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How protons move through a fuel cell

New conductivity mechanism of ions discovered

26-Jun-2017

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion ...

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Sodium and magnesium to replace lithium in batteries

03-May-2017

A project supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) aims to find new materials which can be used in rechargeable batteries and eventually provide alternatives to the current lithium batteries. Lithium-based batteries have several drawbacks, such as the limited availability of the ...

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Single crystal measures radioactivity

Affordable detectors for gamma radiation

21-Sep-2016

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 ...

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How nanoparticles flow through the environment

13-May-2016

Carbon nanotubes remain attached to materials for years while titanium dioxide and nanozinc are rapidly washed out of cosmetics and accumulate in the ground. Researchers from the National Research Programme "Opportunities and Risks of Nanomaterials" (NRP 64) have developed a new model to track ...

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Silicone films for artificial muscles

08-Apr-2016

Researchers of the University of Basel and Empa have gotten a step closer to engineering artificial muscles: they have developed a method to generate nanometer-thin silicone films. Elastomers, which can transform electrical energy into mechanical energy, have a wide variety of applications, i.e. ...

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Graphene nanoribbons: it's all about the edges

When electrons spin differently

29-Mar-2016

As reported by the journal Nature, 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 ...

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Technological breakthrough for cheaper lighting and flexible solar cells

EU project TREASORES finishes successfully

08-Mar-2016

In November 2012, the TREASORES project (Transparent Electrodes for Large Area Large Scale Production of Organic Optoelectronic Devices) started with the aim of developing technologies to dramatically reduce the production costs of organic electronic devices such as solar cells and LED lighting ...

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Jet engines to become cleaner in future

Swiss innovation for measuring particulate emissions from aircraft engines

01-Mar-2016

Since the 1980s, large aircraft engines have been required to meet emission limits that have been gradually tightened over time. Air traffic, therefore, contributes relatively little to Switzerland's pollution levels, and visible smoke trails in the sky from jet engines are a thing of the past. ...

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The “fool’s gold battery”

Environmentally friendly

17-Nov-2015

High-performance lithium ion batteries face a major problem: Lithium will eventually start to run out as batteries are deployed in electric cars and stationary storage units. Researchers from Empa and ETH Zurich have now discovered an alternative: the “fool’s gold battery”. It consists of iron, ...

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Structure of 'concrete disease' solved

09-Nov-2015

Researchers from the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) teamed up with colleagues from the Swiss Materials Science Lab Empa to study a degenerative sign of ageing in concrete: the so-called alkali-aggregate reaction (AAR). In the course of AAR, a material forms that takes up more space than the ...

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