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Materials Science - Life Sciences - 05.04.2016
Germs don’t stand a chance
Enzymes from fungi, bacteria and plants render wood resistant to decomposing and pathogenic microorganisms.

Materials Science - Environment - 05.04.2016
Reaching for the sun
Wood has one particular property that tends to cause problems: it swells when it gets wet. As this occurs according to strict rules, however, a team of Empa researchers is looking to produce wooden building components that move automatically.

Materials Science - Environment - 05.04.2016
Fireproof hybrid wood
Fireproof hybrid wood
For centuries, wood has been a popular light, solid building material. Moreover, it is a renewable and easily recyclable raw material - with one drawback: wood burns. But this doesn't necessarily have to be that way, as researchers from Empa demonstrate. Ecological construction is all the rage. Aspects such as the sustainability and energy efficiency of buildings are crucial.

Materials Science - Environment - 05.04.2016
Skyscrapers made of bamboo concrete
Bamboo is a feat of nature. After all, this member of the grass family contains fibers that are as strong as steel.

Materials Science - 05.04.2016
Wood with additional functions
Wood is robust and versatile. But even the best material has its limits. Empa researchers are thus looking to transform wood into a high-tech material and broaden the range of applications for this natural resource. The trick: they give wood additional, unexpected properties. Over the millennia, our ancestors have improved the properties of wood by developing varnishes, paints or other methods.

Materials Science - Electroengineering - 05.04.2016
Electrosprayed artificial muscles
Electrosprayed artificial muscles
Researchers from Empa and the University of Basel have developed a new method of electrospraying which enables artificial muscles to be fabricated from nanometer-thin silicone layers.

Physics - Materials Science - 04.04.2016
The beaming Italian
About 18 months ago, Davide Bleiner took over the helm at Empa's Laboratory for Advanced Analytical Technologies.

Materials Science - Environment - 01.04.2016
Patrick Wäger becomes head of laboratory
There will be a new face at the helm of the Empa "Technology and Society" laboratory, with Patrick Wäger heading up the department from May 2016.

Life Sciences - Materials Science - 22.03.2016
Support for diagnostics researcher
Support for diagnostics researcher
Proteins are important indicators in diagnosing diseases. A young ETH researcher has developed a method by which it is possible to test minute amounts of blood for different proteins in parallel. He has received an ETH Zurich Pioneer Fellowship for his work. Together with a fellow student, he wants to turn his test into a marketable product.

Music - Materials Science - 11.03.2016
Varnish affects the sound of a violin
Varnish affects the sound of a violin
Varnishes protect works of art and wooden instruments from environmental damage. However, until recently, little research had been carried out into the effects of varnish on the sound of violins. Empa researchers have now investigated this relationship and have published their initial findings. Leonardo da Vinci's oil painting "Mona Lisa" looks rather gloomy with its dark green and brown colours.

Materials Science - Chemistry - 04.03.2016
Breakthrough for cheaper lighting and
Breakthrough for cheaper lighting and
In more than three years of work european scientists finally made future lighting technology ready to market. They developed flexible lighting foils that can be produced roll-to-roll - much like newspapers are printed. These devices pave the path towards cheaper solar cells and LED lighting panels. The project named TREASORES was led by Empa scientist Frank Nüesch and combined knowhow from nine companies and six research institutes in five european countries.

Transport - Materials Science - 22.02.2016
Simulating future noise
Simulating future noise
Noise is disturbing and can be harmful to health. Empa researchers have now succeeded in simulating road noise by means of «auralisation». The aim is to make noise audible along traffic routes that are merely in the planning stage - and thus include countermeasures at the same time. Auralisation is understood as making audible those sound events that will only occur in the future.

Materials Science - Environment - 27.01.2016
Undoped silicon makes simpler, cheaper but efficient solar cells
Undoped silicon makes simpler, cheaper but efficient solar cells
27.01.16 - A group of international researchers led by Berkeley scientists create a high-efficiency silicon device in seven steps. The core part of the prototypes have been built at EPFL's Photovoltaics Lab, led by Christophe Ballif, in Neuchâtel. Researchers have simplified the steps to create silicon solar cells that convert sunlight to electricity with high efficiency by applying a new mix of materials to a standard design.

