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Life Sciences - Materials Science - 06.12.2018
Molecular insights into spider silk
Molecular insights into spider silk
Spider silk belongs to the toughest fibres in nature and has astounding properties. Scientists from the University of Würzburg discovered new molecular details of self-assembly of a spider silk fibre protein. They are lightweight, almost invisible, highly extensible and strong, and of course biodegradable: the threads spiders use to build their webs.

Materials Science - 06.12.2018
Technique inspired by dolphin chirps could improve tests of soft materials
Technique inspired by dolphin chirps could improve tests of soft materials
Method can be used to quickly characterize any soft, rapidly changing substance, such as clotting blood or drying cement. If you leave the putty in a small glass, it will eventually spread out like a liquid. If you pull it slowly, it will thin and droop like viscous taffy. And if you quickly yank on it, the Silly Putty will snap like a brittle, solid bar.

Materials Science - Environment - 02.12.2018
Rotten to the core
Rotten to the core
Fungi that decompose tree trunks can conjure up real works of art in wood. In nature, however, the decay-causing fungi not only decorate the tree, but also destroy it. Empa researchers are now teaching the fungi how to draw. The result: upscale marbled wood that can be processed into design furniture or musical instruments.

Electroengineering - Materials Science - 29.11.2018
Switching identities: Revolutionary insulator-like material also conducts electricity
For News Media THIS NEWS IS EMBARGOED BY THE JOURNAL SCIENCE UNTIL 2 P.M. EST, NOV. 29, 2018 × University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers have made a material that can transition from an electricity-transmitting metal to a nonconducting insulating material without changing its atomic structure.

Materials Science - Physics - 29.11.2018
What happens when materials take tiny hits
What happens when materials take tiny hits
High-speed camera shows incoming particles cause damage by briefly melting surfaces as they strike. When tiny particles strike a metal surface at high speed - for example, as coatings being sprayed or as micrometeorites pummeling a space station - the moment of impact happens so fast that the details of process haven't been clearly understood, until now.

Veterinary - Materials Science - 21.11.2018
Sugar supplement slows tumour growth and can improve cancer treatment
Mannose sugar, a nutritional supplement, can both slow tumour growth and enhance the effects of chemotherapy in mice with multiple types of cancer. This lab study is a step towards understanding how mannose could be used to help treat cancer. The results of the study today (Wednesday). Tumours use more glucose than normal, healthy tissues.

Materials Science - Health - 21.11.2018
A hydrogel that adheres firmly to cartilage and meniscus
EPFL researchers have developed a hydrogel - made up of nearly 90% water - that naturally adheres to soft tissue like cartilage and the meniscus. If the hydrogel carries repair cells, it could help damaged tissue to heal. Some types of body tissue, like cartilage and meniscus, have little or no blood supply and are unable to heal if damaged.

Veterinary - Materials Science - 20.11.2018
Modified virus used to kill cancer cells
Scientists have equipped a virus that kills carcinoma cells with a protein so it can also target and kill adjacent cells that are tricked into shielding the cancer from the immune system. It is the first time that cancer-associated fibroblasts within solid tumours - healthy cells that are tricked into protecting the cancer from the immune system and supplying it with growth factors and nutrients - have been specifically targeted in this way.

Physics - Materials Science - 13.11.2018
Optimization of alloy materials: Diffusion processes in nano particles decoded
Optimization of alloy materials: Diffusion processes in nano particles decoded
Research team at TU Graz discovers atomic-level processes which can provide new approaches to improving material properties. Aluminium alloys have unique material properties and are indispensable materials in aircraft manufacturing and space technology. With the help of high-resolution electron tomography, researchers at TU Graz have for the first time been able to decode mechanisms crucial for understanding these properties.

Physics - Materials Science - 07.11.2018
A burst of
A burst of "synchronous" light
Excited photo-emitters can cooperate and radiate simultaneously, a phenomenon called superfluorescence. Researchers from Empa and ETH Zurich, together with colleagues from IBM Research Zurich, have recently been able to create this effect with long-range ordered nanocrystal superlattices. This discovery could enable future developments in LED lighting, quantum sensing, quantum communication and future quantum computing.

