News 2011

Dec 19, 2011 | Towards artificial photosynthesis for solar hydrogen generation
Water splitting in photo-electrochemical cells to yield hydrogen is a promising way to sustainable fuels. A team of Swiss and US scientists now made major progress in developing highly efficient electrodes – made of an...
Dec 8, 2011 | On the road to creating an affordable master instrument
Violins made of wood treated with fungus need not hide their lights under a bushel when compared to a Stradivarius, as a blind test before an expert audience has already suggested. However, these “tonal masterpieces” are...
Dec 2, 2011 | ETH Board appoints new member to Empa’s Board of Directors
At its meeting on 1 – 2 December, 2011, the ETH Board, the strategic management and supervisory body of the ETH Domain, appointed a new member to Empa’s Board of Directors: acting on behalf of Empa Director Gian-Luca...
Nov 28, 2011 | Two new studies in the field of nano(eco)toxicology
In the past decade numerous projects on the risks associated with nanomaterials have been initiated and carried out. In general, they dealt with the subject of how nanomaterials could be used without representing a...
24.11.2011 | «Technology Briefing» an der Empa
Mehr als hundert Gäste aus Architektur und Bauwirtschaft liessen sich an der Empa-Akademie in puncto Leichtbau auf den neuesten Stand bringen. Dabei ging es nicht nur um Holz und Rigips – auch andere – teils...
21 nov. 2011 | Plein feu sur la photovoltaïque
La manifestation d’information «Electricité solaire pour la Suisse» offrait aux spécialistes et au public intéressé un aperçu sur l’avenir solaire dans notre pays. Dans un premier temps, les chercheurs Ayodhya N. Tiwari...
11.11.2011 | Design Preis Schweiz 2011 verliehen
Die Textildesignerin Annette Douglas hat mit dem KTI-Projekt «Schallabsorbierende, lichtdurchlässige und leichte Textilien» einen der begehrten «Design Preise Schweiz 2011» erhalten. Ausgezeichnet wurde sie zusammen mit...
Nov 9, 2011 | The smallest electric car in the world – on the cover of «Nature»
Reduced to the max: the emission-free, noiseless 4-wheel drive car, jointly developed by Empa researchers and their Dutch colleagues, represents lightweight construction at its most extreme. The nano car consists of just...
Nov 2, 2011 | How do green algae react to carbon nanotubes?
Nanoparticles such as carbon nanotubes (CNT), which are found in an ever-increasing number of products, are ending up more and more frequently in our surroundings. If and how they affect aquatic ecosystems are questions...
27.10.2011 | Vorbildprojekt des Textilverbandes Schweiz TVS und der Empa
Der Leitfaden «Nano Textiles» soll Unternehmen der Textil- und Bekleidungsindustrie den sicheren Zu- und Umgang mit der Nanotechnik erleichtern. Denn nur wer zuverlässig sichere und innovative Produkte herstellt, hat im...
Oct 25, 2011 | Pure luxury – thanks to Empa technology
True luxury has only one color – gold. A nanometer-thin layer of pure gold now lends ties and pocket handkerchiefs that authentic gold sheen, thanks to a new Empa-developed process. The yarn, which is coated using a...
Oct 24, 2011 | New process for manufacturing nanocellulose recognized with the Empa Research Award
For some time now nanocellulose has been at the focus of a good deal of industrial and scientific interest as a novel biomaterial. Potential applications range from the creation of new kinds of commercially useful...
Oct 11, 2011 | Award-winning Microscopic Images
When Empa researchers receive prizes, it is usually to honour their scientific work. However, the photographs from the scanning electron microscope, taken by Siddhartha Pathak during his postdoctoral time at Empa in...
10 oct. 2011 | Le train de mesures de la CTI contre le «franc fort» – l’Empa et le CSEM offrent leur aide aux innovateurs
Le train de mesure contre le «franc fort» décidé récemment par le Parlement suisse était le thème principal de la manifestation «Smart textiles» qui s’est déroulée le 30 septembre à l’Empa. La branche textile suisse,...
Sep 28, 2011 | EmpaNews 36 published
For 75 years Empa has been conducting wood research. Despite (or perhaps expressly because of) this long history, wood is a material with a bright future. It is not just a construction material made from renewable...
Sep 23, 2011 | License issued for the functional principle of organic solar cells
Flexible thin-film solar cells have good prospects to replace today’s rigid silicon-based solar cells, among other reasons because their production requires significantly fewer raw materials. Empa recently filed a patent...
23.09.2011 | Förderplattform für die Ostschweiz
«Startfeld», die Plattform zur Förderung von Innovationen und Unternehmensgründungen in der Ostschweiz, wird neben dem Empa-Gebäude in St.Gallen ein eigenes Domizil erhalten. In einem Wettbewerb hat die Jury kürzlich ein...
Sep 22, 2011 | World Resources Forum in Davos 2011
By 2050, the world population will rise from now 7 billion to 9 billion, putting even greater pressure on natural resources. Urgent action is needed to address the global resource challenges the world is currently...
