EPFL (École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne)

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EPFL (École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne) Articles

Displaying 21 - 40 of 58
15th February 2017
Miniaturising frequency combs

EPFL scientists have found a way to miniaturise frequency combs, realising a new step toward miniaturisation of such tools. Their device can measure light oscillations with a precision of 12 digits. A compact, precision tool for counting and tracking laser frequencies may improve atomic clocks and optical data transmission devices. However, light waves oscillate hundreds of trillions of times per second, a frequency that is impossible to mea...

18th January 2017
Ultrafast processors thanks to plasmons

  By implementing an electron imaging technique, EU-funded scientists managed for the first time to capture an unprecedented look at the dual quantum and classical nature of plasmons and wave travel in nanostructures. The outcome lays the groundwork for a new generation of optical-electronic hybrid computers that can operate at ultrafast speeds.

24th November 2016
Perovskite could lead to next-gen data storage

EPFL scientists have developed a perovskite material with unique properties that can be used to build next-gen hard drives. As we generate more and more data, we need storage systems, e.g. hard drives, with higher density and efficiency. But this also requires materials whose magnetic properties can be quickly and easily manipulated in order to write and access data on them. EPFL scientists have now developed a perovskite material whose magn...

Component Management
21st October 2016
Class of materials could realise quantum computers

Scientists at EPFL and PSI have discovered a new class of materials that can prove ideal for the implementation of spintronics. Electron spin generally refers to the rotation of electrons around their axis. In a material electrons also orbit the atom's nucleus. When these two electron motions, spin and orbit interact, they locally produce a very strong magnetic field. As such, spin is used in MRI, NMR spectroscopy, and hard drives.

12th October 2016
Soft robots mimic human muscles

An EPFL team is developing soft, flexible and reconfigurable robots. Air-actuated, they behave like human muscles and may be used in physical rehabilitation. They are made of low-cost materials and could easily be produced on a large scale. Robots are usually expected to be rigid, fast and efficient. But researchers at EPFL's Reconfigurable Robotics Lab (RRL) have turned that notion on its head with their soft robots.

3D Printing
26th September 2016
3D nanoprinting to turbocharge microscopes

EPFL researchers have printed nanometric-scale sensors capable of improving the performance of atomic force microscopes. Tiny sensors made through nanoscale 3D printing may be the basis for the next generation of atomic force microscopes. These nanosensors can enhance the microscopes' sensitivity and detection speed by miniaturising their detection component up to 100 times. The sensors were used in a real-world application for the first tim...

7th September 2016
Startup makes residential solar panels twice as efficient

With a 36% yield, the solar panels developed by startup Insolight could deliver up to twice as much energy as traditional panels. The company came up with a thin structure that directs the sun’s rays to the small surface area of very high performance solar cells. The result is a highly efficient flat photovoltaic system.

5th September 2016
Tool mimics cells' ability to stretch and compress

A tool developed at EPFL can stretch and compress cells, mimicking what happens in the body. The aim: to study the role played by these mechanical forces in cases of cancer or lymphatic diseases. Complex mechanical forces are constantly at work in the human body, deforming our cells. In our blood vessel walls, for example, cells are stretched approximately once per second by the pulsing blood flow.

2nd September 2016
Predicting the future of advanced solar cells

In a photovoltaic cell, light generates opposite charges in the active layer. The charges must then be separated as quickly as possible to keep them from recombining. Positive charges are driven by a built-in electric field to one metallic contact, while negative charges migrate in the opposite direction to another electrode. Using a unique ultra-fast spectroscopic technique, EPFL scientists have now been able to track the fate of charged pairs i...

31st August 2016
Analysing facial expressions to detect driver distraction

  The Signal Processing Laboratory 5 (LTS5) group of researchers at EPFL have developed a system to detect the cognitive distraction of car drivers, by analysing their facial expressions.

Aerospace & Defence
31st August 2016
How to get a satellite into a bottle

How do you get an entire spacecraft into a 3.5-litre container, which is the equivalent of a double-magnum wine bottle? For the first time, an EPFL team took up the challenge set each year by the CanSat competition, which has become one of the largest university events for space-related topics since it was started in the 1990s.

30th August 2016
Train windows that combine mobile reception and thermal insulation

Researchers from EPFL have developed a type of glass that offers excellent energy efficiency and lets mobile telephone signals through. And by teaming up with Swiss manufacturers, they have produced innovative windows. Railway company BLS is about to install them on some of its trains in order to improve energy efficiency.

26th August 2016
Self-consciousness with every heartbeat

Bodily self-consciousness is an integral part of our everyday life. It allows us to be instinctively aware of where we are and how we move. While this seems trivial, it requires a lot of computation and processing from our brain. But how does the brain produce and regulate it? Using a virtual reality experiment, EPFL scientists have now shown that bodily self-consciousness involves the brain monitoring heartbeat.

25th August 2016
A low-cost solution for storing solar energy

How can we store solar energy for period when the sun doesn't shine? One solution is to convert it into hydrogen through water electrolysis. The idea is to use the electrical current produced by a solar panel to 'split' water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen. Clean hydrogen can then be stored away for future use to produce electricity on demand, or even as a fuel. But this is where things get complicated.

Component Management
2nd August 2016
Inextensible sheet materials produce 3D objects

Researchers have developed an algorithm for creating complex objects by cutting holes in sheets of inextensible, but flexible materials such as metal, plastic and leather. It has potential applications in many areas, including microengineering, bioengineering, fashion and architecture. EPFL researchers, in collaboration with Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Hull, have come up with a method for creating everyday objects &ndash...

22nd July 2016
Remote-controlled microrobots aid medical operations

EPFL scientist Selman Sakar teamed up with Hen-Wei Huang and Bradley Nelson at ETHZ to develop a simple and versatile method for building bio-inspired robots and equipping them with advanced features. They also created a platform for testing several robot designs and studying different modes of locomotion. Their work, published in Nature Communications, produced complex reconfigurable microrobots that can be manufactured with high throughput.

15th July 2016
Drone can navigate around obstacles like an insect

Physics student Darius Merk has used an insect-inspired algorithm to develop a drone that can navigate around obstacles. His research could prove particularly useful in a natural disaster. How do you send a drone on a reconnaissance mission in a hard-to-reach area without it getting stuck in the rubble? The drone could of course be remotely controlled, but you could lose contact with the device if it went behind a wall.

13th July 2016
High-resolution imaging reveals bacterial toxins

Many bacteria use specialised toxins to attack and infect other cells. Scientists at EPFL and the University of Bern have now modeled a major such toxin with unprecedented resolution, uncovering the way it works step-by-step. In order to infect other cells, many bacteria secrete a type of toxin that punctures the membrane of the target cell and form a pore; as a result, the cell dies.

Component Management
8th July 2016
Graphene could increase the speed and efficiency of IoT

EPFL researchers have produced a tunable, graphene-based device that could significantly increase the speed and efficiency of wireless communication systems. Their system works at very high frequencies, delivering unprecedented results. Wireless communications come in many forms - such as mobile phones using 4G or 5G connectivity, GPS devices, and computers connected via Bluetooth to portable sensors - and operate in different frequency band...

23rd June 2016
Lasers enable tissue engineering

Two EPFL scientists have developed a method that uses lasers to carve out paths inside biocompatible gels to locally influence cell function and promote tissue formation. The work is published in Advanced Materials. Working at EPFL's Institute of Bioengineering, Matthias Lütolf and his PhD student Nathalie Brandenberg have developed a method that uses a laser to cut 3D pathways and networks for cells inside a hydrogel scaffold that matches t...

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