Chemistry - Materials Science - 05.11.2018
New material cleans and splits water
New material cleans and splits water
Researchers at EPFL's Institute of Chemical Sciences and Engineering have developed a photocatalytic system based on a material in the class of metal-organic frameworks. The system can be used to degrade pollutants present in water while simultaneously producing hydrogen that can be captured and used further.

Materials Science - Mechanical Engineering - 02.11.2018
Identifies how 3D printed metals can be both strong and ductile
A new technique by which to 3D print metals, involving a widely used stainless steel, has been shown to achieve exceptional levels of both strength and ductility, when compared to counterparts from more conventional processes. The findings, published in Materials Today , outline how a joint research team from the University of Birmingham, UK, Stockholm University, Sweden and Zhejiang University, China were able to optimizing the process parameters during 3D printing to achieve the results.

Materials Science - Chemistry - 29.10.2018
Next generation of watch springs
Next generation of watch springs
What happens when something keeps getting smaller and smaller? This is the type of question Empa researcher Johann Michler and his team are investigating. As a by-product of their research completely novel watch springs could soon be used in Swiss timepieces. Applied research is not always initiated by industry - but oftentimes it yields results that can swiftly be implemented by companies.

Innovation - Materials Science - 25.10.2018
A fine-tuned laser welds more effectively
Using laser technology Empa scientists optimized a technique to weld the electronics of implantable pacemakers and defibrillators into a titanium case. The medtech company Medtronic is now using the method worldwide to produce these devices. In Tolochenaz (Canton of Vaud) the US medtech company Medtronic produces one out of five heart pacemakers available on the global market and one out of four defibrillators.

Materials Science - Health - 18.10.2018
What does graphene do in our lungs?
What does graphene do in our lungs?
Graphene has been hailed as the material of the future. As yet, however, little is known about whether and how graphene affects our health if it gets into the body. A team of researchers from Empa and the Adolphe Merkle Institute (AMI) in Fribourg have now conducted the first studies on a three-dimensional lung model to examine the behavior of graphene and graphene-like materials once they have been inhaled.

Materials Science - Pharmacology - 11.10.2018
Medication you can wear
Medication you can wear
Drug-releasing textiles could, for instance, be used to treat skin wounds. Empa researchers are currently developing polymer fibers that can be equipped with drugs. The smart fibers recognize the need for therapy all by themselves and dose the active ingredients with precision and accuracy. For the «Self Care Materials» project, fibers are produced from biodegradable polymers using various processes.

Materials Science - Chemistry - 27.09.2018
Global success for University of Birmingham in latest World University Rankings
University of Birmingham scientists are paving the way to swap the lithium in lithium-ion batteries with sodium, according to research published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society. Lithium-ion batteries (LIB) are rechargeable and are widely used in laptops, mobile phones and in hybrid and fully electric vehicles.

Materials Science - Innovation - 24.09.2018
EPFL unveils SolAce, a solar-powered pilot unit in Dübendorf
EPFL's SolAce pilot unit was inaugurated today at the NEST R&D center on the Empa campus in Dübendorf, Switzerland. Researchers at this solar-powered unit will test out new technology designed to make buildings energy positive and carbon neutral - while providing maximum comfort for their occupants.

Physics - Materials Science - 12.09.2018
Probing individual edge states with unprecedented precision
Probing individual edge states with unprecedented precision
A new technique makes it possible to obtain an individual fingerprint of the current-carrying edge states occurring in novel materials such as topological insulators or 2D materials. Physicists of the University of Basel present the new method together with American scientists in 'Nature Communications.' While insulators do not conduct electrical currents, some special materials exhibit peculiar electrical properties: though not conducting through their bulk, their surfaces and edges may support electrical currents due to quantum mechanical effects, and do so even without causing losses.

Materials Science - Computer Science - 29.08.2018
Tough nuts, cracked intelligently
Tough nuts, cracked intelligently
Welding, printing, crushing concrete - an Empa team monitors noisy processes with the help of artificial intelligence. This way you can literally hear production errors and imminent accidents. Kilian Wasmer from the Empa lab for Advanced Materials Processing in Thun keeps shaking his head while speaking, as if he can't believe the success story himself.