Sep 22, 2011 | Self-healing membranes
Lianas whose stabilization rings of woody cells heal spontaneously after suffering damage serve as a natural example to bionic experts of self-repairing membranes. Such membranes could find use, for example, in rubber...
Sep 21, 2011 | Empa results published in “Nature Materials”
The technology yielding flexible solar cells with an 18.7% world record efficiency developed by scientists at Empa, the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology, has now been published in “Nature...
19.09.2011 | Im Amt bestätigt
Der Bundesrat hat den Präsidenten des ETH-Rates, Fritz Schiesser, für weitere vier Jahre in seinem Amt bestätigt. Der ETH-Rat ist das strategische Führungs- und Aufsichtsorgan des ETH-Bereichs, zu dem auch die Empa als...
Sep 15, 2011 | Empa extends its collaboration with the Swedish Royal Institute of Technology
Cooperation between Empa and the Royal Institute of technology in Stockholm (KTH, the Swedish equivalent of the ETH) has existed at the educational and project levels for several years. Now this collaborative work has...
14 sept. 2011 | Potentiel d’économie de carburant en voiture
Tous les automobilistes qui mettent inutilement en marche la climatisation de leur voiture – à une température extérieure inférieure à 18 degrés Celsius, sauf pour désembuer brièvement le pare-brise – consomment trop de...
Sep 14, 2011 | EmpaNews 34 published
Sustainable use of energy and raw materials is a central research topic at Empa. The variety of topics streches from rural biofuel-projects in Africa to the ambitious vision of producing liquid fuel out of carbon-dioxide...
08.09.2011 | Naturwissenschaften für die Kleinen
21 kleine Forscherinnen und Forscher durften in der letzten Zürcher Schulferienwoche einen Vor- bzw. einen Nachmittag lang an der Empa ihren Wissensdurst stillen. Petra Adamaszek vom «Kinderlabor» führte mit den Kindern...
05.09.2011 | Wissenschaftsapéro «Die elektromobile Stadt»
Sind Elektroautos die Lösung für alle Mobilitätsfragen der Zukunft? Der Empa-Wissenschaftsapéro «Die elektromobile Stadt», in Zusammenarbeit mit der Stadtverwaltung St.Gallen, gab Antworten auf diese Fragen.
31.08.2011 | Bundesrat beschliesst zusätzliche Mittel, um Technologie, Innovation und Forschung zu fördern
Der Bundesrat hat heute ein umfangreiches «Massnahmenpaket 2011» in der Höhe von 870 Mio. Franken beschlossen, um Schweizer Exportunternehmen rasch und wirksam im Kampf gegen den «Starken Franken» zu unterstützen. Darin...
Aug 29, 2011 | Hydrogen powered prototype vessel for inland waterways
Environmentally friendly fuels are not just of interest for use in cars. The University of Birmingham has been operating a canal boat with a fuel cell drive for three years now. In the world of shipbuilding, however,...
26 août 2011 | «Innovation Day 2011» de Swiss Texnet à l’Empa
L’«Innovation Day» de Swiss Texnet, le réseau d’innovation textile suisse, qui cette année aussi avait lieu à l’Empa, était consacré au cleantech dans le domaine des textiles.
26 août 2011 | CTI-Medtech-Event 2011
Après que la jeune entreprise «compliant concept» ait achevé récemment avec succès son premier tour de financement, son fondateur Michael Sauter s’est vu remettre lors du CTI-Medtech-Event un «bon d’innovation» d’un...
23.08.2011 | Bautechnologien – Energie – Mobilität: zentrale Forschungsthemen der Empa
Effizienz im Bauwesen, Ressourcen schonende Energietechnologien und umweltfreundliche Mobilität sind wichtige Forschungsgebiete der Empa, die sie an einer Medienkonferenz zur Lancierung der Messe «Hausbau und Energie»,...
Aug 18, 2011 | Sketchy emission reports revealed by Empa measurements at Jungfraujoch
Fluorinated hydrocarbons are potent greenhouse gases, emission of which must be reduced under the Kyoto Protocol. If you rely on the official reports of the participating countries, the output of trifluoromethane...
29.07.2011 | Sommercamp 2011 an der Empa
21 Kinder von Empa-Angestellten lernten im einwöchigen Sommercamp Mitte Juli bei einem Streifzug durch verschiedene Laboratorien den Forschungsalltag kennen. Abenteuerlich war dabei vor allem der Bau einer tragfähigen...
Jul 12, 2011 | First round of financing successfully concluded
It was young entrepreneur Michael Sauter’s idea – to develop an intelligent bed which would prevent patients from developing bedsores and reduce the strain on health care professionals. Within just two years he has...
Jul 11, 2011 | New test facility for lightweight structures is commissioned
For the past few weeks now Empa scientists have enjoyed access to a new research and development platform which will allow them to improve acoustic insulation in lightweight structures. On June 30, 2011 the new...
