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Physics/Materials Science



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Chemistry - Physics/Materials Science
28.04.2017
Control of molecular motion by metal-plated 3D printed plastic pieces
Control of molecular motion by metal-plated 3D printed plastic pieces
EPFL scientists have combined 3D-printing with electroplating to easily produce high-quality metal electrodes that can be used as a molecular beam-splitter. Many measurement techniques, such as spectroscopy, benefit from the ability to split a single beam of light into two in order to measure changes in one of them.
Physics/Materials Science
27.04.2017
Light can improve perovskite solar cell performance
Light can improve perovskite solar cell performance
Publishing in Nature, EPFL scientists show how light affects perovskite film formation in solar cells, which is a critical factor in using them for cost-effective and energy-efficient photovoltaics.  Perovskites are materials of immense interest in solar energy technology lately, as they promise to bring down the cost of solar cells to very low levels.
Physics/Materials Science - Chemistry
26.04.2017
Caught in the act
Caught in the act
As of October 2017, newly launched car models will have to pass more stringent exhaust gas tests in the EU and in Switzerland. The new test method includes measuring drives in actual traf-fic. Empa already tested currently available cars with the new method - with alarming results. By now, it's no secret: the certification requirements for cars in the EU and in Switzerland have precious little to do with the cars' actual exhaust emissions on the roads.
Physics/Materials Science
25.04.2017
A simplified fabrication process for high efficiency solar cells
A simplified fabrication process for high efficiency solar cells
A team of EPFL and CSEM researchers in Neuchâtel has featured in Nature Energy with an astonishing new method for the creation of crystalline solar cells. These cells have electrical contacts at the back, which removes all shadowing at the front. Thanks to this new inexpensive approach, the fabrication process is greatly simplified, with efficiencies in the laboratory already surpassing 23%.
Physics/Materials Science - Chemistry
19.04.2017
Gelatine instead of forearm
Gelatine instead of forearm
The characteristics of human skin are heavily dependent on the hydration of the tissue - in simple terms, the water content.
Physics/Materials Science - Microtechnics/Electroengineering
13.04.2017
Shedding light on the absorption of light by titanium dioxide
Shedding light on the absorption of light by titanium dioxide
EPFL scientists have uncovered the hidden properties of titanium dioxide, one of the most promising materials for light-conversion technology. Figure Caption : Lattice structure of anatase TiO 2 with a graphical representation of the 2D exciton that is generated by the absorption of light (purple wavy arrow).
Physics/Materials Science - Computer Science/Telecom
06.04.2017
Unraveling the mystery of snowflakes, from the Alps to Antarctica
Unraveling the mystery of snowflakes, from the Alps to Antarctica
Using a special multi-angle camera, EPFL researchers have gained important insights into the structure of snowflakes. Their aim is to improve the accuracy of snowfall measurements and winter weather forecasts. Imagine taking pictures of thousands of snowflakes from three different angles with a specialized instrument installed at an altitude of 2,500 meters.
Physics/Materials Science
04.04.2017
Platelets instead of quantum dots
Platelets instead of quantum dots
A team of researchers led by ETH Zurich professor David Norris has developed a model to clarify the general mechanism of nanoplatelet formation. Using pyrite, they also managed to confirm their theory. Scientists have been researching luminous coloured quantum dots (QDs) since the 1980s. These nanocrystals are now part of our everyday lives: the electronics industry uses them in LCD televisions to enhance colour reproduction and image quality.
Physics/Materials Science - Chemistry
30.03.2017
Nanomagnets for future data storage
Nanomagnets for future data storage
An international team of researchers led by chemists from ETH Zurich have developed a method for depositing single magnetisable atoms onto a surface. This is especially interesting for the development of new miniature data storage devices. The idea is intriguing: if only a single atom or small molecule was needed for a single unit of data (a zero or a one in the case of binary digital technology), massive volumes of data could be stored in the tiniest amount of space.
