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Physics - 03.05.2019
New holographic technique opens the way for quantum computation
EPFL physicists have developed a method based on the principles of holograms to capture 3D images of objects beyond the reach of light. Photography measures how much light of different color hits the photographic film. However, light is also a wave, and is therefore characterized by the phase. Phase specifies the position of a point within the wave cycle and correlates to depth of information, meaning that recording the phase of light scattered by an object can retrieve its full 3D shape, which cannot be obtained with a simple photograph.

Materials Science - Physics - 02.05.2019
Watching concrete explode
Watching concrete explode
Even if concrete is not flammable, it can be hazardous in tunnel fires: high-performance concrete can explode at high temperatures. Although the phenomenon is well known, the physics behind it have not yet been fully understood. Empa researchers have now made the processes inside concrete visible for the first time using real-time-neutron radiography and tomography.

Chemistry - Physics - 29.04.2019
Record solar hydrogen production with concentrated sunlight
Record solar hydrogen production with concentrated sunlight
EPFL researchers have created a smart device capable of producing large amounts of clean hydrogen. By concentrating sunlight, their device uses a smaller amount of the rare, costly materials that are required to produce hydrogen, yet it still maintains a high solar-to-fuel efficiency. Their research has been taken to the next scale with a pilot facility installed on the EPFL campus.

Physics - Chemistry - 29.04.2019
Decoupled graphene thanks to potassium bromide
Decoupled graphene thanks to potassium bromide
The use of potassium bromide in the production of graphene on a copper surface can lead to better results. When potassium bromide molecules arrange themselves between graphene and copper, it results in electronic decoupling. This alters the electrical properties of the graphene produced, bringing them closer to pure graphene, as reported by physicists from the universities of Basel, Modena and Munich in the journal ACS Nano.

Astronomy / Space Science - Physics - 29.04.2019
Positive outcome from the CLASP-II solar physics experiment that involved IRSOL
Positive outcome from the CLASP-II solar physics experiment that involved IRSOL
Some of the CLASP-II scientists pose for a photograph in front of the rocket at White Sands Missile Range (New Mexico, USA) (image: U.S. Army, Louis Rosales) On April 11, 2019, at the NASA facility at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico (USA), the successful launch of a sounding rocket was performed as part of the "Chromospheric LAyer Spectro-Polarimeter" experiment (CLASP-II).

Physics - Materials Science - 25.04.2019
Unprecedented insight into two-dimensional magnets using diamond quantum sensors
Unprecedented insight into two-dimensional magnets using diamond quantum sensors
For the first time, physicists at the University of Basel have succeeded in measuring the magnetic properties of atomically thin van der Waals materials on the nanoscale. They used diamond quantum sensors to determine the strength of the magnetization of individual atomic layers of the material chromium triiodide.

Physics - Astronomy / Space Science - 24.04.2019
Researchers Observe Slowest Atom Decay Ever Measured
Researchers Observe Slowest Atom Decay Ever Measured
The XENON1T detector is mainly used to detect dark matter particles deep underground. But a research team led by Zurich physicists, among others, has now managed to observe an extremely rare process using the detector - the decay of the Xenon-124 atom, which has an enormously long half-life of 1.8 x 10^22 years.

Physics - 19.04.2019
Thermodynamic Magic Enables Cooling without Energy Consumption
Thermodynamic Magic Enables Cooling without Energy Consumption
Physicists at the University of Zurich have developed an amazingly simple device that allows heat to flow temporarily from a cold to a warm object without an external power supply. Intriguingly, the process initially appears to contradict the fundamental laws of physics. If you put a teapot of boiling water on the kitchen table, it will gradually cool down.

Physics - 04.04.2019
Detecting pollution with a compact laser source
Detecting pollution with a compact laser source
Researchers at EPFL have developed a simple mid-infrared laser source that can be used to detect pollution in the air or molecules in someone's breath. Their system takes up considerably less space than the large ones typically used for such tasks. Researchers at EPFL have come up with a new middle infrared light source that can detect greenhouse and other gases, as well as molecules in a person's breath.

Physics - Health - 02.04.2019
Harnessing photonics for at-home disease detection
Harnessing photonics for at-home disease detection
With nothing more than a photonic chip and an ordinary camera, EPFL researchers have managed to count biomolecules one by one in a small sample and determine their position. Their tiny device - a marriage of optics and smart image analysis - is even able to detect a graphene sheet only a single atom thick.

Chemistry - Physics - 01.04.2019

Physics - Chemistry - 29.03.2019
A compass pointing West
A compass pointing West
Researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI and ETH Zurich have discovered a special phenomenon of magnetism in the nano range. It enables magnets to be assembled in unusual configurations. This could be used to build computer memories and switches to increase the performance of microprocessors. The results of the work have now been published in the journal Science .

Physics - 25.03.2019
In a new quantum simulator, light behaves like a magnet
In a new quantum simulator, light behaves like a magnet
Physicists at EPFL propose a new "quantum simulator": a laser-based device that can be used to study a wide range of quantum systems. Studying it, the researchers have found that photons can behave like magnetic dipoles at temperatures close to absolute zero, following the laws of quantum mechanics.

Physics - 21.03.2019
LHCb sees a new flavour of matter-antimatter asymmetry
LHCb sees a new flavour of matter-antimatter asymmetry
The LHCb collaboration at CERN 1 has seen, for the first time, the matter-antimatter asymmetry known as CP violation in a particle dubbed the D0 meson. The finding, presented today at the annual Rencontres de Moriond conference and in a dedicated CERN seminar , is sure to make it into the textbooks of particle physics.

Physics - Chemistry - 20.03.2019
Precision work for large molecules
Precision work for large molecules
Quantum cascade lasers are able to measure the smallest molecules with high precision. But the technology has failed to measure larger gas molecules - until now! Empa researchers have succeeded in quantifying ethanol, an important organic molecule, with the aid of such a laser. In collaboration with the Swiss Federal Institute of Metrology (METAS), a team of researchers has successfully developed a method for determining the concentration of ethanol in a gas mixture with a very high proportion of water vapour and carbon dioxide.

Physics - Materials Science - 08.03.2019
Super superlattices: The moiré patterns of three layers change the electronic properties of graphene
Super superlattices: The moiré patterns of three layers change the electronic properties of graphene
Combining an atomically thin graphene and a boron nitride layer at a slightly rotated angle changes their electrical properties. Physicists at the University of Basel have now shown for the first time the combination with a third layer can result in new material properties also in a three-layer sandwich of carbon and boron nitride.

Life Sciences - Physics - 04.03.2019
Directed evolution builds nanoparticles
Directed evolution builds nanoparticles
Directed evolution is a powerful technique for engineering proteins. EPFL scientists now show that it can also be used to engineer synthetic nanoparticles as optical biosensors, which are used widely in biology, drug development, and even medical diagnostics such as real-time monitoring of glucose. The 2018 Nobel Prize in Chemistry went to three scientists who developed the method that forever changed protein engineering: directed evolution.

Physics - Electroengineering - 20.02.2019
The holy grail of nanowire production
The holy grail of nanowire production
EPFL researchers have found a way to control and standardize the production of nanowires on silicon surfaces. This discovery could make it possible to grow nanowires on electronic platforms, with potential applications including the integration of nanolasers into electronic chips and improved energy conversion in solar panels.

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.