Research Focus Areas

What are the big challenges we are facing today and, maybe even more so, in the years to come? The first one that comes to mind is a sustainable, safe and secure energy supply. Another one is global climate, the environment and our dwindling natural resources – besides fossil fuels. Not to forget: the renewal of our built infrastructure, that is, buildings, streets, bridges and tunnels, many of which are getting a bit long in the tooth. And, closer to home, personal health and well-being, an issue that is becoming ever more important in light of our increasing life expectancy. Empa is trying to provide answers and solutions, new ideas and impulses by concentrating its R&D activities within five Research Focus Areas (RFAs). At the core our objectives remain unchanged: materials and technologies for a livable future. Because meeting today’s challenges requires, above all, innovative materials and sustainable technologies. At Empa we are eager to tackle these challenges now to create direly needed solutions in the not too distant future.
Entering the nano-world allows access to the basic elements of our materials. This enables us to devise new materials and coatings with tailor-made functional properties to solve numerous technological problems, for instance in the medtech sector or for micro- and nanoelectronics.
The quality of the built environment is a key factor for a truly sustainable society. Our research centers on new materials, the design of advanced systems and their integration into buildings and structures to minimize the environmental footprint and to enhance comfort and safety.
Protect people, promote health, maintain and improve our quality of life and physical capacity – this is what we want to achieve with our bio- and medtech activities, be it with new implants, novel drug carriers and other therapeutic and diagnostic devices as well as safety studies.
Every society requires materials and energy to fulfil its needs. In order to foster a society that uses fewer natural resources and emits fewer pollutants we investigate the underlying physical and chemical processes and develop innovative technical solutions.
On global average, each individual "consumes" about 17'500 kWh of energy each year. In Switzerland, however, the amount is three times higher. To bring down this figure we develop new energy concepts and technologies for the conversion, transport and storage of energy.