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Materials Science - Chemistry - 11.03.2020
Nano-sponge with extreme properties
Nano-sponge with extreme properties
A new process simplifies the fabrication of porous materials with a defined nanostructure and takes them one step closer to mass production. Materials with a defined nanostructure can have surprising properties. One example is a lightweight ceramic that springs back to its original shape, like a sponge, after being compressed.

Materials Science - Chemistry - 11.03.2020
Yellow is the new brown
Yellow is the new brown
If different types of vegetables and fruits are stored together, they influence each other's ripening process. This is due to ethylene, which is emitted by some plant-based foodstuff and accelerates ripening. To prevent excessive food waste due to accelerated ripening Empa and ETH Zurich researchers are developing a new catalyst that degrades ethylene into water and carbon dioxide.

Physics - Materials Science - 24.02.2020
Short film of a magnetic nano-vortex
Short film of a magnetic nano-vortex
For the first time, researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI have recorded a "3D film" of magnetic processes on the nanometer scale. This reveals a variety of dynamics inside the material, including the motion of swirling boundaries between different magnetic domains. The insights were gained with a method newly developed at the Swiss Light Source SLS.

Environment - Materials Science - 20.02.2020
Intensified research in concrete and asphalt
Intensified research in concrete and asphalt
As of March 2020, the new "Concrete and Asphalt" lab will strengthen Empa's research in the field of building materials. Innovative technologies and materials for sustainable production and use are particularly in demand in these areas, as these two building materials, with an annual volume of more than 4.5 billion tonnes, account for the largest proportion of all materials used worldwide by far.

Physics - Materials Science - 18.02.2020
Creating custom light using 2D materials
Creating custom light using 2D materials
Researchers from the University of Geneva and the University of Manchester have discovered structures based on two-dimensional materials that emit tailor-made light in any colour you could wish for. Finding new semi-conductor materials that emit light is essential for developing a wide range of electronic devices.

Materials Science - Life Sciences - 18.02.2020
How to mend a broken heart
How to mend a broken heart
If the heart muscle is damaged, repairing the constantly active organ is a challenge. Empa researchers are developing a novel tissue adhesive inspired by nature, which is able to repair lesions in muscle tissue. They have taken advantage of the incredible ability of marine mussels to adhere to any kind of surface.

Materials Science - Pedagogy - 14.02.2020
Our memory prefers essence over form
Our memory prefers essence over form
Researchers from the University of Geneva and CY Cergy Paris University have shown that current situations conjure up past situations that share deep, structural, similarities. What clues does our memory use to connect a current situation to a situation from the past? The results of a study conducted by researchers from the University of Geneva , Switzerland, - working in collaboration with CY Cergy Paris University in France - contrast sharply with the explanations found until now in the existing literature.

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.

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