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Chemistry - Environment - 22.06.2021
Worrying insights into the chemicals in plastics
Researchers examined chemicals in plastics worldwide. They found an unexpectedly high number of substances of potential concern intentionally used in everyday plastic products. A lack of transparency limits management of these chemicals. Plastic is practical, cheap and incredibly popular. Every year, more than 350 million tonnes are produced worldwide.

Life Sciences - Chemistry - 11.06.2021
Understanding the evolution of viruses
Understanding the evolution of viruses
Researchers at ETH Zurich have recreated a key step in the evolutionary history of viruses in a laboratory experiment. They succeeded in remodeling a natural protein to create capsids capable of storing genetic material. Viruses have always had a major influence on life. They emerged a few billion years ago, precisely when is difficult to estimate.

Physics - Chemistry - 09.06.2021
Expanding the limits of ferroelectrics
Chiara Gattinoni, a materials theorist and Marie Curie Fellow at ETH Zurich, uses the "Piz Daint" supercomputer at CSCS to investigate a special class of materials: ferroelectrics. In the future, these materials could constitute the heart of low-energy-consuming, miniaturised data storage in electrical devices.

Physics - Chemistry - 09.06.2021
How catalysts age
How catalysts age
PSI researchers have developed a new tomography method with which they can measure chemical properties inside catalyst materials in 3-D extremely precisely and faster than before. The application is equally important for science and industry. The researchers published their results today in the journal Science Advances .

Chemistry - 02.06.2021
Cutting-edge modelling methods from USI help unlock the secrets of porous material
Cutting-edge modelling methods from USI help unlock the secrets of porous material
Most materials have a seemingly smooth surface, but under high magnification, they reveal to be full of tiny holes or pores. Zeolites, in particular, have pores in different sizes that allow them to be used in a range of different applications like catalysis, the branch of chemistry that studies how to accelerate chemical reactions, a fundamental pillar for the chemical industry. However, many fundamental questions remain about what actually happens inside the pores of a zeolite and, more precisely, how water influences the overall behaviour of the system.

Physics - Chemistry - 01.06.2021
Green light on gold atoms
Green light on gold atoms
Scientists at EPFL discover that laser-driven rearrangement of just a few gold atoms inside nanoscale antennas can be observed by the naked eye. Image: Plasmonic nano-antennas fabricated at EPFL: gold nanoparticles are deposited on a gold film covered with a layer of molecules. Light emission from defects near the film surface is strongly enhanced by the antenna effect, enabling its detection. Credit: Nicolas Antille (www.nicolasantille.com).

Physics - Chemistry - 27.05.2021
Shiny mega-crystals that build themselves
Shiny mega-crystals that build themselves
An international team led by Empa and ETH Zurich researchers is playing with shape-engineered nanoscale building blocks that are up to 100-times larger than atoms and ions. And although these nano "Lego bricks" interact with each other with forces vastly different and much weaker than those holding atoms and ions together, they form crystals all by themselves, the structures of which resemble the ones of natural minerals.

Life Sciences - Chemistry - 29.04.2021
How diet controls RNA maturation
How diet controls RNA maturation
Two UNIGE teams have discovered a new mechanism for regulating RNA maturation that depends on diet. Particularly sensitive to chemical modifications, messenger RNAs (mRNAs) are molecules responsible for transmitting the information encoded in our genome, allowing for the synthesis of proteins, which are necessary for the functioning of our cells.

Materials Science - Chemistry - 20.04.2021
Perovskite solar cells exceed 25% power-conversion efficiency
Perovskite solar cells exceed 25% power-conversion efficiency
Physical chemists and chemical engineers led by EPFL have used a chemical tweak to push the power-conversion efficiency and operational stability of perovskite solar cells to 25.6% and at least 450 hours respectively. Perovskites are hybrid compounds that can be made from metal halides and organic constituents.

Life Sciences - Chemistry - 19.04.2021
The architect of genome folding
The architect of genome folding
The spatial organization of the genome is fundamental for the regulation of our genes and has to be established de novo during early embryogenesis. By combining powerful Drosophila genetics with 3D chromosome modelling, a collaboration between the Giorgetti group at the FMI and the MPI of Immunobiology and Epigenetics in Freiburg revealed a critical role of the epigenetic regulator HP1 in the establishment of 3D genome organization in the early Drosophila embryo.

