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Physics / Materials Science - Life Sciences - 24.05.2018
New sensor can
New sensor can "feel" clothes
If you want to design a fluffy sweater or a sleek shirt, you have to predict the properties of textile surfaces.

Life Sciences - Physics / Materials Science - 21.05.2018
Observing cellular activity, one molecule at a time
Using a new mode of atomic force microscopy, researchers at EPFL have found a way to see and measure protein assembly in real time and with unprecedented detail. Proteins and molecules assemble and disassemble naturally as part of many essential biological processes. It is very difficult to observe these mechanisms, which are often complex and take place at the nanometer scale, far smaller than the normal visible range.

Chemistry - Physics / Materials Science - 16.05.2018
«Research should be fun»
«Research should be fun»
Research should set things in motion. This is the motto of Matthias Koebel, Head of Empa's Building Energy Materials and Components lab. The chemist has ambitious goals and successfully combines an inquisitive spirit with entrepreneurial flair. Matthias Koebel is a pragmatic. One who not only understands things but also wants to use them.

Medicine / Pharmacology - Physics / Materials Science - 14.05.2018
Opening: Advanced technology against cancer
Opening: Advanced technology against cancer
New treatment unit for proton therapy at PSI is inaugurated With millimetre precision, certain tumours can be irradiated at the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI using protons - that is, positively charged elementary particles.

Physics / Materials Science - 08.05.2018
Through the pores into the skin
Through the pores into the skin
Even if the wound looks superficially harmless, steam burns must be cooled persistently. Empa researchers have now been able to show for the first time how hot steam achieves its vicious effect: It penetrates the upper skin layer and can cause severe burns in the lower skin layers - initially almost invisible.

Physics / Materials Science - Environment / Sustainable Development - 07.05.2018
Sun protection without blinds
Sun protection without blinds
Summer. Blue sky. Sunshine. But you don't notice much of it in the office or in your home, because the blinds block the view so that the heat stays outside.

Chemistry - Physics / Materials Science - 30.04.2018
One step further towards cheap aluminium
One step further towards cheap aluminium
The energy transition depends on technologies that allow the inexpensive temporary storage of electricity from renewable sources. A promising new candidate is aluminium batteries, which are made from cheap and abundant raw materials. Scientists from Maksym Kovalenko's research group, which is based at both ETH Zurich and in Empa's Laboratory for Thin Films and Photovoltaics , are researching and developing batteries made from abundant raw materials.

Chemistry - Physics / Materials Science - 30.04.2018
A step towards cheap aluminium batteries
A step towards cheap aluminium batteries
The energy transition depends on technologies that allow the inexpensive temporary storage of electricity from renewable sources. A promising new candidate is aluminium batteries, which are made from cheap and abundant raw materials. Scientists from Maksym Kovalenko's research group, which is based at both ETH Zurich and in Empa's Laboratory for Thin Films and Photovoltaics , are researching and developing batteries made from abundant raw materials.

Physics / Materials Science - Mechanical Engineering / Mechanics - 26.04.2018
Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen paradox observed in many-particle system for the first time
Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen paradox observed in many-particle system for the first time
Physicists from the University of Basel have observed the quantum mechanical Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen paradox in a system of several hundred interacting atoms for the first time. The phenomenon dates back to a famous thought experiment from 1935. It allows measurement results to be predicted precisely and could be used in new types of sensors and imaging methods for electromagnetic fields.

Chemistry - Physics / Materials Science - 26.04.2018
Traces in scrap
Traces in scrap
Last year Empa's inorganic analytics lab was granted the status of "Reference Laboratory" within the scope of the ProSUM project, funded by the EU. Fine-grained samples of shredder waste from scrapped cars, e-waste or mine dumps from all over Europe end up here. Empa chemists find out what is in them, what is worth extracting and what could be dangerous for staff at recycling plants.

