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Electroengineering - Physics - 15.02.2019
A transformer to drive the transition from AC to DC
A transformer to drive the transition from AC to DC
EPFL researchers have developed a compact and efficient medium-frequency transformer. Their device is poised to enhance the flexibility and efficiency of tomorrow's smart grids and DC power distribution networks. An EPFL-made prototype has been thoroughly tested and presented in several tutorials designed for experts from the academic and industrial worlds.

Physics - Materials Science - 12.02.2019
Next-generation optics in just two minutes of cooking time
Next-generation optics in just two minutes of cooking time
One of the key building blocks of flexible photonic circuits and ultra-thin optics are metasurfaces. And EPFL engineers have now discovered a simple way of making these surfaces in just a few minutes - without needing a clean room - using a method already employed in manufacturing. Their findings have just been published.

Physics - 08.02.2019
Cryo-force spectroscopy reveals the mechanical properties of DNA components
Cryo-force spectroscopy reveals the mechanical properties of DNA components
Physicists from the University of Basel have developed a new method to examine the elasticity and binding properties of DNA molecules on a surface at extremely low temperatures. With a combination of cryo-force spectroscopy and computer simulations, they were able to show that DNA molecules behave like a chain of small coil springs.

Physics - Environment - 04.02.2019
Precious metal tracks nanoplastics
Precious metal tracks nanoplastics
Tiny plastic particles measuring about 100 nanometres (millionths of a millimetre) are used in many products, for example to encapsulate dye or aromatic substances or as additives to shampoos and cosmetics. Many of them land directly in sewage as soon as the products are used. Together with other plastics, for example from tyre rubber in road run-off, they end up in the water-treatment plants.

Physics - Life Sciences - 01.02.2019
Virtual lens improves X-ray microscopy
PSI researchers are first to transfer state-of-the-art microscopy method to X-ray imaging X-rays provide unique insights into the interior of materials, tissues, and cells. Researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI have developed a new method that makes X-ray images even better: The resolution is higher and allows more precise inferences about the properties of materials.

Physics - Chemistry - 18.01.2019
Hand-knitted Molecules
Hand-knitted Molecules
Molecules are usually formed in reaction vessels or laboratory flasks. An Empa research team has now succeeded in producing molecules between two microscopically small, movable gold tips - in a sense as a "hand-knitted" unique specimen. The properties of the molecules can be monitored in real time while they are being produced.

Physics - Innovation / Technology - 15.01.2019
International collaboration publishes concept design for a post-LHC future circular collider at CERN
International collaboration publishes concept design for a post-LHC future circular collider at CERN
Geneva. Today, the Future Circular Collider (FCC) collaboration submitted its Conceptual Design Report (CDR) for publication, a four-volume document that presents the different options for a large circular collider of the future. It showcases the great physics opportunities offered by machines of unprecedented energy and intensity and describes the technical challenges, cost and schedule for realisation.

Astronomy / Space Science - Physics - 14.01.2019
Measurement of five flashes from the depths of the universe
Measurement of five flashes from the depths of the universe
First-time precise measurement of gamma-ray bursts conducted successfully from a space station A detector called POLAR, developed at PSI, has been sent to outer space to collect data. In September 2016, the device was launched into Earth orbit on board the newest Chinese space station. From that vantage point, POLAR recorded so-called gamma-ray bursts flashing in the far reaches of the universe.

Physics - 04.01.2019
Excitons pave the way to more efficient electronics
Excitons pave the way to more efficient electronics
After developing a method to control exciton flows at room temperature, EPFL scientists have discovered new properties of these quasiparticles that can lead to more energy-efficient electronic devices. They were the first to control exciton flows at room temperature. And now, the team of scientists from EPFL's Laboratory of Nanoscale Electronics and Structures (LANES) has taken their technology one step further.

Physics - 17.12.2018
Data storage using individual molecules
Data storage using individual molecules
Researchers from the University of Basel have reported a new method that allows the physical state of just a few atoms or molecules within a network to be controlled. It is based on the spontaneous self-organization of molecules into extensive networks with pores about one nanometer in size. In the journal small, the physicists reported on their investigations, which could be of particular importance for the development of new storage devices.