Materials Science - 19.01.2016

Materials Science - 13.01.2016
Incorrect handling triggers explosion
Incorrect handling triggers explosion
The major fire in Steckborn on December 21, 2015, was probably started by a lithium polymer battery in a model car, as the Thurgau cantonal police department recently announced.

Physics - Materials Science - 08.12.2015
Appointments at EPFL
Appointments at EPFL
08.12.15 - The Board of the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology has announced the appointment of four professors at EPFL. Jürgen Brugger as Full Professor of Microtechnology in the School of Engineering (STI) Jürgen Brugger is an innovator in the field of microsystems. His research focuses in particular on microand nano-manufacturing techniques as well as on the integration of novel functional materials such as microlenses and conductive inks into the latest generation of microsystems.

Physics - Materials Science - 17.11.2015
Electrons Always Find a (Quantum) Way
Electrons Always Find a (Quantum) Way
Scientists from the Swiss Nanoscience Institute and the Department of Physics at the University of Basel have demonstrated for the first time how electrons are transported from a superconductor through a quantum dot into a metal with normal conductivity. This transport process through a quantum dot had already been calculated theoretically in the nineties, but scientists at the University of Basel have now succeeded in proving the theory with measurements.

Life Sciences - Materials Science - 09.10.2015
Controllable protein gates deliver on-demand permeability in artificial nanovesicles
Controllable protein gates deliver on-demand permeability in artificial nanovesicles
Researchers at the University of Basel have succeeded in building protein gates for artificial nano-vesicles that become transparent only under specific conditions.

Physics - Materials Science - 07.09.2015
Improved Stability of Electron Spins in Qubits
Double quantum dot: The three lower and upper trap up to two individual electrons, the spin states of which form the quantum-mechanical information unit. The lateral act as sensors. (Image: University of Basel, Department of Physics) Calculation with electron spins in a quantum computer assumes that the spin states last for a sufficient period of time.

Music - Materials Science - 07.09.2015
“I find it really interesting when I'm proved wrong”
“I find it really interesting when I’m proved wrong”
Nicola Spaldin, Professor for Material Theory at ETH Zurich, is being awarded the Körber Prize in Hamburg today.

Physics - Materials Science - 12.01.2015
Batman lights the way to compact data storage
Batman lights the way to compact data storage
Media Releases Matter and Material Research Using Synchrotron Light Materials Research Researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) have succeeded in switching tiny, magnetic structures using laser light and tracking the change over time. In the process, a nanometre-sized area bizarrely reminiscent of the Batman logo appeared.

Environment - Materials Science - 20.10.2014
Raider of the lost particles
Raider of the lost particles
Bernd Nowack was recently admitted by Thomson Reuters, a provider of scientific online data-bases, to the circle of the world's most influential scientists in the field of environmental scienc-es. The Empa researcher investigates the environmental aspects of nanoparticles. A visit to St. Gallen.

Physics - Materials Science - 19.10.2014
Puzzling new behaviour observed in high-temperature superconductors
Puzzling new behaviour observed in high-temperature superconductors
Media Releases Matter and Material Materials Research Research Using Synchrotron Light New effect might be important for emergence of High-Temperature Superconductivity An international team of researchers from SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University (both California) and the Paul Scherrer Institute (Villigen, Switzerland) has observed a new, unexpected kind of behaviour in copper-based high-temperature superconductors – materials that are capable of conducting electric current without any loss when cooled to low enough temperatures.

Physics - Materials Science - 04.09.2014
Mit Licht neues Material erzeugt
Mit Licht neues Material erzeugt
Media Releases Research Using Synchrotron Light Large Scale Facilities Materials Research Matter and Material SwissFEL SwissFEL Experiments PSI researchers garner experience for SwissFEL experiments Aided by short laser flashes, researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute have managed to temporarily change a material's properties to such a degree that they have – to a certain extent –created a new material.

Physics - Materials Science - 30.07.2014
Insulator makes electrons move in an ordered way
Insulator makes electrons move in an ordered way
Media Releases Research Using Synchrotron Light Materials Research Matter and Material Novel material shows properties necessary for spintronic devices The motion of electrons is at the heart of most electronic applications. However, in the quest for the next generation of devices, researchers are also interested in manipulating the electrons' spins – their traits that make them into tiny magnets.

