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Physics - Chemistry - 09.08.2022
In control of chaos
In control of chaos
Crystals consisting of wildly mixed ingredients - so-called high-entropy materials - are currently attracting growing scientific interest. Their advantage is that they are particularly stable at extremely high temperatures and could be used, for example, for energy storage and chemical production processes.

Materials Science - Chemistry - 28.07.2022
A paper battery with water switch
A paper battery with water switch
A team of researchers at Empa developed a water-activated disposable paper battery. The researchers suggest that it could be used to power a wide range of low-power, single-use disposable electronics - such as smart labels for tracking objects, environmental sensors and medical diagnostic devices - and minimize their environmental impact.

Physics - Chemistry - 19.07.2022
Attosecond measurement on electrons in water clusters
Attosecond measurement on electrons in water clusters
Researchers at ETH Zurich have developed a method that enables time-resolved measurements of electron motion in water clusters lasting only a few attoseconds. The technique can be used for more detailed studies of water as well as faster electronics. Virtually all vital chemical processes take place in aqueous solutions.

Life Sciences - Chemistry - 18.07.2022
Virtual fish instead of animal testing
Virtual fish instead of animal testing
As part of a new national research programme that aims to replace animal experiments in research, the National Science Foundation is supporting a project at Eawag. This opens up new possibilities for determining the toxicity of chemical substances based solely on tests with cultured cells and computer models.

Chemistry - 12.07.2022
Chemistry boosts drug libraries
Chemistry boosts drug libraries
Scientists at EPFL have found a way to synthesize large numbers of macrocyclic compounds, which are needed for developing drugs against difficult disease targets. When pharmaceutical companies begin looking for a drug candidate, they use a filtering process known as "high-throughput screening". Here, large numbers of different chemical compounds are tested to see which will bind to a protein that is the target of the disease they want to address.

Astronomy / Space Science - Chemistry - 08.07.2022
New insights into the Earth's formation
New insights into the Earth’s formation
An international research team led by ETH Zurich proposes a new theory for the Earth's formation. It may also show how other rocky planets were formed. Although the Earth has long been studied in detail, some fundamental questions have still to be answered. One of them concerns the formation of our planet, about whose beginnings researchers are still unclear.

Astronomy / Space Science - Chemistry - 05.07.2022
Shedding light on comet Chury's unexpected chemical complexity
Shedding light on comet Chury’s unexpected chemical complexity
A team of researchers led by the University of Bern has for the first time identified an unexpected richness of complex organic molecules at a comet. This was achieved thanks to the analysis of data collected during ESA-s Rosetta mission at comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, also known as Chury. Delivered to the early Earth by impacting comets, these organics may have helped to kick-start carbon-based life as we know it.

Chemistry - Physics - 05.07.2022
Making it easier to differentiate mirror-image molecules
Making it easier to differentiate mirror-image molecules
Using a new method, scientists are better able to distinguish between mirror-image substances. This is important amongst others in drug development, because the two variants can cause completely different effects in the human body. Researchers from Paul Scherrer Institute PSI, EPF Lausanne (EPFL), and the University of Geneva describe the new method in the scientific journal Nature Photonics .

Chemistry - Environment - 27.06.2022
New PET-like plastic made directly from waste biomass
New PET-like plastic made directly from waste biomass
Scientists have developed a new, PET-like plastic that is easily made from the non-edible parts of plants. The plastic is tough, heat-resistant, and a good barrier to gases like oxygen, making it a promising candidate for food packaging. Due to its structure, the new plastic can also be chemically recycled and degrade back to harmless sugars in the environment.

Materials Science - Chemistry - 16.06.2022
Graphene dust not harmful
Graphene dust not harmful
Graphene-based particles released from polymer composites after abrasion induce negligible health effects. Under the leadership of Empa, an international research team of the Graphene Flagship project conducted a study on the health risks of graphene-containing nanoparticles and recently published the results in Journal of Hazardous Materials.

