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Chemistry - Environment - 12.04.2024
Will plastics soon be easier to degrade?
Will plastics soon be easier to degrade?
A research team has developed a new type of polymer, the main component of plastics, which is more easily degradable than conventional materials. Mechanical treatment such as grinding, combined with the use of an alkaline solution, is all that's needed to facilitate chemical recycling and reduce environmental impact .

Chemistry - Life Sciences - 08.04.2024
Protecting art and passwords with biochemistry
Protecting art and passwords with biochemistry
A new molecular test method helps to prove the authenticity of works of art. The new method could also help to make passwords secure against quantum computers. Security experts fear Q-Day, the day when quantum computers become so powerful that they can crack today's passwords. Some experts estimate that this day will come within the next ten years.

Chemistry - Physics - 27.03.2024
Deciphering a dance of electrons and water molecules
Deciphering a dance of electrons and water molecules
A research project at EPFL succeeded in decoding the complex dance of electrons in water, a major step in understanding a critical process of many chemical phenomena, and that might be the first step to improving energy conversion technologies. Water, the cradle of life on Earth, is not just a passive backdrop but actively participates in the chemical ballet of life.

Chemistry - 18.03.2024
Using light to produce medication and plastics more efficiently
Using light to produce medication and plastics more efficiently
Anyone who wants to produce medication, plastics or fertilizer using conventional methods needs heat for chemical reactions - but not so with photochemistry, where light provides the energy. The process to achieve the desired product also often takes fewer intermediate steps. Researchers from the University of Basel are now going one step further and are demonstrating how the energy efficiency of photochemical reactions can be increased tenfold.

Chemistry - Materials Science - 06.03.2024
Quest for materials with defects
Quest for materials with defects
Is it possible to convert CO2 back to fuels or other useful chemicals? Absolutely - but not in a very targeted way just yet. Empa researcher Alessandro Senocrate is looking at defects in materials that will help us achieve this goal. Can we undo the burning of oil, gas and coal? With a renewable source of electricity, some water and a suitable catalyst, the excess CO2 in the atmosphere could become a resource, for example for the production of synthetic fuels, so-called synfuels.

Physics - Chemistry - 05.03.2024
A new theoretical development clarifies water's electronic structure
A new theoretical development clarifies water's electronic structure
Scientists at EPFL have decoded the electronic structure of water, opening up new perspectives for technological and environmental applications. There is no doubt that water is significant. Without it, life would never have begun, let alone continue today - not to mention its role in the environment itself, with oceans covering over 70% of Earth.

Physics - Chemistry - 20.02.2024
It's the spin that makes the difference
It’s the spin that makes the difference
Biomolecules such as amino acids and sugars occur in two mirror-image forms - in all living organisms, however, only one is ever found. Why this is the case is still unclear. Researchers at Empa and Forschungszentrum Jülich in Germany have now found evidence that the interplay between electric and magnetic fields could be at the origin of this phenomenon.

Chemistry - Environment - 20.02.2024
A sustainable fuel and chemical from the robotic lab
A sustainable fuel and chemical from the robotic lab
Artificial intelligence and automated laboratory infrastructure are massively accelerating the development of new chemical catalysts. With these tools, researchers at ETH Zurich are developing catalysts for efficiently and cost-effectively synthesising the energy source methanol from CO2. Catalysts are chemistry's hard-working little helpers.

Chemistry - Computer Science - 07.02.2024
GPT-3 transforms chemical research
GPT-3 transforms chemical research
Scientists at EPFL demonstrate how GPT-3 can transform chemical analysis, making it faster and more user-friendly. Artificial intelligence is growing into a pivotal tool in chemical research, offering novel methods to tackle complex challenges that traditional approaches struggle with. One subtype of artificial intelligence that has seen increasing use in chemistry is machine learning, which uses algorithms and statistical models to make decisions based on data and perform tasks that it has not been explicitly programmed for.