Life Sciences - Physics - 11.12.2018
Using water molecules to unlock neurons' secrets
EPFL researchers have developed a method to observe the electrical activity of neurons by analyzing the behavior of surrounding water molecules. This simple and non-invasive method, which could eliminate the need for electrodes and fluorophores, can be used to monitor the activity within a single neuron or potentially on an entire region of the brain.

Physics - 03.12.2018
LHC prepares for new achievements
LHC prepares for new achievements
Geneva, 3 December 2018. Early this morning, operators of the CERN Control Centre turned off the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), ending the very successful second run of the world's most powerful particle accelerator. CERN's accelerator complex will be stopped for about two years to enable major upgrade and renovation works.

Physics - Computer Science / Telecom - 07.11.2018
A burst of
A burst of "synchronous" light
Excited photo-emitters can cooperate and radiate simultaneously, a phenomenon called superfluorescence. Researchers from Empa and ETH Zurich, together with colleagues from IBM Research Zurich, have recently been able to create this effect with long-range ordered nanocrystal superlattices. This discovery could enable future developments in LED lighting, quantum sensing, quantum communication and future quantum computing.

Chemistry - Physics - 05.11.2018
New material cleans and splits water
New material cleans and splits water
Researchers at EPFL's Institute of Chemical Sciences and Engineering have developed a photocatalytic system based on a material in the class of metal-organic frameworks. The system can be used to degrade pollutants present in water while simultaneously producing hydrogen that can be captured and used further.

Physics - Innovation / Technology - 05.11.2018
How to certify a quantum computer
Researchers have developed a protocol for checking that quantum computer components function as they should. That's a critical step in making the promise of quantum computing - including unprecedented computing power - a reality. Quantum computers are being developed by teams working not only at universities but also at Google, IBM, Microsoft and D-Wave, a start-up company.

Physics - Chemistry - 29.10.2018
AI and NMR spectroscopy determine atoms configuration in record time
AI and NMR spectroscopy determine atoms configuration in record time
EPFL scientists have developed a machine-learning approach that can be combined with experiments to determine, in record time, the location of atoms in powdered solids. Their method can be applied to complex molecules containing thousands of atoms and could be of particular interest to the pharmaceutical industry.

Physics - Chemistry - 26.10.2018
Making the impossible possible
Making the impossible possible
A new material for energy-efficient data storage reaches computer operating temperature Multiferroics are considered miraculous materials for future data storage - as long as their special properties can be preserved at computer operating temperatures. This task has now been accomplished by researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI, with colleagues from Institut Laue-Langevin ILL in Grenoble.

Life Sciences - Physics - 10.10.2018
This time, it's all bio: SwissFEL makes protein structures visible
This time, it’s all bio: SwissFEL makes protein structures visible
Successful pilot experiment on biomolecules at the newest large research facility of PSI For the development of new medicinal agents, accurate knowledge of biological processes in the body is a prerequisite. Here proteins play a crucial role. At the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI, the X-ray free-electron laser SwissFEL has now, for the first time, directed its strong light onto protein crystals and made their structures visible.

Physics - Chemistry - 09.10.2018
Metal leads to the desired configuration
Metal leads to the desired configuration
Scientists at the University of Basel have found a way to change the spatial arrangement of bipyridine molecules on a surface. These potential components of dye-sensitized solar cells form complexes with metals and thereby alter their chemical conformation. The results of this interdisciplinary collaboration between chemists and physicists from Basel were recently published in the scientific journal ACS Omega.

Physics - 04.10.2018
Why does concrete swell and crack?
Why does concrete swell and crack?
When bridges, dam walls and concrete foundations form cracks, AAR is often the culprit: the alkali-aggregate reaction. It causes the concrete to swell and renders renovations or even reconstructions necessary. A project funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) and coordinated by Empa is studying the "concrete disease".
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