Physics - Materials Science - 11.07.2014

Physics - Materials Science - 11.06.2014
Sixteen nanometres in 3D
Sixteen nanometres in 3D
Media Releases Research Using Synchrotron Light World-record resolution in tomography with hard X-rays Tomography enables the interior of a vast range of objects to be depicted in 3D – from cellular structures to technical appliances. Researchers from the Paul Scherrer Institut (PSI) have now devised a method that opens up new scales of tomographic imaging and will thus make the detailed study of representative volumes of biological tissue and materials science specimens possible in future.

Materials Science - 19.05.2014
A design guide for future graphene chips
EPFL scientists have come up with a "how-to manual" for making the most efficient optical graphene circuits possible. The procedure facilitates and accelerates technological development in this future field. The research has been published in the scientific journal "Nature Photonics." Thanks to its amazing properties, graphene hold great promise as the basis for new chips that are faster, better-performing and more compact.

Materials Science - Physics - 16.05.2014
Solar Thermal Panels: Black is Back!
Solar Thermal Panels: Black is Back!
Solar thermal panels developed at EPFL are are dressed up in unique and patented new materials. Researchers created a stronger black coating that retains its original color and thereby its absorption properties much longer than traditional panels. Like most elements of a building, the lifespan of a solar thermal panel is between 25 and 30 years.

Physics - Materials Science - 24.02.2014
The proton accelerator at the Paul Scherrer Institute: forty years of top-flight research
The proton accelerator at the Paul Scherrer Institute: forty years of top-flight research
Media Releases Large Scale Facilities Research Using Muons Research Using Neutrons Particle Physics Matter and Material Materials research, particle physics, molecular biology, archaeology – fo

Materials Science - Environment - 02.12.2013
Combining antennas with solar panels
Researchers at EPFL have managed to combine antennas and solar cells to work together with unprecedented efficiency in a near future. This is a first step towards more compact and more lightweight satellites. The technology could also be deployed in the autonomous antenna systems used in the aftermath of natural disasters.

Physics - Materials Science - 18.11.2013
Graphene nanoribbons for
Graphene nanoribbons for "reading" DNA
One of the methods used for examining the molecules in a liquid consists in passing the fluid through a nano-sized hole so as to detect their passage. EPFL researchers have found a way to improve this technique by using a material with unique properties: graphene. If we wanted to count the number of people in a crowd, we could make on the fly estimates, very likely to be imprecise, or we could ask each person to pass through a turnstile.

Materials Science - Physics - 17.10.2013
Researcher Helena Van Swygenhoven awarded prestigious ERC Grant
Researcher Helena Van Swygenhoven awarded prestigious ERC Grant
Media Releases Research Using Neutrons Research Using Synchrotron Light Materials Research The project funded is to investigate how metallic materials behave under complex strain and thus yield clues for the development of improved materials. Helena Van Swygenhoven, materials researcher at the Paul Scherrer Institute and professor at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL), has been awarded an ERC Advanced Grant.

Materials Science - Chemistry - 14.04.2013
Memory effect now also found in lithium-ion batteries
Memory effect now also found in lithium-ion batteries
Media Releases Energy and Environment Lithium-ion batteries are high performance energy storage devices used in many commercial electronic appliances. Certainly, they can store a large amount of energy in a relatively small volume. They have also previously been widely believed to exhibit no memory effect.

Physics - Materials Science - 12.02.2013
Superconductors surprise with intriguing properties
Superconductors surprise with intriguing properties
Media Releases Matter and Material Research Using Synchrotron Light PSI-Scientists demonstrate: Magnetic interactions are of fundamental importance for iron-based high-temperature superconductors For a long time, scientists and engineers have longed for a material that would conduct electricity at room temperature without any losses.

Physics - Materials Science - 07.02.2013
Imaging fluctuations with X-ray microscopy
Imaging fluctuations with X-ray microscopy
Media Releases X-rays allow an inside look at structures that cannot be imaged using visible light. They are used to investigate nanoscale structures of objects as varied as single cells or magnetic storage media. Yet, high-resolution images impose extreme constraints on both the X ray microscope and the samples under investigation.

