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Materials Science - Physics - 07.10.2019
Unbreakable
Unbreakable
Can glass flow at room temperature and thus withstand hard impacts' A theory from the 1970s predicted exactly this. Empa researchers have now provided the proof. The results could form the basis for robust 3D printed glass microarchitectures. No one in the world has ever seen what we have measured," says Rajaprakash Ramachandramoorthy.

Materials Science - Chemistry - 07.10.2019
Slow Decay
Slow Decay
"Corrosion" comes from Latin "corrodere": to gnaw something to pieces. This refers to the gradual destruction of a substance due to the influence of other substances in the environment. Specialists at Empa take a close look at such processes and can find timely ways to prevent material failure due to corrosion - long before disasters such as those in Genoa occur.

Materials Science - Environment - 07.10.2019
The Wood Paradox
The Wood Paradox
It can be deformed as required and is three times stronger than natural wood: the wood material developed by Marion Frey, Tobias Keplinger and Ingo Burgert at Empa and ETH Zurich has the potential to become a high-tech material. In the process, the researchers remove precisely the part of the wood that gives it its stability in nature: lignin.

Materials Science - Health - 07.10.2019
The Screw That Dissolves
The Screw That Dissolves
Where bones fracture, surgeons often have to join the fragments with implants. Magnesium orthopaedic screws, which over time dissolve in the body, spare patients another operation after healing is completed and reduce the risk of infection. What happens inside the body during this process, though, is still largely unknown.

Health - Materials Science - 26.09.2019
On the road to safe nanomedicine
On the road to safe nanomedicine
Tiny particles that can fight cancer or that can easily pass through any interface within our body are a great promise for medicine. But there is little knowledge thus far about what exactly will happen to nanoparticles within our tissues and whether or not they can cause disease by themselves. Within an international research consortium, Empa scientists have now developed guidelines that should enable the safe development of nanoparticles for medical use.

Materials Science - Chemistry - 24.09.2019
A battery with a twist
A battery with a twist
Markus Niederberger's team of researchers at ETH has used stretchable materials to develop a battery that can be bent, stretched and twisted. For applications in bendable electronic devices, this is precisely the kind of battery they need. Today's electronics industry is increasingly focusing on computers or smartphones with screens that can be folded or rolled.

Physics - Materials Science - 04.09.2019
Studying heart cells with nanovolcanoes
Studying heart cells with nanovolcanoes
Researchers at EPFL and the University of Bern have developed a groundbreaking method for studying the electrical signals of cardiac muscle cells. The technology has numerous potential applications in basic and applied research - such as improving the search for mechanisms underlying cardiac arrhythmias.

Materials Science - Computer Science - 29.07.2019
Digitizing and replicating the world of materials
A team of EPFL researchers has set itself the lofty goal of building the biggest-ever database that digitizes the visual appearance of all natural and synthetic materials in the world.

Environment - Materials Science - 29.07.2019
Unravelling corrosion
Unravelling corrosion
ETH researchers have succeeded in elucidating how and at what rate steel corrodes in a variety of porous materials. Their findings help enable the breakthrough of new, environmentally friendly types of cement. The rate at which steel corrodes in concrete or other porous materials is crucial to a large number of technological applications, such as underground pipelines or steel-reinforced concrete bridges.

Physics - Materials Science - 19.07.2019
Better thermal conductivity by adjusting the arrangement of atoms
Better thermal conductivity by adjusting the arrangement of atoms
Adjusting the thermal conductivity of materials is one of the challenges nanoscience is currently facing. Together with colleagues from the Netherlands and Spain, researchers from the University of Basel have shown that the atomic vibrations that determine heat generation in nanowires can be controlled through the arrangement of atoms alone.