Physics/Materials Science - Business/Economics
22.03.2017
Camouflage apples
Camouflage apples
On the long journey from the fruit plantation to the retailer's shelf, fruits can quickly perish. In particular, the refrigeration inside the cargo containers is not always guaranteed and existing methods for measuring the temperature are not sufficiently reliable.
Physics/Materials Science - Chemistry
09.03.2017
Storing data in single-atom magnets
Storing data in single-atom magnets
Scientists at IBM and EPFL have shown for the first time that it is possible to store in and retrieve information from single-atom magnets. The breakthrough can have significant implications for the miniaturization of magnetic memory devices. As memory devices are becoming increasingly smaller, it was hypothesized whether the elementary storage unit could one day be as small as a single atom.
Physics/Materials Science - Microtechnics/Electroengineering
09.03.2017
Artificial magnetic fields for photons
Artificial magnetic fields for photons
Light particles do not usually react to magnetic fields. Researchers at ETH Zurich have now shown how photons can still be influenced by electric and magnetic fields. In the future that method could be used to create strong artificial magnetic fields for photons. In modern information technology there is a rather clear division of labour between light particles (photons), used for transmitting data fast and reliably over large distances, and electrons, which are responsible for data processing in computer chips.
Physics/Materials Science
09.03.2017
Soft sensors for smart textiles
Soft sensors for smart textiles
Researchers from Empa in St. Gallen have succeeded in producing optic fibers for sensors that are ideal for textiles. This would enable hospitals to monitor whether a patient is developing pressure sores, for instance. Thanks to a melting technique, the team headed by Luciano Boesel from the materials research institution Empa produced what are known as polymer optic fibers in a particularly flexible form.
Physics/Materials Science
14.02.2017
Frequency combs: on-chip integration on track
Frequency combs: on-chip integration on track
EPFL scientists have found a way to miniaturize frequency combs, realizing a new step toward miniaturization of such tools. Their device can measure light oscillations with a precision of 12 digits. A compact, precision tool for counting and tracking laser frequencies may improve atomic clocks and optical data transmission devices.
Physics/Materials Science - Chemistry
14.02.2017
Measuring entropy
Measuring entropy
A scanning-tunneling microscope (STM), used to study changes in the shape of a single molecule at the atomic scale, impacts the ability of that molecule to make these changes - the entropy of the molecule is changed and, in turn, can be measured.
Physics/Materials Science - Computer Science/Telecom
14.02.2017
Success by deception
Success by deception
Theoretical physicists from ETH Zurich deliberately misled intelligent machines, and thus refined the process of machine learning. They created a new method that allows computers to categorise data - even when humans have no idea what this categorisation might look like. When computers independently identify bodies of water and their outlines in satellite images, or beat the world's best professional players at the board game Go, then adaptive algorithms are working in the background.
Physics/Materials Science - Mathematics
10.02.2017
Taming complexity
Taming complexity
Quantum systems consisting of many particles are a major challenge for physicists, since their behaviour can be determined only with immense computational power. ETH physicists have now discovered an elegant way to simplify the problem. Classical physics offers a relatively easy approach to describing how objects move in our everyday world.
Physics/Materials Science
08.02.2017
Measuring time without a clock
Measuring time without a clock
EPFL scientists have been able to measure the ultrashort time delay in electron photoemission without using a clock. The discovery has important implications for fundamental research and cutting-edge technology.
Medicine/Pharmacology - Physics/Materials Science
19.01.2017
Added value for cancer patients
Added value for cancer patients
For more than 30 years, cancer patients have been coming to the small locality of Villigen on the Aare River.
Chemistry - Physics/Materials Science
17.01.2017
An ultrafast light source in a laboratory format
An ultrafast light source in a laboratory format
Researchers at ETH Zurich and the University of Geneva have succeeded for the first time in using a laboratory X-ray source to demonstrate how two highly fluorinated molecules change within a few quadrillionths of a second, or femtoseconds. In nature, some processes occur so quickly that even the blink of an eye is very slow in comparison.
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