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Physics - Electroengineering - 05.07.2024
A 2D device for quantum cooling
A 2D device for quantum cooling
EPFL engineers have created a device that can efficiently convert heat into electrical voltage at temperatures lower than that of outer space. The innovation could help overcome a significant obstacle to the advancement of quantum computing technologies, which require extremely low temperatures to function optimally.

Physics - Electroengineering - 01.07.2024
Controlling electronics with light: the magnetite breakthrough
Controlling electronics with light: the magnetite breakthrough
Researchers at EPFL have discovered that by shining different wavelengths of light on a material called magnetite, they can change its state, making it more or less conducive to electricity. This could lead to the development of innovative materials for electronics. Magnetite is the oldest and strongest natural magnet.

Physics - Electroengineering - 26.04.2024
Scientists capture X-rays from upward positive lightning
Scientists capture X-rays from upward positive lightning
Researchers have for the first time recorded X-rays being produced at the beginning of upward positive lightning flashes; an observation that gives important insight into the origins of this rare - and particularly dangerous - form of lightning. Globally, lightning is responsible for over 4,000 fatalities and billions of dollars in damage every year; Switzerland itself weathers up to 150,000 strikes annually.

Physics - Electroengineering - 13.03.2024
A new ion trap for larger quantum computers
A new ion trap for larger quantum computers
Researchers at ETH have managed to trap ions using static electric and magnetic fields and to perform quantum operations on them. In the future such traps could be used to realize quantum computers with far more quantum bits than have been possible up to now. The energy states of electrons in an atom follow the laws of quantum mechanics: they are not continuously distributed but restricted to certain well-defined values - this is also called quantisation.

Electroengineering - Microtechnics - 30.01.2024
Artificial muscles - lighter, safer, more robust
Artificial muscles - lighter, safer, more robust
Researchers at ETH Zurich have recently developed artificial muscles for robot motion. Their solution offers several advantages over previous technologies: it can be used wherever robots need to be soft rather than rigid or where they need more sensitivity when interacting with their environment. Many roboticists dream of building robots that are not just a combination of metal or other hard materials and motors but also softer and more adaptable.

Physics - Electroengineering - 24.01.2024
A new state in a quantum material
A new state in a quantum material
Scientists at EPFL break new ground in quantum physics, revealing a mysterious and unique behavior in a quantum magnetic material and hinting at future tech breakthroughs. In the mysterious world of quantum materials, things don't always behave as we expect. These materials have unique properties governed by the rules of quantum mechanics, which often means that they can perform tasks in ways traditional materials cannot - like conducting electricity without loss - or having magnetic properties that may prove useful in advanced technologies.

Physics - Electroengineering - 16.11.2023
A new kind of magnetism
Researchers have detected a new type of magnetism in an artificially produced material. The material becomes ferromagnetic through minimization of the kinetic energy of its electrons. For a magnet to stick to a fridge door, inside of it several physical effects need to work together perfectly. The magnetic moments of its electrons all point in the same direction, even if no external magnetic field forces them to do so.

Physics - Electroengineering - 01.11.2023
Strange magnetic material could make computing energy-efficient
Strange magnetic material could make computing energy-efficient
A research collaboration has uncovered a surprising magnetic property of an exotic material that might lead to computers that need less than one-millionth of the energy required to switch a single bit. The world of materials science is constantly discovering or fabricating materials with exotic properties.

Materials Science - Electroengineering - 04.07.2023
The chameleon effect
The chameleon effect
Is it possible to 3D print biodegradable sensors and displays? Researchers from Empa's Cellulose & Wood Materials laboratory have developed a cellulose-based material that allows just that. The mixture of hydroxpropyl cellulose with water, carbon nanotubes and cellulose nanofibrils changes color when heated or stretched - without the addition of any pigments.

Electroengineering - 02.05.2023
How an apprentice uses 'made-up' electrons to save researchers time
How an apprentice uses ’made-up’ electrons to save researchers time
This doesn't happen often: For his final project, an electronics apprentice at ETH Zurich produced a test device that will save physicists a lot of time in developing a novel microscope. His work has been published in a scientific journal. Integrated into the research group Apprentices also have to prepare a detailed schedule for their IPA.