Chemistry - Health - 14.04.2021
New hydrogel can repair tears in human tissue
New hydrogel can repair tears in human tissue
Scientists have developed an injectable gel that can attach to various kinds of soft internal tissues and repair tears resulting from an accident or trauma.

Chemistry - 07.04.2021
Chain length determines molecular colour
Chain length determines molecular colour
Researchers at ETH Zurich have developed fluorescent polymers whose colour can be easily tuned. Depending on their length, the polymers emit a different colour. Potential applications include biomedicine, security printing and solar energy. Around the world, a huge amount of research and development work is currently being done on carbon-containing, or organic, molecules that emit coloured light after appropriate excitation.

Physics - Chemistry - 31.03.2021
ALPHA cools antimatter using laser light for the first time
ALPHA cools antimatter using laser light for the first time
Geneva, 31 March 2021. The ALPHA collaboration at CERN has succeeded in cooling down antihydrogen atoms - the simplest form of atomic antimatter - using laser light. The technique, known as laser cooling, was first demonstrated 40 years ago on normal matter and is a mainstay of many research fields.

Environment - Chemistry - 24.03.2021
Aerosol formation in clouds
Aerosol formation in clouds
Researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI have studied for the first time how chemical reactions in clouds can influence the global climate. They found that isoprene, the dominant non-methane organic compound emitted into the atmosphere, can strongly contribute to the formation of organic aerosols in clouds.

Health - Chemistry - 19.03.2021
Particulates are more dangerous than previously thought
Particulates are more dangerous than previously thought
Researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI have for the first time observed photochemical processes inside the smallest particles in the air. In doing so, they discovered that additional oxygen radicals that can be harmful to human health are formed in these aerosols under everyday conditions. They report on their results today .

Life Sciences - Chemistry - 19.03.2021
Revealing the way a critical enzyme works in the cell
Revealing the way a critical enzyme works in the cell
Combining structural biology, molecular simulations, mutagenesis, and in vivo assays, EPFL scientists have made the first extensive study of the mode of action of the enzyme acyl thioesterase, which regulates deacylation, one of the most critical functions of the cell. S'acylation is the process of chemically linking a lipid to protein via a thioester bond.

Materials Science - Chemistry - 18.03.2021
The invisible keyhole
The invisible keyhole
Hard times for burglars and safecrackers: Empa researchers have developed an invisible "keyhole" made of printed, transparent electronics. Only authorized persons know where to enter the access code. At first glance, Empa researcher Evgeniia Gilshtein's idea seems inconspicuous - or more precisely, invisible.

Materials Science - Chemistry - 15.03.2021
Voltage from wood
Voltage from wood
Researchers at ETH Zurich and Empa have chemically modified wood and made it more compressible, turning it into a mini-generator. When compressed, it generates an electrical voltage. Such wood could serve as a biosensor or as a building material that harvests energy. As Ingo Burgert and his team at ETH Zurich and Empa have proven time and again: wood is so much more than just a building material.

Chemistry - Life Sciences - 05.03.2021
Tracking proteins in the heart of cells
Tracking proteins in the heart of cells
For the first time, a team from the University of Geneva has been able to follow precisely the path taken by a protein within the cell, paving the way for the study of the transport and distribution network of vital elements necessary for its survival. In order to stay alive, the cell must provide its various organelles with all the energy elements they need, which are formed in the Golgi apparatus, its centre of maturation and redistribution of lipids and proteins.

Environment - Chemistry - 25.02.2021
Green fuels for aviation
Green fuels for aviation
Researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI and the partner institute Empa have started a joint initiative called SynFuels. The goal is to develop a process for producing kerosene from renewable resources. In this way liquid fuel mixtures of the highest quality, which would allow the most residue-free combustion possible and thus be suitable for aircraft propulsion, should be obtainable using carbon dioxide and hydrogen from renewable resources.