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Physics - Materials Science - 19.06.2020
Researchers cut nanometer-sized patterns into 2D materials
Researchers cut nanometer-sized patterns into 2D materials
EPFL researchers have developed a high-precision technology that enables them to carve nanometric patterns into two-dimensional materials. With their pioneering nanotechnology, EPFL researchers have achieved the impossible. They can now use heat to break the links between atoms with a miniature scalpel.

Materials Science - 18.06.2020
Off the Scales: Fish Armor Both Tough and Flexible
Off the Scales: Fish Armor Both Tough and Flexible
High-tech imaging of carp scales by Berkeley Lab scientists reveals remarkable properties that could lead to advanced synthetic materials Humans have drawn technological inspiration from fish scales going back to ancient times: Romans, Egyptians, and other civilizations would dress their warriors in scale armor, providing both protection and mobility.

Life Sciences - Materials Science - 18.06.2020
Nanoresearch without animal experiments
Nanoresearch without animal experiments
In order to reduce the number of animal experiments in research, alternative methods are being sought. This is a particular challenge if the safety of substances that have hardly been studied is to be ensured, for instance, the completely new class of nanomaterials. To accomplish just that, Empa researchers are now combining test tube experiments with mathematical modelling.

Physics - Materials Science - 17.06.2020
A fresh twist in chiral topology
Electrons in "chiral crystals", solid-state materials with definite "handedness", can behave in unexpected ways. An interdisciplinary team from research institutions in Germany and China has realized now a theoretically predicted peculiar electronic state in a chiral compound, PtGa, from the class of topological materials.

Physics - Materials Science - 12.06.2020
Newly observed phenomenon could lead to new quantum devices
Newly observed phenomenon could lead to new quantum devices
Exotic states called Kohn anomalies could offer clues to why some materials have the electronic properties they do. An exotic physical phenomenon known as a Kohn anomaly has been found for the first time in an unexpected type of material by researchers at MIT and elsewhere. They say the finding could provide new insights into certain fundamental processes that help determine why metals and other materials display the complex electronic properties that underlie much of today's technology.

Transport - Materials Science - 11.06.2020
Stiffer roadways could improve truck fuel efficiency
Stiffer roadways could improve truck fuel efficiency
Study finds simple changes in road resurfacing practices could improve gas mileage for heavy vehicles and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Every time you hear a deep rumble and feel your house shake when a big truck roars by, that's partly because the weight of heavy vehicles causes a slight deflection in the road surface under them.

Materials Science - Physics - 10.06.2020
Surprisingly strong and deformable silicon
Surprisingly strong and deformable silicon
Researchers at ETH have shown that tiny objects can be made from silicon that are much more deformable and stronger than previously thought. In this way, sensors in smartphones could be made smaller and more robust. Since the invention of the MOSFET transistor sixty year ago, the chemical element silicon on which it is based has become an integral part of modern life.

Materials Science - Health - 09.06.2020
First transparent surgical mask goes into production
First transparent surgical mask goes into production
Scientists of Empa and EPFL have developed a fully transparent surgical mask that will soon be produced on an industrial scale.

Health - Materials Science - 08.06.2020
Virus DNA spread across hospital ward in 10 hours
Virus DNA left on a hospital bed rail was found in nearly half of all sites sampled across a ward within 10 hours and persisted for at least five days, according to a new study by UCL and Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH). The study, published as a letter in the Journal of Hospital Infection , aimed to safely simulate how SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, may spread across surfaces in a hospital.

Chemistry - Materials Science - 05.06.2020
Transparent graphene electrodes might lead to new generation of solar cells
Transparent graphene electrodes might lead to new generation of solar cells
New roll-to-roll production method could enable lightweight, flexible solar devices and a new generation of display screens. A new way of making large sheets of high-quality, atomically thin graphene could lead to ultra-lightweight, flexible solar cells, and to new classes of light-emitting devices and other thin-film electronics.

