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Physics - Chemistry - 10.12.2019
How to induce magnetism in graphene
How to induce magnetism in graphene
Graphene, a two-dimensional structure made of carbon, is a material with excellent mechanical, electronic and optical properties. However, it did not seem suitable for magnetic applications. Together with international partners, Empa researchers have now succeeded in synthesizing a unique nanographene predicted in the 1970s, which conclusively demonstrates that carbon in very specific forms has magnetic properties that could permit future spintronic applications.

Physics - Chemistry - 07.12.2019
Liquid flow is influenced by a quantum effect in water
Liquid flow is influenced by a quantum effect in water
Researchers at EPFL have discovered that the viscosity of solutions of electrically charged polymers dissolved in water is influenced by a quantum effect. This tiny quantum effect influences the way water molecules interact with one another. Yet, it can lead to drastic changes in large-scale observations.

Chemistry - Physics - 05.12.2019
First field measurements of laughing gas isotopes
First field measurements of laughing gas isotopes
Thanks to a newly developed laser spectrometer, Empa researchers can for the first time show which processes in grassland lead to nitrous oxide emissions. The aim is to reduce emissions of this potent greenhouse gas by gaining a better understanding of the processes taking place in the soil. Nitrous oxide (N2O, also known as laughing gas) is one of the most important greenhouse gases.

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.

Physics - Computer Science / Telecom - 22.11.2019
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A "simulation booster" for nanoelectronics
Two research groups from ETH Zurich have developed a method that can simulate nanoelectronics devices and their properties realistically, quickly and efficiently. This offers a ray of hope for the industry and data centre operators alike, both of which are struggling with the (over)heating that comes with increasingly small and powerful transistors.

Earth Sciences - Physics - 20.11.2019
Stabilizing a cliff using biomineral binders
Stabilizing a cliff using biomineral binders
EPFL spin-off Medusoil has successfully tested its ground-stabilization process on cliffs subject to surface erosion. The company's biomineral-based solution can be used to stabilize sandy and gravelly subsoils to safeguard surrounding infrastructure. It is a long-lasting and easy-to-use alternative to industrial fluids - the production and use of which can be harmful to the environment.

Physics - 15.11.2019
A super-fast
A super-fast "light switch" for future cars and computers
Switching light beams quickly is important in many technological applications. Researchers at ETH have now developed an "electro-opto-mechanical" switch for light beams that is considerably smaller and faster than current models. This is relevant for applications such as self-driving cars and optical quantum technologies.

Chemistry - Physics - 14.11.2019
Observing changes in the chirality of molecules in real time
Chiral molecules - compounds that are mirror images of each other - play an important role in biological processes and in chemical synthesis. Chemists at ETH Zurich have now succeeded for the first time in using ultrafast laser pulses to observe changes in chirality during a chemical reaction in real time.

Physics - 11.11.2019
Magnets for the second dimension
Magnets for the second dimension
ETH scientists have developed cube-shaped magnetic building blocks that can be assembled into two-dimensional shapes and controlled by an external magnetic field. They can be used for soft robotics applications. If you've ever tried to put several really strong, small cube magnets right next to each other on a magnetic board, you'll know that you just can't do it.

Microtechnics - Physics - 06.11.2019
On the way to intelligent microrobots
On the way to intelligent microrobots
Researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI and ETH Zurich have developed a micromachine that can perform different actions. First nanomagnets in the components of the microrobots are magnetically programmed and then the various movements are controlled by magnetic fields. Such machines, which are only a few tens of micrometres across, could be used, for example, in the human body to perform small operations.

Life Sciences - Physics - 29.10.2019
Turning a dangerous toxin into a biosensor
Turning a dangerous toxin into a biosensor
Some bacteria release a toxin that forms pores on other cells. EPFL scientists have studied the pore-forming toxin aerolysin and genetically engineered it to be used as a high-resolution sensor for biological molecules like DNA and proteins. Image: Molecular simulation of an engineered aerolysin pore (light blue color) embedded into a membrane bilayer (cream color) and translocating DNA (red color).

Physics - 15.10.2019
Quantum physics: ménage à trois photon-style
Quantum physics: ménage à trois photon-style
Physicists from UNIGE have discovered a new quantum property: by placing three pairs of photons in a network, it is possible to entangle them and create new ultra-strong correlations. Entanglement is one of the properties specific to quantum particles. When two photons become entangled, for instance, the quantum state of the first will correlate perfectly with the quantum state of the second, even if they are at a distance from one another.

Physics - Music - 14.10.2019
Super light dampers for low tones
Super light dampers for low tones
A team of Empa acoustic researchers has built macroscopic crystal structures that use internal rotation to attenuate the propagation of waves. The method makes it possible to build very light and stiff materials that can also "swallow" low frequencies very well, as they report Communicatons. The world of crystals offers many interesting properties: crystals can strike electric sparks in disposable lighters, for example, they can produce polarized light and they can scatter bundled X-rays into thousands of individual reflexes that are refracted in all spatial directions.

Physics - Innovation - 11.10.2019
Controlling superconducting regions within an exotic metal
Controlling superconducting regions within an exotic metal
Researchers at EPFL have created a metallic microdevice in which they can define and tune patterns of superconductivity. Their discovery, which holds great promise for quantum technologies of the future, has just been published in Science. Superconductivity has fascinated scientists for many years since it offers the potential to revolutionize current technologies.

Physics - Computer Science / Telecom - 08.10.2019
Smaller than a coin
Smaller than a coin
ETH researchers have developed a compact infrared spectrometer. It's small enough to fit on a computer chip but can still open up interesting possibilities - in space and in everyday life. Nowadays, a mobile phone can do almost anything: take photos or video, send messages, determine its present location, and of course transmit telephone conversations.

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.

Astronomy / Space Science - Physics - 26.09.2019
A planet that should not exist
A planet that should not exist
Astronomers detected a giant planet orbiting a small star. The planet has much more mass than theoretical models predict. While this surprising discovery was made by a Spanish-German team at an observatory in southern Spain, researchers at the University of Bern studied how the mysterious exoplanet might have formed.

Physics - 19.09.2019
Quantum physics: beyond the logic of cause and effect
In classical, Newtonian theory, causality, the connection between cause and effect, is considered to sit at the core of physics: Causal thinking, together with the idea that absolute time and space are the pre-given stage for all physical events, have been dominating classical physics well into the twentieth century.

Chemistry - Physics - 17.09.2019
A molecular bridge further
A molecular bridge further
Electronics built from molecules could open up new possibilities in the miniaturization of circuits in the future. Empa researchers, together with partners from Switzerland, the Netherlands, Israel, and the UK, succeeded in solving a crucial detail in the realization of such circuit elements: A molecular bridge for electrons that remains mechanically and electronically stable at room temperature.

Physics - 09.09.2019
Making and controlling crystals of light
Making and controlling crystals of light
EPFL scientists have shown how light inside optical on-chip microresonators can be crystallized in a form of periodic pulse trains that can boost the performance of optical communication links or endow ultrafast LiDAR with sub-micron precision. Optical microresonators convert laser light into ultrashort pulses travelling around the resonator's circumference.
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