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Materials Science - Physics - 13.02.2020
A fast light detector made of two-dimensional materials
A fast light detector made of two-dimensional materials
Two research groups at ETH Zurich have joined forces to develop a novel light detector. It consists of two-dimensional layers of different materials that are coupled to a silicon optical waveguide. In the future, this approach can also be used to make LEDs and optical modulators. Fast and highly efficient modulators as well as detectors for light are the core components of data transmission through fibre optic cables.

Physics - Materials Science - 12.02.2020
New quasiparticle unveiled in room temperature semiconductors
New quasiparticle unveiled in room temperature semiconductors
Physicists from Switzerland and Germany have unveiled fingerprints of the long-sought particle known as Mahan exciton in the room temperature optical response of the popular methylammonium lead halide perovskites. The optical properties of semiconductors are governed by the so-called 'excitons', which are bound pairs of negative electrons and positive holes.

Physics - Materials Science - 07.02.2020
A novel formulation to explain heat propagation
A novel formulation to explain heat propagation
Researchers at EPFL and MARVEL have developed a novel formulation that describes how heat spreads within crystalline materials. This can explain why and under which conditions heat propagation becomes fluid-like rather than diffusive. Their equations will make it easier to design next-generation electronic devices at the nanoscale, in which these phenomena can become prevalent.

Materials Science - Environment - 06.02.2020
Fast and cheap track to new types of solar cells
Fast and cheap track to new types of solar cells
The semiconductor perovskite is seen as a new hope to bring the production price of solar cells down below that of silicon used so far. Empa is developing new manufacturing processes to make perovskite solar cells not only cheaper but also faster to produce and make them ready for industrial use. Since the development of the first perovskite solar cell in 2009, its efficiency is now equal to that of a conventional silicon cell.

Materials Science - 31.01.2020
Harnessing the moiré effect to make transparent images
Researchers at EPFL have developed a material that combines transparent properties with the moiré effect to produce images. The technology could have interesting decorative and anti-forgery applications. Applying a moiré pattern to a transparent material is a new and surprising way of creating images.

Materials Science - Chemistry - 10.01.2020
An 18-carat gold nugget made of plastic
An 18-carat gold nugget made of plastic
ETH researchers have created an incredibly lightweight 18-carat gold, using a matrix of plastic in place of metallic alloy elements. Lovers of gold watches and heavy jewellery will be thrilled. The objects of their desire may someday become much lighter, but without losing any of their glitter. Especially with watches, a small amount of weight can make all the difference.

Materials Science - Health - 09.01.2020
Bandage material helps stop bleeding without adhering to the wound
Bandage material helps stop bleeding without adhering to the wound
Researchers from ETH Zurich and the National University of Singapore have developed a new kind of bandage that helps blood to clot and doesn't stick to the wound. This marks the first time that scientists have combined both properties in one material. "We did not actually plan this, but that is just how science works sometimes: you start researching one thing and end up somewhere else," says ETH Professor Dimos Poulikakos.

Environment - Materials Science - 07.01.2020
Tiny pharmaceuticals in the environment
Tiny pharmaceuticals in the environment
Nanomedicine is making headways. However, the tiny nanoparticles that are being used as carriers for drugs could find their way into water, soil and air. Empa researchers are investigating potential risks. Fear is a bad counselor. In the comic book series "Asterix", the Gaul chief Vitalstatistix may be afraid that the sky may fall on his head.

Health - Materials Science - 19.12.2019
Skin and Mucous Membrane Lesions as Complication of Pneumonia
Skin and Mucous Membrane Lesions as Complication of Pneumonia
Painful inflammatory lesions of the skin and mucous membranes may occur in children who develop bacterial pneumonia. A research group at the University Children's Hospital Zurich has recently developed a new diagnostic blood test, which reliably diagnoses bacteria as the causative pathogen at an early stage, allowing more specific treatment and prediction about prognosis.

Materials Science - Agronomy / Food Science - 19.12.2019
Making chocolate colourful
Making chocolate colourful
ETH researchers are making chocolates shimmer in rainbow colours without the addition of colourants. They have found a way to imprint a special structure on the surface of the chocolate to create a targeted colour effect. By playing this video, you agree to the use of cookies by YouTube This may include analytics, personalization, and ads.

