ETH Zurich Articles
Method could be used in targeted cancer therapeutics
Inspired by white blood cells rolling on endovascular walls before transmigrating to the disease site, scientists at ETH Zurich have succeeded in getting particles to move along the walls of microscopic, three-dimensional vessels. This method could be used in targeted cancer therapeutics. When white blood cells are summoned to combat invasive bacteria, they move along blood vessels in a specific fashion, i.e., like a ball propelled by t...
Nano-sensor can measure tension of tissue fibres
Bacteria are able to attach themselves to tissue fibres with the aid of a ‘nano-adhesive’. Just how they achieve this was investigated a few years ago by Viola Vogel, Professor of Applied Mechanobiology, using computer simulations at CSCS. The researchers simulated how the bacterial nano-adhesive – a peptide thread with several binding sites strung together like pearls – adheres to what are called fibronectin fibres.
When children's creativity meets VR and AR
Colouring books and crayons often have a hard time competing against smartphone games and YouTube videos, especially as children come into contact with mobile devices from a very early age. Researchers at the Game Technology Center have combined the advantages of classic toys with the potential of virtual reality to bring new life to the playroom. The researchers are calling their new applications 'augmented creativity'.
Soft biological tissue deforms differently under tension
Engineers at ETH Zurich have discovered that soft biological tissue deforms very differently under tension than previously assumed. Their findings are already being put to use in medical research projects.
ETH Zurich sheds light on digitalisation at Digitaltag
Digitalisation is rapidly transforming our society. Switzerland’s first Digitaltag event will showcase what this change means for our country and our economy. ETH Zurich will also be there to shed some light on selected aspects of the digital transformation. The countdown ends on 21 November 2017: Switzerland’s first Digitaltag digital day invites the public to attend the more than 80 events being held throughout the country...
Transforming fibrils into crystals
Amyloid fibrils are infamous for the role they play in serious neurological diseases in humans, such as Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s. One trigger for Alzheimer’s disease is the misfolding and aggregation of proteins such as tau and ABeta. This causes the formation of tiny fibrils that then accumulate in the brain. Specialists refer to these fibres as amyloid fibrils.
Scanning tunnelling microscope for magnetic atoms
Philosophers in ancient Greece already believed that matter is made up of atoms. Only about 35 years ago, however, were atoms actually observed for the first time – in Zurich. The scanning tunnelling microscope developed by Gerd Binnig and Heinrich Rohrer allowed surfaces of materials to be investigated with a spatial resolution of less than one nanometre – enough to see individual atoms.
Optoelectronics works without glass
Researchers at ETH Zurich have developed the first opto-electronic circuit component that works without glass and is instead made of metal. The component, referred to as a modulator, converts electrical data signals into optical signals. It is smaller and faster than current modulators, and much easier and cheaper to make. Optical components for microelectronics must be made of glass.
Procedure simplifies wind tunnel tests
The skier buckles her boots, grabs her poles and snaps her goggles into place. She's ready to go – but she’s not on the piste. She’s in ETH Zurich's engineering lab. And there’s a good reason for this peculiar situation: up-and-coming athletes recently spent a week in the ETH’s wind tunnel testing a measuring method developed by the Institute of Fluid Dynamics. Ski racers, ski cross competitors and racing cyclis...
The world's shortest laser pulse
In order to fully understand the dynamics during a chemical reaction, scientists must be able to study all movements of atoms and molecules on their basic time scale. Molecules rotate in the range of picoseconds (10-12 s), their atoms vibrate in the range of femtoseconds (10‑15 s), and the electrons move in the range of attoseconds (10-18 s). ETH professor Hans Jakob Wörner and his group have now succeeded in generating the world's sh...
How much does life weigh?
From earthworms and sunflowers to human beings, we are all made up of cells, so it’s no surprise that researchers are hard at work investigating these building blocks of life. They have already discovered many of their secrets, but until now, it has not been possible to measure the weight of living cells and how it changes in real time, as no suitable method of measurement has existed.
When solar-powered drones meet Arctic glaciers
What better place than the Arctic for testing the new generation of solar-powered aircraft? The Autonomous Systems Laboratory ASL has developed a pioneering solar-powered unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), AtlantikSolar, capable of flying for multiple days. Glaciologists from ETH Zurich – who use UAVs to monitor glaciers in Greenland – need further endurance to deal with the immensity of the glacial landscape.
Materials Research Prize awards outstanding research
New and better materials play an essential role in the development of innovative technologies. To underline the importance of this research area, the Department of Materials has launched a new prize that will be awarded for the first time at this year’s Materials Day.
A miniature laser-like device for surface plasmons
When light is confined between two partially reflecting mirrors and amplified by some material in between them, the resulting beam can be extremely bright and of a single colour. This is the working principle of the laser, a tool used in all areas of modern life from the DVD player to the operating theatre.
Construction prototype for ultra-thin concrete roof
Researchers from ETH Zurich have built a prototype of an ultra-thin, curved concrete roof using innovative digital design and fabrication methods. The tested novel formwork system will be used in an actual construction project for the first time next year.
Database simulates the properties of cement in all varieties
An international team of scientists has created a new database of molecular dynamics models that simulate the properties of cement in all its varieties. It’s intended to help fine-tune this component of concrete and curtail emissions in its manufacturing process. The new database, called cemff, for cement force fields. In this case, the force field isn't an invisible barrier from a science-fiction story. It's the collection of paramete...
Making fossil fuel subsidies obsolete
In early 2012, the Nigerian government drastically cut diesel and petroleum subsidies, causing local fuel prices to more than double overnight. Violent public protests broke out in response, leading the government to quickly reinstate the subsidies. While this case is extreme, it illustrates a common challenge facing many countries: Despite the recognised benefits of fossil fuel subsidy reform, including climate change mitigation, the realit...
Clumps as temporary storage
Protein aggregates have a bad reputation. A number of human diseases, especially those of the nervous system, such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), are due to the clumping of degenerate proteins in nerve cells, creating aggregates that the cells cannot dissolve. This causes the cells to die. Now, researchers led by ETH Professor Matthias Peter and Reinhard Dechant have shed new light on protein aggr...
Biodegradable microsensors aid food monitoring
A new generation of microsensors could provide the vital link between food products and the Internet of Things. ETH researchers have developed an ultra-thin temperature sensor that is both biocompatible and biodegradable. Nowadays microsensors are already used in many different applications, such as the detection of poisonous gases. They are also integrated into miniaturised transmitter/receiver systems, such as the ubiquitous RFID chips.
Regulator improves liver regeneration
By performing large-scale proteomics analysis of liver proteins, ETH researchers have discovered a protein that is essential for liver regeneration. They have also figured out the mechanism of the protein’s function. The liver is a wonderful thing: it’s the only organ able to fully regenerate with no scar tissue formation, even after major injury. In the case of organ donation, it is therefore generally possible to remove part of...