Environment - Materials Science - 04.06.2020
A recipe for eco-concrete
A recipe for eco-concrete
Cement production has to drastically reduce its environmental footprint. Empa researchers are, therefore working on alternative cement recipes that cause significantly fewer emissions or can even bind the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. It is the most widely used product in the world. Cement is indispensable yet its reputation has become quite tainted in the course of the ongoing climate debate.

Physics - Materials Science - 02.06.2020
Joined nano-triangles pave the way to magnetic carbon materials
Joined nano-triangles pave the way to magnetic carbon materials
Graphene triangles with an edge length of only a few atoms behave like peculiar quantum magnets. When two of these nano-triangles are joined, a "quantum entanglement" of their magnetic moments takes place: the structure becomes antiferromagnetic. This could be a breakthrough for future magnetic materials, and another step towards spintronics.

Materials Science - Electroengineering - 01.06.2020
Smart textiles powered by soft transmission lines
Smart textiles powered by soft transmission lines
EPFL researchers have developed electronic fibers that, when embedded in textiles, can collect a wealth of information about our bodies by measuring subtle and complex fabrics deformations. Their technology relies on transmission line theory and offers a host of applications, such as in health care and robotics.

Materials Science - Health - 01.06.2020
Coatings for shoe bottoms could improve traction on slick surfaces
Coatings for shoe bottoms could improve traction on slick surfaces
Material inspired by Japanese paper-cutting art could help to prevent falls in icy or slippery conditions. Inspired by the Japanese art of paper cutting, MIT engineers have designed a friction-boosting material that could be used to coat the bottom of your shoes, giving them a stronger grip on ice and other slippery surfaces.

Chemistry - Materials Science - 29.05.2020
New materials could make greener fast-charging batteries
Researchers have created a fast-charging battery prototype that uses sodium instead of lithium, potentially leading to more sustainable batteries. The prototype is one of the first to successfully use sodium in an organic battery that can be quickly charged and discharged hundreds of times without losing any capacity.

Materials Science - Environment - 29.05.2020
Platinum keeps Fruit fresh
Platinum keeps Fruit fresh
If different types of vegetables and fruits are stored together, they influence each other in the ripening process. This is due to ethylene, which is emitted by some plant-based foodstuff and accelerates ripening. To prevent excessive food waste due to accelerated ripening Empa and ETH Zurich researchers are developing a new catalyst that degrades ethylene into water and carbon dioxide.

Materials Science - Environment - 29.05.2020
Caught in flight
Caught in flight
Humans are exposed to numerous harmful environmental influences, and it is an international concern to quantify these emissions as accurately as possible in order to be able to take measures to contain them. Empa is also part of these efforts and has, among other things, developed a drone equipped with state-of-the-art measuring instruments which can detect methane leaks.

Materials Science - Physics - 29.05.2020
Hot off the Oven
Hot off the Oven
During metal processing in the 3D laser printer, temperatures of more than 2,500 degrees Celsius are reached within milliseconds, causing some components of the alloys to evaporate. While widely considered a problem inherent to the process, Empa researchers spotted an opportunity - and are now using the effect to create new alloys with novel properties and embed them in 3D-printed metallic work pieces with micrometer precision.

Materials Science - Chemistry - 29.05.2020
The Transistor out of the Printer
The Transistor out of the Printer
A new revolution in the production of electronic circuits is on the way: Empa researchers are working on electronics that come out of printers. This makes it possible to produce the circuits on all sorts of substrates, such as paper or plastic film - but there are still some hurdles to overcome. Imagine being able to easily print electronics on any surface.

Materials Science - 29.05.2020
When Concrete learns to pre-stress itself
When Concrete learns to pre-stress itself
Concrete is by far the most widely used building material in the world - and the trend is rising. Using a new type of concrete formula, an Empa team has succeeded in producing self-prestressed concrete elements. This innovation makes it possible to build lean structures much more cost-effectively - and save material at the same time.