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Getting hydrogen out of banana peels

New way to maximize hydrogen yields from biowaste within a few milliseconds

27-Jan-2022

As the world’s energy demands increase, so does our consumption of fossil fuels. The result is a massive rise in greenhouse gases emissions with severely adverse environmental effects. To address this, scientists have been searching for alternative, renewable sources of energy. A main candidate ...

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Molecular device turns infrared into visible light

Breakthrough ushers in a new class of compact sensors for thermal imaging and chemical or biological analysis

06-Dec-2021

Light is an electromagnetic wave: it consists of oscillating electric and magnetic fields propagating through space. Every wave is characterized by its frequency, which refers to the number of oscillations per second, measured in Hertz (Hz). Our eyes can detect frequencies between 400 and 750 ...

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A new approach for recycling plastics

Two EPFL engineers have come up with a revolutionary new method for tackling plastic pollution by harnessing the inner workings of proteins. The result? A whole new way of looking at plastic recycling

28-Sep-2021

Each human being uses, on average, 30 kg of plastic per year. Given that global life expectancy currently stands at approximately 70 years, each person will discard some two metric tons of plastic in his or her lifetime. Multiply that by the number people on earth – which is growing constantly – ...

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“Bite” defects in bottom-up graphene nanoribbons

Important findings in the context of the potential applications of graphene nanoribbons in nanoelectronics and quantum technology

27-May-2021

Scientists at Empa and EPFL have identified a new type of defect as the most common source of disorder in on-surface synthesized graphene nanoribbons, a novel class of carbon-based materials that may prove extremely useful in next-generation electronic devices. The researchers identified the ...

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Carbyne – an unusual form of carbon

International team of researchers investigates optical band gap of carbon compound

13-Nov-2020

Which photophysical properties does carbyne have? This was the subject of research carried out by scientists at FAU, the University of Alberta, Canada, and the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland, which has led to a greater understanding of the properties of this unusual form ...

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"Simulation microscope" examines transistors of the future

"We have created one of the largest databases of transistor materials"

12-Aug-2020

Since the discovery of graphene, two-​dimensional materials have been the focus of materials research. Among other things, they could be used to build tiny, high-​performance transistors. Researchers at ETH Zurich and EPF Lausanne have now simulated and evaluated one hundred possible materials ...

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The smallest motor in the world

On the trail of enigmatic quantum phenomena

17-Jun-2020

A research team from Empa and EPFL has developed a molecular motor which consists of only 16 atoms and rotates reliably in one direction. It could allow energy harvesting at the atomic level. The special feature of the motor is that it moves exactly at the boundary between classical motion and ...

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Watching single protons moving at water-solid interfaces

A major experimental breakthrough

29-May-2020

The H+ proton consists of a single ion of hydrogen, the smallest and lightest of all the chemical elements. These protons occur naturally in water where a tiny proportion of H2O molecules separate spontaneously. Their amount in a liquid determines whether the solution is acidic or basic. Protons ...

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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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A computational method for designing a new type of 2D carbons

16-Aug-2018

Zeolites are porous minerals that occur both naturally but also are being synthesized artificially. Because of their stability and durability, they are used in industrial water purification, catalysis, adsorption, and even in blood-clotting powders (e.g. QuickClot used by the US military). A ...

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