Physics - Electroengineering - 29.03.2023
Magnon-based computation could signal computing paradigm shift
Thanks to a breakthrough in the field of magnonics, researchers have sent and stored data using charge-free magnetic waves, rather than traditional electron flows. The discovery could solve the dilemma of energy-hungry computing technology in the age of big data. Like electronics or photonics, magnonics is an engineering subfield that aims to advance information technologies when it comes to speed, device architecture, and energy consumption.

Physics - Electroengineering - 20.03.2023
Sculpting quantum materials for the electronics of the future
Sculpting quantum materials for the electronics of the future
An international team led by the University of Geneva has developed a quantum material in which the fabric of space inhabited by electrons can be curved on-demand. Artistic view. Curvature of the space fabric due to the superposition of spin and orbital states at the interface between lanthanum aluminate (LaAlO3) and strontium titanate (SrTiO3).

Electroengineering - Physics - 17.02.2023
Electronic metadevices break barriers to ultra-fast communications
Electronic metadevices break barriers to ultra-fast communications
Researchers have come up with a new approach to electronics that involves engineering metastructures at the sub-wavelength scale. It could launch the next generation of ultra-fast devices for exchanging massive amounts of data, with applications in 6G communications and beyond. Until now, the ability to make electronic devices faster has come down to a simple principle: scaling down transistors and other components.

Physics - Electroengineering - 26.12.2022
Optomechanics simulates graphene lattices
Optomechanics simulates graphene lattices
Scientists at EPFL have overcome the scaling challenges of quantum optomechanical systems and realized the first superconducting circuit optomechanical graphene lattice. The precise control of micro-mechanical oscillators is fundamental to many contemporary technologies, from sensing and timing to radiofrequency filters in smartphones.

Physics - Electroengineering - 23.11.2022
Spin correlation between paired electrons demonstrated
Spin correlation between paired electrons demonstrated
Physicists at the University of Basel have experimentally demonstrated for the first time that there is a negative correlation between the two spins of an entangled pair of electrons from a superconductor. For their study, the researchers used spin filters made of nanomagnets and quantum dots, as they report in the scientific journal Nature.

Physics - Electroengineering - 21.11.2022
A twin pack of cooled nanoparticles
A twin pack of cooled nanoparticles
Researchers at ETH have developed a technique to cool several nanoparticles simultaneously to temperatures of just a few thousandths of a degree above absolute zero. This new method can be used to study quantum effects of several nanoparticles and to build highly sensitive sensors. Over the past forty years, physicists have learned to cool increasingly large objects down to temperatures close to the absolute zero: atoms, molecules and, more recently, also nanoparticles consisting of billions of atoms.

Materials Science - Electroengineering - 27.10.2022
'Grätzel' solar cells achieve a new record
’Grätzel’ solar cells achieve a new record
Scientists at EPFL have increased the power conversion efficiency of dye-sensitized solar cells ("Grätzel cells") beyond 15% in direct sunlight and 30% in ambient light conditions. Mesoscopic dye-sensitized solar cells (DSCs) were invented in 1990s by Brian O'Regan and Michael Grätzel, taking on the latter's name - the world-famous Grätzel cells.

Physics - Electroengineering - 22.09.2022
Ultracold circuits
Ultracold circuits
Cooling materials to extremely low temperatures is important for basic physics research as well as for technological applications. By improving a special refrigerator and a low-temperature thermometer, Basel scientists have now managed to cool an electric circuit on a chip down to 220 microkelvin - close to absolute zero.

Electroengineering - Materials Science - 30.08.2022
Green electronics made from wood
Green electronics made from wood
Sustainable electronic components can be made from wood with the help of a novel process that uses a laser to engrave electrically conductive structures on veneers. A research team at Empa and at ETH's Institute for Building Materials has developed a practical and versatile method for making wooden surfaces electrically conductive.

Physics - Electroengineering - 17.06.2022
Boosting light power revolutionizes communications and autopilot
Boosting light power revolutionizes communications and autopilot
Scientists have built a compact waveguide amplifier by successfully incorporating rare-earth ions into integrated photonic circuits. The device produces record output power compared to commercial fiber amplifiers, a first in the development of integrated photonics over the last decades. Erbium-doped fiber amplifiers (EDFAs) are devices that can provide gain to the optical signal power in optical fibers, often used in long-distance communication fiber optic cables and fiber-based lasers.
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