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Physics - Materials Science - 02.09.2021
Photovoltaic perovskites can detect neutrons
Photovoltaic perovskites can detect neutrons
A simple and cheap device for detecting neutrons has been developed by a team of researchers and their collaborators. The device, based on a special class of crystalline compounds called perovskites, could be used to quickly detect neutrons coming from radioactive materials, e.g. a nuclear reactor that has been damaged or that is being transported nefariously, the researchers say.

Chemistry - Materials Science - 20.08.2021
Changes in colour indicate deformations
Changes in colour indicate deformations
Researchers have developed a new type of laminate that changes colour as soon as the material is deformed. This way, the materials researchers can kill two birds with one stone: a lightweight composite material that inspects itself. Lightweight construction has found its way into many areas, especially automotive manufacturing, shipbuilding and aircraft construction.

Materials Science - Health - 19.08.2021
Band-aid for internal wounds
Band-aid for internal wounds
Closing wounds in the digestive tract is a challenge. researchers have now developed a polymer patch for the intestine that can be used to stably bond and seal internal injuries. A burst appendix or a life-threatening intestinal volvulus are emergencies that need to be treated by surgeons immediately.

Materials Science - Economics / Business - 15.07.2021
Filled energy saving bar
Filled energy saving bar
Insulation webs are essential in aluminum window profiles and facades for good thermal insulation. researchers and their partners have been working for some time on a novel "sandwich" product with an environmentally friendly filling: recycled material from PET bottles. Now the market launch is approaching - with good prospects of success.

Materials Science - 30.06.2021
Prestressed plasters for old buildings
Prestressed plasters for old buildings
The technology of stabilizing concrete structures with carbon fiber-reinforced polymers, thus helping them to last longer, was developed decades ago; among others at Empa. Today, researchers in Dübendorf are working on a new variant with prestressed lamellas - with good prospects for practical application.

Environment - Materials Science - 25.06.2021
Crown ethers improve perovskite solar cell stability
Crown ethers improve perovskite solar cell stability
Scientists have used an unprecedented method with multimodal host-guest complexation to greatly improve the stability of perovskite solar cells while also reducing the release of lead into the environment. Perovskites are hybrid compounds made from metal halides and organic constituents, and show great potential in a range of applications, e.g. LED lights, lasers, and photodetectors.

Environment - Materials Science - 23.06.2021
Harvesting drinking water from humidity around the clock
Harvesting drinking water from humidity around the clock
Researchers at ETH Zurich have developed a condenser for countries where water is in short supply. Theirs is the first zero-energy solution for harvesting water from the atmosphere throughout the 24-hour daily cycle. It relies on a self-cooling surface and a special radiation shield. Fresh water is scarce in many parts of the world and must be obtained at great expense.

Materials Science - Health - 03.06.2021
Filter membrane renders viruses harmless
Researchers at ETH Zurich are developing a new filter membrane that is highly efficient at filtering and inactivating a wide variety of air-borne and water-borne viruses. Made from ecologically sound materials, the membrane has an appropriately good environmental footprint. Viruses can spread not only via droplets or aerosols like the new coronavirus, but in water, too.

Innovation - Materials Science - 28.05.2021

Physics - Materials Science - 05.05.2021
A material-keyboard made of graphene
A material-keyboard made of graphene
Researchers at ETH Zurich have succeeded in turning specially prepared graphene flakes either into insulators or into superconductors by applying an electric voltage. This technique even works locally, meaning that in the same graphene flake regions with completely different physical properties can be realized side by side.

Physics - Materials Science - 22.04.2021
Uniquely sharp X-ray view
Researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI have succeeded for the first time in looking inside materials using the method of transient grating spectroscopy with ultrafast X-rays at SwissFEL. The experiment at PSI is a milestone in observing processes in the world of atoms. The researchers are publishing their research results today .

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.

Materials Science - Economics / Business - 02.04.2021

Materials Science - 23.03.2021
Knitting roads
Knitting roads
Empa scientists are investigating how roads could be reinforced with simple means and recycled easily after use. Their tools are a robot and a few meters of string. A robotic arm lays out a string in a mandala-like pattern on a bed of gravel. What appears to be a contemporary art performance is basic research that explores new ways in road construction.

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.

Materials Science - Environment - 15.03.2021
Voltage from the parquet
Voltage from the parquet
Researchers at Empa and ETH Zurich have made wood compressible and turned it into a micro-generator. When it is loaded, an electrical voltage is generated. In this way, the wood can serve as a bio-sensor - or generate usable energy. The latest highlight: To ensure that the process does not require aggressive chemicals, naturally occurring wood-degrading fungi take over the task of modifying the wood.

Environment - Materials Science - 04.03.2021
Energy house-keeping
Energy house-keeping
Energy management in a house with a solar system is becoming increasingly complex: When do I turn on the heating so that it is nice and cosy in the evening? How much electricity can the hot water tank hold? Will there still be enough energy for the electric car? Artificial Intelligence (AI) can help solve the problem: Researchers at Empa developed an AI control system that can learn all these tasks - and save more than 25 percent energy in the process.

Materials Science - Environment - 03.03.2021
Graphene filter makes carbon capture more efficient and cheaper
Graphene filter makes carbon capture more efficient and cheaper
Chemical engineers at EPFL have developed a graphene filter for carbon capture that surpasses the efficiency of commercial capture technologies, and can reduce the cost carbon capture down to $30 per ton of carbon dioxide. One of the main culprits of global warming is the vast amount of carbon dioxide pumped out into the atmosphere mostly from burning fossil fuels and the production of steel and cement.

Physics - Materials Science - 22.02.2021
Concept for a new storage medium
Concept for a new storage medium
Physicists from Switzerland, Germany and Ukraine have proposed an innovative new data storage medium. The technique is based on specific properties of antiferromagnetic materials that had previously resisted experimental examination. Using nanoscale quantum sensors, an international research team has succeeded in exploring certain previously uncharted physical properties of an antiferromagnetic material.