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Physics - Materials Science - 17.02.2021
Novel sandwich technology improves sensitivity of rapid tests
Novel sandwich technology improves sensitivity of rapid tests
Scientists have developed a method for boosting the sensitivity of rapid-detection tests like those used for the new coronavirus. The results of their feasibility study have just been published ináNano Letters. Pregnancy tests and rapid-detection tests for the new coronavirus work in the same way. They contain a surface - usually made of metal - on which chemical nanosensors detect specific compounds in a sample of urine, saliva or blood that indicate the presence of a given protein or part of a virus.

Physics - Electroengineering - 15.02.2021
Kagome graphene promises exciting properties
Kagome graphene promises exciting properties
For the first time, physicists from the University of Basel have produced a graphene compound consisting of carbon atoms and a small number of nitrogen atoms in a regular grid of hexagons and triangles. This honeycomb-structured -kagome lattice- behaves as a semiconductor and may also have unusual electrical properties.

Materials Science - Physics - 08.02.2021
Droplets perform daredevil feats on gel surfaces
Scientists have succeeded in making droplets flow just as fast on soft surfaces as on hard ones by changing the surface texture. Welcome to the amazing world of soft substrates. These materials are made of silicon gels and have the same texture as panna cotta - but without the delicious flavor. They are used in a range of applications, especially in the pharmaceutical industry, because their biocompatible and antiadhesive properties make them resistant to corrosion and bacterial contamination.

Physics - 28.01.2021
Physicists develop record-breaking source for single photons
Physicists develop record-breaking source for single photons
Researchers at the University of Basel and Ruhr University Bochum have developed a source of single photons that can produce billions of these quantum particles per second. With its record-breaking efficiency, the photon source represents a new and powerful building-block for quantum technologies. Quantum cryptography promises absolutely secure communications.

Physics - Chemistry - 27.01.2021
Size of helium nucleus measured more precisely than ever before
In experiments at the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI, an international research collaboration with ETH Zurich involvement has measured the radius of the atomic nucleus of helium five times more precisely than ever before. With the aid of the new value, fundamental physical theories can be tested. After hydrogen, helium is the second most abundant element in the universe.

Physics - 26.01.2021
Physics challenges the optimal size of parliaments
Physics challenges the optimal size of parliaments
Analyzing a classic paper that has influenced the size of parliaments for almost half a century, an EPFL physicist discovers major flaws with its methodology, challenges its fundamental assumptions, and calls for a complete and careful re-think of its government-governing rule. What is the best size of a parliament? That is a question at the center of many countries today, including the 2020 referendum in Italy where almost 70% of voters selected to slash the number of members of parliament by about a third.

Physics - Computer Science - 25.01.2021
Lasers and virtual reality to revolutionize watch-crystal engraving
Lasers and virtual reality to revolutionize watch-crystal engraving
EPFL engineers teamed up with luxury watchmaker Vacheron Constantin to develop an innovative system that uses lasers to create 3D sculptures within sapphire watch crystals.

Astronomy / Space - Physics - 21.01.2021
How our planets were formed
How our planets were formed
Terrestrial planets versus gas and ice giants: A new theory explaining why the inner solar system is so different to the outer regions runs counter to the prevailing wisdom. The theory was proposed by an international research group with ETH Zurich's participation. Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars in the inner solar system are relatively small, dry planets, unlike Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune in the outer regions, planets that contain much greater quantities of volatile elements.

Physics - Chemistry - 19.01.2021
Solar activity reconstructed over a millennium
Solar activity reconstructed over a millennium
An international team of researchers led by ETH Zurich has reconstructed solar activity back to the year 969 using measurements of radioactive carbon in tree rings. Those results help scientists to better understand the dynamics of the sun and allow more precise dating of organic materials using the C14 method.

Physics - Electroengineering - 11.01.2021
Electrically switchable qubit can tune between storage and fast calculation modes
Electrically switchable qubit can tune between storage and fast calculation modes
To perform calculations, quantum computers need qubits to act as elementary building blocks that process and store information. Now, physicists have produced a new type of qubit that can be switched from a stable idle mode to a fast calculation mode. The concept would also allow a large number of qubits to be combined into a powerful quantum computer, as researchers from the University of Basel and TU Eindhoven have reported in the journal -Nature Nanotechnology-.