Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology

Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology Articles

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15th November 2017
One step closer to the artificial heart

An artificial heart would be an absolute lifesaver for people with cardiac failure. However, to recreate the complex organ in the laboratory, one would first need to work out how to grow multi-layered, living tissues. Researchers at Empa have now come one step closer to this goal: by means of a spraying process, they have created functioning muscle fibres.

2nd November 2017
Optical fibre pajamas treat jaundice in newborns

  Alone, naked, and with their eyes covered for protection: this is how newborns lie in incubators when they are being treated for jaundice. Irradiation with blue light in an incubator is necessary because toxic decomposition products of the blood pigment hemoglobin are deposited in the skin in newborns with jaundice.

Cyber Security
8th August 2017
Controlling drones with the wave of a hand

Researchers at the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (Empa) have developed a new device that lets you control a drone with simple hand gestures. Designed to be easy and intuitive, the new Empa innovation works through 3D printing and original sensor technology: a wave to the left, and the drove moves to the left; a wave to the right, the drone moves to the right.

Test & Measurement
16th March 2017
Fibre optics enable heart rate monitoring

At Empa (Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology), researchers have developed a way of integrating optic fibres into clothing and using this technology to detect a person’s heart rate. The polymer fibres are highly flexible, keeping the integrated clothing still soft and comfortable. A prototype hat using the new fibre optics was developed so that the tips of the fibres faced toward the skin.

8th March 2017
Organic solar cells achieve increased transparency and efficiency

Researchers developed a semi-transparent organic solar cell that achieves better efficiency and transparency than existing ones, according to a recent study in the Science and Technology of Advanced Materials (STAM). Semi-transparent organic solar cells (OSCs) have potential for providing low-cost, large-area energy conversion devices for various applications such as windows, roof covers and greenhouses.

Component Management
20th September 2016
Affordable detectors for gamma radiation

A research team at Empa and ETH Zurich has developed single crystals made of lead halide perovskites, which are able to gage radioactive radiation with high precision. Initial experiments have shown that these crystals, which can be manufactured from aqueous solutions or low-priced solvents, work just as well as conventional cadmium telluride semi-conductors, which are considerably more complicated to produce.

Test & Measurement
18th July 2016
Latest flame retardants are tested for toxicity

Empa researchers developed three innovative flame retardants and tested them for toxicity; not all of them passed the test. Researchers are constantly striving to develop better and safer flame retardants. For example, Sabyasachi Gaan's team at Empa's Advanced Fibers Laboratory, synthesised three new agents that have the same or improved flame retardancy as existing products.

8th June 2016
Converting solar energy into chemical energy

A project called LightChEC, running at the University of Zurich since the beginning of 2013, focuses on "turning solar energy into chemical energy". The researchers involved are aiming to refine artificial photosynthesis to make it suitable as a means for supplying energy to industry and society. Three Empa scientists, Andreas Borgschulte, Karl-Heinz Ernst and Andreas Züttel, are carrying out research as part of LightChEC. Ern...

Component Management
24th March 2016
Graphene nanoribbons have perfect zigzag edges from molecules

As reported by the journal Nature in its latest issue, researchers from Empa, the Max Planck Institute in Mainz and the Technical University of Dresden have for the first time succeeded in producing graphene nanoribbons with perfect zigzag edges from molecules. Electrons on these zigzag edges exhibit different (and coupled) rotational directions ("spin"). This could make graphene nanoribbons the material of choice for electronics of the...

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