Materials Science - 19.10.2012
Balsa bridges - with a twist
Balsa bridges - with a twist
A bridge with a balsa wood core was built in Bex, Switzerland. The prefabricated bridge deck was mounted in a single day.

Materials Science - 10.09.2012
Built-in Germanium Lasers could make Computer Chips faster
Built-in Germanium Lasers could make Computer Chips faster
Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) researchers have investigated how they could make the semiconductor Germanium emit laser light. As a laser material, Germanium together with Silicon could form the basis for innovative computer chips in which information would be transferred partially in the form of light.

Physics - Materials Science - 05.09.2012
New Insights into Superconducting Materials
New Insights into Superconducting Materials
An American-Swiss research team has used a new X-ray technique at Swiss Light Source (SLS) of the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) to investigate the magnetic properties of atomically thin layers of a parent compound of a high-temperature superconductor. It turns out that the magnetic properties of such thin films differ by only a surprisingly small degree from those of macroscopically thick samples.

Materials Science - 20.07.2012
A Japanese company sets up research center at EPFL
A Japanese company sets up research center at EPFL
Nitto Denko Corporation, one of Japan's largest materials manufacturers, has announced today the establishment of a research and development unit in EPFL's Innovation Square in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Physics - Materials Science - 18.04.2012
Physicists observe the splitting of an electron inside a solid
Physicists observe the splitting of an electron inside a solid
An electron has been observed to decay into two separate parts, each carrying a particular property of the electron: a spinon carrying its spin – the property making the electron behave as a tiny compass needle – and an orbiton carrying its orbital moment – which arises from the electron's motion around the nucleus.

Materials Science - Physics - 01.02.2012
Advanced light management in high efficiency thin-film silicon solar
Advanced light management in high efficiency thin-film silicon solar
Silicon Filaments in Silicon Oxide for Next-Generation Photovoltaics. The group of Christophe Ballif (PV-LAB - Photovoltaics and Thin Film Electronics Laboratory ) demonstrate, on the basis of advanced TEM techniques, a new, mixed phase Si/SiO2 material, which they call filamentous SiOx.

Materials Science - 27.01.2012
Pine transformed by modern alchemists
Pine transformed by modern alchemists
Researchers have given pinewood the hardness and smooth touch of precious wood. L'EPFL+ECAL Lab presents the first objects made of this new material in Helsinki today.

Materials Science - 20.01.2012
A cobalt complex redox shuttle for dye-sensitized solar cells
A cobalt complex redox shuttle for dye-sensitized solar cells
A cobalt complex redox shuttle for dye-sensitized solar cells with high open-circuit potentials. Dye-sensitized solar cells are a promising alternative to traditional inorganic semiconductor-based solar cells.

Materials Science - Transport - 12.09.2011
Lightening the load with composite materials
Lightening the load with composite materials
EPFL's Laboratory of Composite and Polymer Technology is participating in HIVOCOMP, an EU program to develop innovative materials for the automotive industry.

Physics - Materials Science - 09.09.2011
An upside-down cake throws a new light on photovoltaics
An upside-down cake throws a new light on photovoltaics
Do better with less. That is the challenge the researchers from EPFL have set for themselves. Their specialty: manufacturing solar cells that are one thousand times thinner than conventional cells.

Physics - Materials Science - 17.05.2011
IBM and ETH Zurich open collaborative Nanotechnology Center
IBM and ETH Zurich open collaborative Nanotechnology Center
IBM and ETH Zurich to open the Binnig and Rohrer Nanotechnology Center located on the campus of IBM Research - Zurich.

Materials Science - 22.02.2011
C4 energizes computational sciences
Zurich, Switzerland, 22 Feb 2011 —In 1956, IBM chose to establish its European lab in Zurich for several reasons, including close access to some of the best talent and skills in the world.

Materials Science - Physics - 04.08.2010
Researchers Find Universal Law For Material Evolution
Researchers Find Universal Law For Material Evolution
Many important materials are composed of several phases – regions that differ in structure or chemical composition. When such a material is heated, atoms move from one phase to another, which changes the distribution of the phases – and thus, the properties of the material.