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A biochemical random number

Scientists have generated a huge true random number using DNA synthesis: It is the first time that a number of this magnitude has been created by biochemical means.

23-Nov-2020

True random numbers are required in fields as diverse as slot machines and data encryption. These numbers need to be truly random, such that they cannot even be predicted by people with detailed knowledge of the method used to generate them. As a rule, they are generated using physical methods. ...

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Decoding the way catalysts work

Good catalytic performance is driven chiefly by processes that occur on the surface of the catalyst – and not electrochemical processes

20-Nov-2020

Splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen is an important chemical reaction, especially considering that the use of hydrogen as an energy source in sustainable mobility in the future. An international research team has now decoded how one of the catalysts used in this reaction works. Hydrogen is a ...

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Luminescent wood could light up homes of the future

Luminescent and hydrophobic wood films as optical lighting materials

06-Nov-2020

The right indoor lighting can help set the mood, from a soft romantic glow to bright, stimulating colors. But some materials used for lighting, such as plastics, are not eco-friendly. Now, researchers reporting in ACS Nano have developed a bio-based, luminescent, water-resistant wood film that ...

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Biodegradable flip-flops coming soon

Innovative bio-​propellant from gas and water

29-Oct-2020

Biodegradable plastics are very much on trend. But there are still very few sustainable alternatives for products containing foamed plastic. ETH Pioneer Fellow Zuzana Sediva is developing a process that could one day be used to make shoe soles and yoga mats from organic waste. Zuzana Sediva loves ...

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Turning streetwear into solar power plants

Ready-to-wear solar cells

23-Oct-2020

Empa researchers succeeded in developing a material that works like a luminescent solar concentrator and can even be applied to textiles. This opens up numerous possibilities for producing energy directly where it is needed, i.e. in the use of everyday electronics. Our hunger for energy is ...

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How ETH Zurich spin-offs strengthen the Swiss economy

ETH spin-​offs are much more likely to make an exit than other Swiss start-​ups

08-Oct-2020

As well as generating more jobs on average than other Swiss start-​ups, ETH spin-​offsare also acquired more frequently. A decisive factor, according to University of St.Gallen’s comprehensive analysis, comes from the institutional support for entrepreneurship. With around 500 ETH spin-​offs now ...

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Filtering radioactive elements from water

Membrane massively reduces volumes of waste

01-Oct-2020

The nuclear accident in Fukushima remains etched into people's memories. It was a catastrophe that caused huge amounts of radioactively contaminated water to be released, which the operators of the nuclear power plant subsequently had to clean up. One of the methods they used was reverse osmosis ...

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Nanostructures with a unique property

For the first time, researchers have managed to create and identify antiferromagnetic skyrmions with a unique property

25-Sep-2020

Nanoscale vortices known as skyrmions can be created in many magnetic materials. For the first time, researchers at PSI have managed to create and identify antiferromagnetic skyrmions with a unique property: critical elements inside them are arranged in opposing directions. Scientists have ...

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Better catalysts for a sustainable bioeconomy

Get zeolite research out of the dead end

24-Sep-2020

Researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI and from ETH Zurich want to make so-called zeolites more efficient. Today, these compounds are already indispensable additives in the chemical industry and have been used as catalysts in oil refineries since the 1960s. Now, in the journal Nature ...

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The Transistor out of the Printer

A new revolution in the production of electronic circuits is on the way

11-Sep-2020

Empa researchers are working on electronics that come out of printers. This makes it possible to produce the circuits on all sorts of substrates, such as paper or plastic film – but there are still some hurdles to overcome. Imagine being able to easily print electronics on any surface. Today, ...

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