Astronomy - Physics / Materials Science - 17.04.2018
Meteorite diamonds tell of a lost planet
Meteorite diamonds tell of a lost planet
Using transmission electron microscopy, EPFL scientists have examined a slice from a meteorite that contains large diamonds formed at high pressure. The study shows that the parent body from which the meteorite came was a planetary embryo of a size between Mercury to Mars. The discovery is published.

Physics / Materials Science - Chemistry - 13.04.2018
Individual impurity atoms detectable in graphene
Individual impurity atoms detectable in graphene
A team including physicists from the University of Basel has succeeded in using atomic force microscopy to clearly obtain images of individual impurity atoms in graphene ribbons. Thanks to the forces measured in the graphene's two-dimensional carbon lattice, they were able to identify boron and nitrogen for the first time, as the researchers report Advances.

Physics / Materials Science - Chemistry - 03.04.2018
Using water molecules to read electrical activity in lipid membranes
Using water molecules to read electrical activity in lipid membranes
EPFL researchers were able to map out in real time how charges are transported across and along membranes simply by observing the behavior of adjacent water molecules. Their non-invasive and label-free method represents a valuable new tool in the effort to understand how cells - and neurons in particular - function.

Physics / Materials Science - Chemistry - 26.03.2018
New Method Speeds Up Development of Medication
New Method Speeds Up Development of Medication
One of the key steps in developing new drugs is determining the atomic structure of its biologically active substances. This generally involves performing X-ray analyses of single crystal structures to determine the ingredient's detailed three-dimensional set-up. However, growing suitable single crystals is often a complex and time-consuming process.

Chemistry - Physics / Materials Science - 20.03.2018
The world's first formic acid-based fuel cell
The world's first formic acid-based fuel cell
Scientists at EPFL and GRT Group have built the world's first integrated power supply unit that can produce electricity from formic acid, using a fuel cell in an energy-efficient, safe, cost-effective, and sustainable way.

Chemistry - Physics / Materials Science - 13.03.2018
Cleaner diesel emissions
Cleaner diesel emissions
More effective control of diesel nitrogen oxides through dosed addition of ammonia In diesel engines, the burning of the fuel releases nitrogen oxides (NOx), which are harmful to human health. The automobile industry therefore developed a technique that reduces these emissions: Gaseous ammonia is added to the exhaust and, prompted by a catalyst, reacts with the nitrogen oxides to produce harmless nitrogen and water.

Physics / Materials Science - Chemistry - 08.03.2018
Strom on demand
Strom on demand
If photovoltaic or wind power plants produce more electricity than the network can absorb, valuable energy is lost. At the ESI Platform, PSI researchers are investigating how fuel cells can contribute to making this energy usable in a targeted way through storage. The power network cannot store energy.

Physics / Materials Science - Microtechnics / Electroengineering - 06.03.2018
A treasure trove for nanotechnology experts
A treasure trove for nanotechnology experts
A team from EPFL and NCCR Marvel has identified more than 1,000 materials with a particularly interesting 2D structure. Their research, which made the cover page of Nature Nanotechnlogy, paves the way for groundbreaking technological applications. 2D materials, which consist of a few layers of atoms, may well be the future of nanotechnology.

Physics / Materials Science - 02.03.2018
Controlling skyrmions with lasers
EPFL scientists have produced controllable stable skyrmions using laser pulses, taking a step towards significantly more energy-efficient memory devices. The work is published in Physical Review Letters. A skyrmion is a collection of electron spins that look like a vortex in certain magnetic materials.

Physics / Materials Science - Chemistry - 01.03.2018
One Atom to Rule Them All: A New Class of Quantum Matter Observed
One Atom to Rule Them All: A New Class of Quantum Matter Observed
Scientists have observed a new class of quantum matter at the very smallest scales in one of the coldest environments ever made. This discovery could pave the way for new technologies including innovations in superconductivity and other cutting-edge fields. The researchers examined the behavior of matter on the atomic and subatomic scales - known as "quantum matter" - where a large number of particles interact with each other.
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