Physics - Chemistry - 31.01.2024
How to make bright quantum dots even brighter
How to make bright quantum dots even brighter
Researchers at Empa and ETH have developed methods for making perovskite quantum dots faster and more efficient emitters, thereby significantly improving their brightness. This is relevant for applications in displays as well as in quantum technologies. Quantum dots are a kind of artificial atom: just a few nanometres in size and made of semiconductor materials, they can emit light of a specific colour or even single photons, which is important for quantum technologies.

Life Sciences - Chemistry - 25.01.2024
'Mini-placentas' shed light on early events that are key for a successful pregnancy
’Mini-placentas’ shed light on early events that are key for a successful pregnancy
The placenta provides oxygen and nutrients to a growing baby, but its early interactions with a mother's uterus remain an enigma.

Pharmacology - Chemistry - 22.01.2024
New agent blocks stress response
New agent blocks stress response
If the body's natural stress response gets knocked off balance, it can result in physical and mental health disorders. Researchers at ETH Zurich have developed an agent capable of selectively inhibiting this response. Stress isn't merely an oppressive feeling we experience when we're overwhelmed; it's the body's natural reaction to acute or persistent strain.

Environment - Chemistry - 12.01.2024
Capturing greenhouse gases with the help of light
Capturing greenhouse gases with the help of light
Researchers at ETH Zurich are developing a new method to remove CO2 from the atmosphere. It involves molecules that become acidic when exposed to light. Their new process requires much less energy than conventional technologies. If we want to slow down global warming, we need to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Chemistry - Agronomy / Food Science - 05.12.2023
How to identify vintage wines by their chemical signature
How to identify vintage wines by their chemical signature
A team of researchers has revealed how to find the exact origin of a wine based solely on its chemical components. Does every wine carry its own chemical signature and, if so, can this be used to identify its origin? Many specialists have tried to solve this mystery, without fully succeeding.

Physics - Chemistry - 04.12.2023
Watching electrons at work
Watching electrons at work
Researchers from ETH Zurich, Empa and Stanford have taken snapshots of the crystal structure of perovskite nanocrystals as it was deformed by excited electrons. To their surprise, the deformation straightened out the skewed crystal structure rather than making it more disordered. Many a scientific and technical problem could be solved easily if it were possible to look inside a material and watch its atoms and electrons wiggle about in real time.

Life Sciences - Chemistry - 27.11.2023
Molecular cooperation at the threshold of life
Molecular cooperation at the threshold of life
Protein-like aggregates known as amyloids can bind to molecules of genetic material. It is possible that these two types of molecules stabilised each other during the development of life - and that this might even have paved the way for the genetic code. How organisms develop from inanimate matter is one of the biggest questions in science.

Chemistry - Pharmacology - 23.11.2023
Artificial intelligence finds ways to develop new drugs
Artificial intelligence finds ways to develop new drugs
A new AI model developed by chemists at ETH Zurich can not only predict where a pharmaceutically active molecule can be chemically modified, but also how best to do it. This makes it possible to identify new pharmaceutical ingredients more quickly and improve existing ones in a targeted manner. New active pharmaceutical ingredients lay the foundations for innovative and better medical treatments.

Life Sciences - Chemistry - 17.11.2023
A Bandpass Filter for Synthetic Biology
A Bandpass Filter for Synthetic Biology
Scientists have crafted a biological system that mimics an electronic bandpass filter, a novel sensor that could revolutionize self-regulated biological mechanisms in synthetic biology. Synthetic biology holds the promise of enhancing and modifying biological systems into innumerable new technologies for the benefit of society.

Life Sciences - Chemistry - 10.11.2023
The incredible architectural complexity of plants
The incredible architectural complexity of plants
Ensuring growth and development, sometimes sustained, without risking fragility. This is the delicate balance facing plants.

Chemistry - Environment - 24.10.2023
New design solves stability and efficiency of perovskite solar cells
New design solves stability and efficiency of perovskite solar cells
Researchers at EPFL and Northwestern University unveil a groundbreaking design for perovskite solar cells, creating one of the most stable PSCs with a power-conversion efficiency above 25%, paving the way for future commercialization. Perovskite solar cells (PSCs) stand at the forefront of solar energy innovation, and have drawn a lot of attention for their power-conversion efficiency and cost-effective manufacturing.
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