Health - Chemistry - 07.06.2022
Mucus molecules can thwart fungal infection
Mucus molecules can thwart fungal infection
Candida albicans is a yeast that colonizes the mucosal surfaces of most healthy humans. Under certain conditions, it can switch to a harmful form and cause infection. Researchers have now identified components of mucus that keep the pathogen from turning destructive, thus laying the foundation for a new class of drugs.

Chemistry - 19.05.2022
From the packet into your food: what harmful substances are in food packaging?
From the packet into your food: what harmful substances are in food packaging?
Salad boxes to go, sealed-tray lasagna and apple juice in PET bottles: we encounter packaged food and drink everywhere. A new database shows which packaging contains harmful substances that can be transferred to its contents. It also includes findings from researchers at the University of Basel, who are investigating plastic molecules that were previously unknown or barely known.

Chemistry - Physics - 04.05.2022
Imaging chemical kinetics at liquid-liquid interfaces
Imaging chemical kinetics at liquid-liquid interfaces
Scientists led by EPFL have developed a new method to measure chemical kinetics by imaging progress of a reaction at a liquid-liquid interface embedded in a laminar-flow liquid microjet. This method is ideal for studies of dynamics on the sub-millisecond timescale, which is very difficult to do with current applications.

Chemistry - Environment - 04.05.2022
Urine treatment: from trial and error to exciting innovation
Urine treatment: from trial and error to exciting innovation
What has been a purification process in wastewater treatment plants for decades can also be used decentrally or semi-centrally as a recycling process for nutrients. Early separation of "solid and liquid" plays a key role here. It allows for flexible solutions in terms of process technology, especially in the treatment of urine.

Physics - Chemistry - 20.04.2022
Revolutionary images of the birth of crystals
Revolutionary images of the birth of crystals
A team from the UNIGE has succeeded in visualizing crystal nucleation - the stage that precedes crystallization - that was invisible until now. At the interface between chemistry and physics, the process of crystallization is omnipresent in nature and industry. It is the basis for the formation of snowflakes but also of certain active ingredients used in pharmacology.

Chemistry - Physics - 14.04.2022
Golden wedding for molecules
Golden wedding for molecules
Chemical syntheses in liquids and gases take place in three-dimensional space. Random collisions between molecules have to result in something new in an extremely short time. But there is another way: on a gold surface under ultrahigh vacuum conditions, molecules lying still next to each other can be made to combine - even those that would never want to react with each other in a liquid.

Chemistry - Life Sciences - 12.04.2022
How to find anti-cancer agents
How to find anti-cancer agents
Researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI and the Italian Institute of Technology IIT have developed a novel substance that disables a protein in the cell skeleton, leading to cell death. In this way, substances of this type can prevent, for example, the growth of tumours. To accomplish this, the researchers combined a structural biological method with the computational design of active agents.

Health - Chemistry - 10.03.2022
Gentler tumor treatment
Gentler tumor treatment
Radiation therapy is one of the cornerstones of cancer therapy. However, some types of tumor respond little or hardly at all to radiation. If it were possible to make tumor cells more sensitive, treatment would be more effective and gentler. Empa and researchers have now succeeded in using metal oxide nanoparticles as "radiosensitizers" - and in producing them on an industrial scale.

Environment - Chemistry - 01.03.2022
Scientists map Arctic aerosols to better understand regional warming
Scientists map Arctic aerosols to better understand regional warming
Scientists at EPFL and the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) have studied the chemical composition and origin - whether natural or anthropogenic - of aerosols in a region spanning from Russia to Canada. Their findings provide unique insights for helping researchers better understand climate change in the Arctic and design effective pollution-mitigation measures.

Astronomy / Space Science - Chemistry - 25.02.2022
Cosmic web orchestrates the progression of galaxies
Cosmic web orchestrates the progression of galaxies
The shape of galaxies and how they evolve depend on a web of cosmological filaments that run across the Universe. According to a recent study headed by EPFL's Laboratory of Astrophysics, this cosmic web plays a much bigger role than previously thought. Across the Universe, galaxies are distributed along what's called the cosmic web, a complex network of filaments made up of ordinary and dark matter.