Earth Sciences - Materials Science - 06.12.2019
Gaining insight into the energy balance of earthquakes
Gaining insight into the energy balance of earthquakes
Researchers at EPFL's Computational Solid Mechanics Laboratory and the Weizmann Institute of Science have modeled the onset of slip between two bodies in frictional contact. Their work, a major step forward in the study of frictional rupture, could give us a better understanding of earthquakes - including how far and fast they travel.

Materials Science - Health - 03.12.2019
Paradoxical replacement tissue for medicine
Paradoxical replacement tissue for medicine
A material that thickens when you pull on it seems to contradict the laws of physics. However, the so-called auxetic effect, which also occurs in nature, is interesting for a number of applications. A new Empa study recently published in "Nature Communications" shows how this amazing behavior can be improved - and even used to treat injuries and tissue damage.

Physics - Materials Science - 29.11.2019
Controlling the optical properties of solids with acoustic waves
Controlling the optical properties of solids with acoustic waves
Physicists from Switzerland, Germany, and France have found that large-amplitude acoustic waves, launched by ultrashort laser pulses, can dynamically manipulate the optical response of semiconductors. One of the main challenges in materials science research is to achieve high tunability of the optical properties of semiconductors at room temperature.

Materials Science - Health - 22.11.2019
Protection for pacemakers
Protection for pacemakers
A protective membrane for cardiac pacemakers developed at ETH Zurich has proved successful in animal trials in reducing the undesirable build-up of fibrotic tissue around the implant. The next step is to test the protective membrane in patients. ETH scientists have developed a special protective membrane made of cellulose that significantly reduces the build-up of fibrotic tissue around cardiac pacemaker implants, as reported in the current issue of the journal Biomaterials.

Materials Science - Mechanical Engineering - 21.11.2019
Eliminating cracks in 3D-printed metal components
Eliminating cracks in 3D-printed metal components
Researchers at EPFL have developed a new laser 3D-printing technique to manufacture metal components with unprecedented resistance to high temperature, damage and corrosion. The method has applications in fields ranging from aerospace to power-generating turbines. 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, has revolutionized the way components are made, setting new standards in terms of production speed when geometric complexity is high.

Materials Science - 21.11.2019
Software to speed up textile development
Software to speed up textile development
Whether for sports, at work or in the living room - depending on activity and environment, our clothing has to meet different demands. Empa scientists have developed a model that predicts how well a given garment will keep us warm. The crucial factor is the air cushion between our body and the outermost layer of clothing.

Materials Science - History / Archeology - 13.11.2019
Finest handwork
Finest handwork
In autumn 2017, the archaeological service of the Canton of Berne was amazed when two private individuals delivered a crusted lump of metal. The bronze hand of Prêles, decorated with a ribbon of gold, turned out to be the oldest bronze sculpture of a human body part in Central Europe. But where did the metals of the sensational find come from? Empa researchers were involved in the investigation.

Materials Science - Chemistry - 12.11.2019
A cheaper way to scale up atomic layer deposition
A cheaper way to scale up atomic layer deposition
Chemical engineers at EPFL have developed a new method for atomic layer deposition, a technique commonly used in high-quality microelectronics. The new method can be used in materials with larger surfaces much more cheaply than current approaches, while preserving quality and efficiency. Atomic layer deposition (ALD) involves stacking layers of atoms on top of each other like pancakes.

Materials Science - 12.11.2019
A fast and precise look into fibre-reinforced composites
A fast and precise look into fibre-reinforced composites
Researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI have improved a method for small angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) to such an extent that it can now be used in the development or quality control of novel fibre-reinforced composites. This means that in the future, such materials can be investigated not only with X-rays from especially powerful sources such as the Swiss Light Source SLS, but also with those from conventional X-ray tubes.

Health - Materials Science - 23.10.2019
Monitoring the corrosion of bioresorbable magnesium
Monitoring the corrosion of bioresorbable magnesium
ETH researchers have recently been able to monitor the corrosion of bioresorbable magnesium alloys at the nanoscale over a time scale of a few seconds to many hours. This is an important step towards accurately predicting how fast implants are resorbed by the body to enable the development of tailored materials for temporary implant applications.

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