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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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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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Biofuels and sophisticated materials cycles thanks to bio-templating

Mini power plants from coated blue-green algae

31-Aug-2020

Blue-green algae are among the oldest living creatures on Earth and have perfected the use of sunlight over billions of years. Empa scientists have now equipped these humble unicellular organisms with semiconductor coatings to create mini power plants, which supply biofuels and are ...

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Aerogel – the micro structural material of the future

Numerous new application possibilities in the high-tech industry, for example in microelectronics, robotics, biotechnology and sensor technology

25-Aug-2020

Aerogel is an excellent thermal insulator. So far, however, it has mainly been used on a large scale, for example in environmental technology, in physical experiments or in industrial catalysis. Empa researchers have now succeeded in making aerogels accessible to microelectronics and precision ...

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How dangerous are burning electric cars?

Fire test in a tunnel

19-Aug-2020

There' s a loud bang, and then it starts: A battery module of an electric car is on fire in the Hagerbach test tunnel. A video of the test impressively shows the energy stored in such batteries: Meter-long flames hiss through the room and produce enormous amounts of thick, black soot. The ...

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Fluorine recycling for lithium-ion batteries

Water-based lithium-ion batteries would be safer to handle and easier to recycle

23-Jul-2020

Lithium-ion batteries contain salts rich in fluorine, which decompose in humid air to toxic, highly corrosive hydrogen fluoride. The hazardous nature of this substance makes recycling more difficult and more expensive. A research project entitled "Fluoribat" is now being launched at Empa to solve ...

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Nanosafety research without animal experiments

Risk analyses for nanoparticles

23-Jun-2020

In order to reduce the number of animal experiments in research, alternative methods are being sought. This is a particular challenge if the safety of substances that have hardly been studied is to be ensured, for instance, the completely new class of nanomaterials. To accomplish just that, Empa ...

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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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Surprisingly strong and deformable silicon

The strength of lithographically produced silicon pillars even reached values that one would only expect only in theory

12-Jun-2020

Researchers at ETH and Empa have shown that tiny objects can be made from silicon that are much more deformable and stronger than previously thought. In this way, sensors in smartphones could be made smaller and more robust. Since the invention of the MOSFET transistor sixty year ago, the ...

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A recipe for eco-concrete

A CO2-negative concrete would be a true climate friend

09-Jun-2020

Cement production has to drastically reduce its environmental footprint. Empa researchers are, therefore working on alternative cement recipes that cause significantly fewer emissions or can even bind the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. It is the most widely used product in the world. Cement is ...

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