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Shiny mega-crystals that build themselves

New mega-crystals exhibit unique properties such as superfluorescence and may well usher in a new era in materials science

28-May-2021

An international team led by Empa and ETH Zurich researchers is playing with shape-engineered nanoscale building blocks that are up to 100-times larger than atoms and ions. And although these nano "Lego bricks" interact with each other with forces vastly different and much weaker than those ...

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A material-keyboard made of graphene

Insulator and superconductor in the same material

07-May-2021

Researchers at ETH Zurich have succeeded in turning specially prepared graphene flakes either into insulators or into superconductors by applying an electric voltage. This technique even works locally, meaning that in the same graphene flake regions with completely different physical properties ...

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Nanoplastics – an underestimated problem?

Tiny plastic particles in the environment

06-May-2021

The images leave no one cold: giant vortices of floating plastic trash in the world's oceans with sometimes devastating consequences for their inhabitants – the sobering legacy of our modern lifestyle. Weathering and degradation processes produce countless tiny particles that can now be detected ...

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Chain length determines molecular colour

Chemical adjustments within the molecules themselves can generate a broad palette of colours

09-Apr-2021

Researchers at ETH Zurich have developed fluorescent polymers whose colour can be easily tuned. Depending on their length, the polymers emit a different colour. Potential applications include biomedicine, security printing and solar energy. Around the world, a huge amount of research and ...

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Voltage from the parquet

Piezoelectric wood can generate electricity through deformation

17-Mar-2021

Researchers at Empa and ETH Zurich have made wood compressible and turned it into a micro-generator. When it is loaded, an electrical voltage is generated. In this way, the wood can serve as a bio-sensor - or generate usable energy. The latest highlight: To ensure that the process does not ...

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Lights on for silicon photonics

The demonstration of electroluminescence at terahertz frequencies from a silicon-germanium device marks a key step towards the long-sought goal of a silicon-based laser

10-Mar-2021

When it comes to microelectronics, there is one chemical element like no other: silicon, the workhorse of the transistor technology that drives our information society. The countless electronic devices we use in everyday life are a testament to how today very high volumes of silicon-based ...

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Synthesizing valuable chemicals from contaminated soil

Researchers use electrolysis to produce dichloro and dibromo compounds in a safer and more environmentally friendly manner

01-Feb-2021

Scientists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) and ETH Zurich have developed a process to produce commodity chemicals in a much less hazardous way than was previously possible. Such commodity chemicals represent the starting point for many mass-produced products in the chemical industry, ...

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How will we achieve carbon-neutral flight in future?

Carbon-​neutral aviation and the use of fossil fuels are not mutually exclusive

15-Jan-2021

Carbon-​neutral aviation is possible, but in future, aircraft are likely to continue to be powered by fossil fuels. The CO2 they emit must be systematically stored underground. This is the most economical of various approaches that ETH researchers have compared in detail. It is politically agreed ...

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Putting climate-positive business ideas into practice

Start-ups made carbon-​neutral fuels and turning carbon dioxide into stone

14-Jan-2021

More and more ETH Zurich researchers are taking the plunge into entrepreneurship. By launching spin-​offs, they hope to turn their lab findings into solutions that can help stem the rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide. There is no shortage of evidence for what the Fifth Assessment Report of the ...

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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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