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How safe is graphene?

Effects on people and the environment under the microscope

11-Feb-2019

Graphene is considered one of the most interesting and versatile materials of our time. The application possibilities inspire both research and industry. But are products containing graphene also safe for humans and the environment? A comprehensive review, developed as part of the European ...

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Intuition and failure as valuable ingredients in chemical research

Methodology to collect lessons learned from partially failed trials and incorrect hypotheses

07-Feb-2019

Researchers from the lab of NCCR MARVEL's deputy director Berend Smit and colleagues have developed a methodology for collecting the lessons learned from partially failed trials and incorrect hypotheses -- the experiments that didn't work. The researchers used machine learning to capture chemical ...

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Fireproofing made of recycled paper

25-Jan-2019

Scientists at Empa teamed up with isofloc AG to develop an insulating material made of recycled paper. It is ideal for prefabricated wooden elements and even multistory timber houses, and protects the construction against fire. What's more: The additive it contains is harmless to humans, animals ...

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Hand-knitted Molecules

Chemistry at very small scales

22-Jan-2019

Molecules are usually formed in reaction vessels or laboratory flasks. An Empa research team has now succeeded in producing molecules between two microscopically small, movable gold tips – in a sense as a "hand-knitted" unique specimen. The properties of the molecules can be monitored in real ...

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Rare metals from e-waste

What happens to our ressources?

14-Jan-2019

This year, beautifully wrapped laptops, mobile phones or even new TV sets lay under numerous Christmas trees. They are enthusiastically put into use – and the old electronic devices are disposed of. The e-waste contains resources such as neodymium, indium and gold. What happens to the valuable ...

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Chirality in 'real-time'

Circular dichroism in the deep ultraviolet

11-Jan-2019

In nature, certain molecules with the same chemical composition, can exist in two different shapes that are mirrors images of each other, much like our hands. This property is known as "chirality" and molecules with different chirality are called enantiomers. Enantiomers can exhibit entirely ...

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ETH spin-off machine running at full speed

27 companies were founded in 2018, more than any year previously

08-Jan-2019

In 2018, ETH Zurich achieved a new record high for the number of spin-offs founded: a total of 27 founding teams took the plunge into independence. While an average of 13 ETH spin-offs were founded per year from 2000 to 2010, the following decade has seen an average of 24 per year. For Detlef ...

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Data storage using individual molecules

19-Dec-2018

Researchers from the University of Basel have reported a new method that allows the physical state of just a few atoms or molecules within a network to be controlled. It is based on the spontaneous self-organization of molecules into extensive networks with pores about one nanometer in size. In ...

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Synthesis methods honoured

18-Dec-2018

This year’s Ruzicka Prize has been awarded to Christof Sparr, Assistant Professor at the University of Basel. The 38-year-old ETH alumnus was honoured for his outstanding achievements in the development of new synthesis methods. Christof Sparr was born in 1980 in Appenzell. He studied chemistry ...

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Custom-made artificial mother-of-pearl

Researchers developed an imitation comparable to mother-of-pearl, the physical properties of which can be specifically adjusted

14-Dec-2018

Natural mother-of-pearl, such as mussels, is one of the hardest, most stable and stiff natural materials. Researchers have always been fascinated by it. The structure of mother-of-pearl is exquisite under the electron microscope; it looks like a miniature brick wall, the joints of which are ...

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