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Golden wedding for molecules

Opportunities for a "new" chemistry

20-Apr-2022

Chemical syntheses in liquids and gases take place in three-dimensional space. Random collisions between molecules have to result in something new in an extremely short time. But there is another way: on a gold surface under ultrahigh vacuum conditions, molecules lying still next to each other ...

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Plastic snowfall in the Alps

Nanoplastic in the environment: New chemical method for counting plastic particles developed

27-Jan-2022

In a large-scale fundraising campaign, popular YouTubers like Mister Beast and Mark Rober are currently trying to rid the oceans of almost 14,000 tonnes of plastic waste. That's about 0.15 per cent of the amount that ends up in the oceans every year. But it's not just our waters that are full of ...

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Seeing the world through different eyes

An entire IR camera on a chip

28-Oct-2021

Short-wave infrared light (SWIR) is useful for many things: It helps sort out damaged fruit and inspecting silicon chips, and it enables night vision devices with sharp images. But SWIR cameras have so far been based on expensive electronics. Researchers at Empa, EPFL, ETH Zurich and the ...

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Exotic magnetic states in miniature dimensions

One-dimensional magnetic chains assembled from molecules

15-Oct-2021

Led by scientists at Empa and the International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory, an international team of researchers from Switzerland, Portugal, Germany, and Spain have succeeded in building carbon-based quantum spin chains, where they captured the emergence of one of the cornerstone models of ...

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Fireproof and comfortable

A new chemical process developed by Empa turns cotton into a fire-resistant fabric, that nevertheless retains the skin-friendly properties of cotton

20-Sep-2021

State-of-the-art flame retardant cotton textiles suffer from release of formaldehyde and are uncomfortable to wear. Empa scientists managed to circumvent this problem by creating a physically and chemically independent network of flame retardants inside the fibers. This approach retains the ...

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21.4% record efficiency for flexible solar cells

Flexible solar cells gain power

08-Sep-2021

A group of scientists at Empa has pushed the efficiency of flexible solar cells to a new limit. Independent measurements revealed an efficiency of 21.4 percent when these types of solar cells convert light into electricity. For comparison: the best efficiency of a non-flexible solar cell made of ...

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Molecules in collective ecstasy

Signal transmission through dyes: Chemical light amplifiers ten times more efficient than before

15-Jul-2021

When fluorescent dye molecules nestle perfectly together, something completely new is created: an excited state distributed over many molecules. Such collective excitations can be used in a variety of ways – for organic solar panels, in sensors, for ultrafast data transmission or in microscopy, ...

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A next step towards climate-friendly fuels

Solar technology from Synhelion to receive Innosuisse funding

08-Jul-2021

Synhelion and Empa are conducting a joint research project, co-funded by the Swiss Innovation Agency Innosuisse, to further develop a high-temperature energy storage solution that is a key component in the production of climate-friendly solar fuels. The project will enable the cost-effective and ...

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Tailor-made enzymes for chemical toxins?

Hiding in the midst of trash are valuable bacteria that can degrade environmental toxins

21-Jun-2021

Bacteria from an Indian landfill could help eliminate contaminated chemicals. The focus is on pesticides or brominated flame retardants, which accumulate in nature and in food chains. Researchers at Empa and Eawag used these bacteria to generate enzymes that can break down these dangerous ...

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The biodegradable battery - an ecological miracle

New mini-capacitor consists of carbon, cellulose, glycerin and table salt

07-Jun-2021

The number of data-transmitting microdevices, for instance in packaging and transport logistics, will increase sharply in the coming years. All these devices need energy, but the amount of batteries would have a major impact on the environment. Empa researchers have developed a biodegradable ...

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