Environment - Materials Science - 12.07.2019
5000 tons of plastic released into the environment every year
5000 tons of plastic released into the environment every year
In order to estimate for the first time the exact extent of plastic pollution in Switzerland, the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) has mandated Empa researchers to calculate how much plastic gets into the environment. Empa has analyzed the seven most frequently used types of plastic. According to the study, more than 5000 tons of plastic are discharged into the environment every year.

Health - Materials Science - 08.07.2019
The most successfull flat share in the world
The most successfull flat share in the world
Biofilms are enormously resistant accumulations of germs, which can cause serious problems, especially in hospitals. Like a single large creature, they can spread within wounds or colonize implants or biomedical products. With novel materials and surfaces researchers intend to combat the sturdy pathogens.

Health - Materials Science - 08.07.2019
Why do bones fail?
Can analytical methods from materials science help us better understand human bones' A research team at Empa in Thun is pursuing precisely this approach. Osteoporosis is a wide­spread disease. Every third woman and every fifth man are affected by bone loss with ad­vanc­ing age. A frequent consequence of this is a fracture of the femoral neck - a painful injury that massively impairs the quality of life of those affected.

Materials Science - Health - 08.07.2019
Deceptively real
The human heart still poses great challenges to modern medicine. More than ten million people in Europe suffer from heart failure, and quite a few of them need a donor organ. Artificial heart pumps are used to bridge the waiting time, but complications are not uncommon. The "Zurich Heart" project, in which Empa is a partner, is developing solutions.

Materials Science - Health - 08.07.2019
Scars: gone with the foam
Scars: gone with the foam
Poorly healing wounds and severe scarring are more than just a cosmetic problem; they can significantly impair a person's mobility and health. Empa researchers have now developed a foam that is supposed to prevent excessive scarring and help wounds to heal quickly. An essential ingredient: the yellow ginger tumeric.

Materials Science - Health - 08.07.2019
Wood on our Skin
Wood on our Skin
Physiological parameters in our blood can be determined without painful punctures. Empa researchers are currently working with a Canadian team to develop flexible, biocompatible nanocellulose sensors that can be attached to the skin. The 3D-printed analytic chips made of renewable raw materials will even be biodegradable in future.

Materials Science - Environment - 21.06.2019
Perovskite solar cells tested for real-world performance - in the lab
Perovskite solar cells tested for real-world performance - in the lab
Researchers bring diurnal and seasonal variations into the lab to test the performance of perovskite solar cells under realistic conditions. It was only ten years ago that metal-halide perovskites were discovered to be photovoltaic materials. Today, perovskite solar cells made are almost as efficient as the best conventional silicon ones, and there is much hope that they will become a highly efficient and low-cost alternative, as they can be manufactured by rather simple and fast methods like printing.

Materials Science - Physics - 04.06.2019
New material with magnetic shape memory
New material with magnetic shape memory
Researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI and ETH Zurich have developed a new material whose shape memory is activated by magnetism. It retains a given shape when it is put into a magnetic field. It is a composite material consisting of two components. What is special about the new material is that, unlike previous shape-memory materials, it consists of a polymer and droplets of a so-called magnetorheological fluid embedded in it.

Materials Science - 29.05.2019
Desired deformation
Desired deformation
Since last week there is a unique wooden building in the Remstal near Stuttgart: a tower made of self-formed spruce boards. The method, which has been developed at Empa and ETH Zurich, uses the natural swelling and shrinking of wood under the influence of moisture and thus enables a new and unexpected architecture for the construction with the renewable and sustainable resource of wood.

Materials Science - Physics - 23.05.2019
Producing electricity at estuaries using light and osmosis
Producing electricity at estuaries using light and osmosis
Researchers at EPFL are working on a technology to exploit osmotic energy - a source of power that's naturally available at estuaries, where fresh water comes into contact with seawater. In a laboratory experiment, the team reproduced the real-world conditions that occur where rivers meet the sea (pH and salt concentration) and showed that, by shining light on a system comprising salt, water and a membrane three atoms thick, it was possible to optimize electricity production.
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