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Health - Physics - 22.01.2020
Portable device helps doctors diagnose sepsis faster
Portable device helps doctors diagnose sepsis faster
EPFL researchers have developed a highly sensitive and portable optical biosensor that stands to accelerate the diagnosis of fatal conditions like sepsis. It could be used by ambulances and hospitals to improve the triage process and save lives. Sepsis claims one life every four seconds. It is the primary cause of death in hospitals, and one of the ten leading causes of death worldwide.

Physics - Chemistry - 20.01.2020
Platelets instead of spheres make screens more economical
Platelets instead of spheres make screens more economical
ETH scientists have further developed QLED technology for screens. They have produced light sources that for the first time emit high-intensity light in only one direction. This reduces scattering losses, which makes the technology extremely energy efficient. QLED screens have been on the market for a few years now.

Astronomy / Space Science - Physics - 15.01.2020
Interstellar journey of life's building block phosphorus unveiled
Interstellar journey of life’s building block phosphorus unveiled
Phosphorus, present in our DNA and cell membranes, is an essential element for life. But how it became available on the early Earth when life appeared here about 4 billion years ago is something of a mystery. For the first time, astronomers - among them researchers from the University of Bern - have now been able to show that molecules with phosphorus are formed in star-forming regions and probably came to Earth with comets.

Physics - 10.01.2020
Unexpected twist in a quantum system
Unexpected twist in a quantum system
Physicists at ETH Zurich have observed a surprising twist in a quantum system caused by the interplay between energy dissipation and coherent quantum dynamics. To explain it, they found a concrete analogy to mechanics. "No scientist thinks in formulae", Albert Einstein allegedly once told his colleague Leopold Infeld.

Physics - Astronomy / Space Science - 08.01.2020
A neural network as an anchor point
A neural network as an anchor point
Quantum mechanics is a well-established theory, but at a macroscopic level it leads to intractable contradictions. Now ETH physicists are proposing to resolve the problem with the aid of neural networks. Necessity is the mother of invention.

Physics - Mathematics - 07.01.2020
Indeterminist physics for an open world
Indeterminist physics for an open world
A physicist suggests that the mathematical language spoken by classical physics should be changed to make room for indeterminism and an open future. Classical physics is characterised by the precision of its equations describing the evolution of the world as determined by the initial conditions of the Big Bang - meaning there is no room for chance.

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.
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