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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.

Physics - Materials Science - 27.08.2018
New mechanism of electron spin relaxation observed
New mechanism of electron spin relaxation observed
Physicists at the University of Basel are working on using the spin of an electron confined in a semiconductor nanostructure as a unit of information for future quantum computers. For the first time, they have now been able to experimentally demonstrate a mechanism of electron spin relaxation that was predicted 15 years ago.

Environment - Materials Science - 03.08.2018
The subtle mechanics of an avalanche - as seen in 3D
Drawing on the fact that the snow in an avalanche can behave like both a solid and a fluid, a young researcher at EPFL and SLF has managed to simulate a snow slab avalanche with unrivaled precision. An avalanche is an extremely complex event, with countless parameters and physical variables coming into play from the time the avalanche is triggered until it ends.

Chemistry - Materials Science - 23.07.2018
Search engine for «smart wood»
Search engine for «smart wood»
Mark Schubert modifies wood properties with the aid of the enzyme laccase. However, the search for suitable ingredients is complex - a bit like trying to find the key to an unknown lock. Instead of long, expensive series of experiments, Schubert uses artificial intelligence as it gets him to the goal more quickly.

Materials Science - 12.07.2018
Tailor-made asphalt
Tailor-made asphalt
The one ideal asphalt for all conditions does not exist: climatic conditions, traffic frequencies and loads place different demands on the pavement. Another challenge: preparing old asphalt so that it can be used for new pavements. Thanks to Empa researchers, the design of the ideal asphalt for every type of road has finally become easier.

Materials Science - Chemistry - 19.06.2018
An unlikely marriage among oxides
An unlikely marriage among oxides
Sebastian Siol is looking for new materials with unusual properties that were so far not accessible in experiments. To do this, he connects partners who don't really fit together: One partner forces the other into a state that would not be possible without the unlikely pairing. Siol also makes sure that the crystal bonds last in everyday life.

Materials Science - Physics - 19.06.2018
Tracking down the smallest particles
Nanomaterials consist of tiny particles of different composition. They are used, for example, in textiles and can enter aquatic systems directly from the factory, while being worn or disposed of. For years, research groups at Eawag have been investigating the effects of artificially manufactured nanoparticles on human beings and the environment.

Environment - Materials Science - 15.06.2018
Bringing the heat out of the city
Bringing the heat out of the city
Heat waves are increasing worldwide - and that includes Switzerland. Cities in particular suffer as a result: the temperature difference between city and countryside can amount to several degrees.

Materials Science - Environment - 11.06.2018
Silicon-perovskite solar cells achieve record efficiency of 25,2%
Silicon-perovskite solar cells achieve record efficiency of 25,2%
In Neuchâtel (Switzerland), researchers from EPFL and CSEM have combined siliconand perovskite-based solar cells. The resulting efficiency of 25.2% is a record for this type of tandem cell. Their innovative yet simple manufacturing technique could be directly integrated into existing production lines, and efficiency could eventually rise above 30%.

Physics - Materials Science - 01.06.2018
Novel Insulators with Conducting Edges
Novel Insulators with Conducting Edges
Topology examines the properties of objects and solids that are protected against perturbations and deformations.

Sport - Materials Science - 28.05.2018
So that Ronaldo and Co. can «conjure»
So that Ronaldo and Co. can «conjure»
The official ball for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia has received Empa's «OK» after numerous tests. Some goalkeepers may be critical of its flight characteristics, but the reason for their criticism may lie somewhere else - the rather unconventional appearance of the new ball. Football lives on emotions.

Materials Science - Microtechnics - 25.05.2018
An elastic fiber set to revolutionize smart clothes
EPFL scientists have found a fast and simple way to make super-elastic, multi-material, high-performance fibers. Their fibers have already been used as sensors on robotic fingers and in clothing. This breakthrough method opens the door to new kinds of smart textiles and medical implants. It's a whole new way of thinking about sensors.

Materials Science - Health - 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.

Materials Science - Chemistry - 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.

Materials Science - Chemistry - 16.05.2018
Ultrafiltration without pressure - the power of gravity
Ultrafiltration without pressure - the power of gravity
Ultrafiltration is one of the techniques currently used for disinfecting water - viruses and bacteria are reliably retained by a membrane with extremely small pores. For more than ten years, Eawag has successfully been carrying out research to determine how this method can function using the effect of gravity on water instead of high pressure, cleaning and chemicals.

Materials Science - Physics - 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.

Materials Science - 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.