of a highly promising material that could be suited to future data storage applications. Their experiments with strontium-iridium oxide, Sr2IrO 4 , investigated both the magnetic and electronic properties of the material as a thin film. They also analysed how these properties can be systematically controlled by manipulating the films.

Astronomy / Space Science - Physics - 21.09.2020
Comet Chury's ultraviolet aurora
Comet Chury’s ultraviolet aurora
On Earth, auroras, also called northern lights, have always fascinated people. An international consortium involving the University of Bern has now discovered such auroras in the ultraviolet wavelength range at comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, Chury for short. This phenomenon was detected thanks to the analysis of data from the European Space Agency ESA's Rosetta mission.

Physics - Chemistry - 17.09.2020
Lighting the way to infrared detection
Lighting the way to infrared detection
Physicists propose a new path to detect infrared radiation with outstanding sensitivity, allowing detection of signals as low as that of a single quantum of light. When using our webcam or cell phone camera, we experience the tremendous capabilities of cheap and compact sensors developed in the past decades for the visible region of the electromagnetic spectrum.

Earth Sciences - Physics - 17.09.2020
Detaching and uplifting, not bulldozing
Detaching and uplifting, not bulldozing
Researchers have used a computer model to test a new hypothesis about the formation of the Alps while simulating seismic activity in Switzerland. This will help improve current earthquake risk models. For a long time, geoscientists have assumed that the Alps were formed when the Adriatic plate from the south collided with the Eurasian plate in the north.

Computer Science - Physics - 09.09.2020
Artificial intelligence explains hydrogen's behavior on giant planets
Artificial intelligence explains hydrogen's behavior on giant planets
Using computer simulations powered by machine-learning algorithms EPFL scientists have made an important breakthrough in understanding how hydrogen behaves on Saturn and Jupiter. The giant planets in our solar system are made mainly of hydrogen, mostly in a liquid state. Near the planets- surface, hydrogen exists in an insulating, molecular form - H2 - but closer to the center, it takes on a metallic form where individual atoms can move around freely.

Physics - Electroengineering - 07.09.2020
A tiny instrument to measure the faintest magnetic fields
A tiny instrument to measure the faintest magnetic fields
Physicists at the University of Basel have developed a minuscule instrument able to detect extremely faint magnetic fields. At the heart of the superconducting quantum interference device are two atomically thin layers of graphene, which the researchers combined with boron nitride. Instruments like this one have applications in areas such as medicine, besides being used to research new materials.

Physics - Electroengineering - 07.09.2020
Reconfiguring microwave photonic filters without an external device
Reconfiguring microwave photonic filters without an external device
Researchers from EPFL's Photonics Systems Lab have come up with a way of reconfiguring microwave photonic filters without the need for an external device. This paves the way for more compact, environmentally friendly filters that will be more practical and cheaper to use. Potential applications include detection and communications systems.
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