Jun 14, 2011 | How sustainable are "biofuels"? A new web-based tool can tell
Various biofuels, first hailed as a way to a sustainable energy supply, have since fallen out of favor because of the overall negative impact they have on the environment, mainly due to the production of the biogenic...
Jun 8, 2011 | New superstrate material enables flexible, lightweight and efficient thin film solar modules
DuPont™ Kapton® 1) colorless polyimide film, a new material currently in development for use as a flexible superstrate for cadmium telluride (CdTe) thin film photovoltaic (PV) modules, has enabled a new world record for...
May 27, 2011 | Mirko Roš Award
Oral Buyukozturk, Ph.D., Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, received the award for his most valuable and sustained contribution...
May 23, 2011 | 1st Swiss NanoConvention in Baden
Nanotech is opening up new markets and offering novel solutions to numerous challenges in a very varied range of areas. This was the tenor of the 1st Swiss NanoConvention which took place on May 18 and 19 in Baden. The...
May 21, 2011 | EmpaNews No 33 published
Every material – just like every substance – is made up of chemical elements. It’s no wonder, then, that a large number of chemists are hard at work at Empa. They are looking into new materials which are expected to be...
May 19, 2011 | Swiss researchers boost efficiency of flexible solar cells to new world record
Scientists at Empa, the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology, have further boosted the energy conversion efficiency of flexible solar cells made of copper indium gallium (di)selenide (also...
May 9, 2011 | Taking a close look at the eco-balance of coffee capsules
Exactly how environmentally friendly are the various capsule systems and other ways of making coffee? Empa researchers have taken a close look at the ecological balances of the various systems currently in use. The...
28.04.2011 | Jahresmedienkonferenz des ETH-Rats in Bern
Die Empa und die anderen Institutionen des ETH-Bereichs betreiben Spitzenforschung zu erneuerbarer Energie, Energieeffizienz und Grosskraftwerken. Damit liefern sie Grundlagen für energiepolitische und ökonomische...
Apr 26, 2011 | Empa’s successful new CTI project
Researchers at Empa, in cooperation with textile designer Annette Douglas and silk weavers Weisbrod-Zürrer AG, have developed lightweight, translucent curtain materials, which are excellent at absorbing sound. This is a...
Apr 12, 2011 | Empa researchers use electron beams for chemical reactions
Electron microscopes use focussed electron beams to make extremely small objects visible. By combining the instrument with a gas-injection system material samples can be manipulated and surface structures measuring only...
Apr 6, 2011 | Empa opens laser centre in Thun
On 7 April 2011, in the presence of its Director, Gian-Luca Bona, and the Mayor of Thun, Raphael Lanz, Empa’s new laser centre, which houses the only UV laser facility of its kind in the world, was opened in Thun. The...
Mar 29, 2011 | Publication of the first Swiss Cleantech Report
Environmentally friendly technologies are becoming increasingly important to Switzerland as an economic and research hub. A new study has revealed that Swiss companies in all sectors are investing substantial sums in...
Mar 24, 2011 | Novel electrode for flexible thin-film solar cells
Conventional silicon-based rigid solar cells generally found on the market are not suitable for manufacturing moldable thin-film solar cells, in which a transparent, flexible and electrically conductive electrode...
Mar 18, 2011 | Wind tunnel begins operations at Empa in Duebendorf
On hot days it is often very still in cities because the high density of buildings prevents the air from circulating freely. In the newly commissioned wind tunnel operated by Empa and the ETH Zürich wind effects and...
Feb 17, 2011 | Empa/ETH Zurich study published in «Nature»
For the first time, scientists from Empa and ETH Zurich have, in collaboration with a Dutch team, managed to measure the atomic structure of individual nanoparticles. The technique, recently published in «Nature», could...
Feb 15, 2011 | EmpaNews 32 published
Researchers of Empa and ETH Zürich's Institute for Rapid Product Development, together with the Swiss company TISCA TIARA and the German fibre manufacturer Schramm GmbH, have developed a bi-component fibre for a novel...
Feb 10, 2011 | Empa and TISCA TIARA have developed a novel bi-component fibre
Empa researchers, together with TISCA TIARA, a Swiss manufacturer of artificial turf, have developed a novel fibre for artificial turf. The bi-component fibre returns to an upright position again and again thanks to a...
09.02.2011 | Axpo Holding AG und Empa
Elektrofahrzeuge sind nicht immer umweltfreundlich. Eine unabhängige Studie der Empa im Auftrag der Axpo zur Ökobilanz von Fahrzeugen mit verschiedenen Antrieben zeigt zwei Erkenntnisse: Wichtig ist, dass die zum Antrieb...
Feb 2, 2011 | Empa organises an international construction conference in Dubai
The first international conference on “smart” monitoring, assessment and rehabilitation of buildings and other construction works will take place from 8-10 February 2011 in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, the place...
Feb 1, 2011 | Winter smog and fine particulates
Road traffic is one of the main sources of fine particulate matter in the atmosphere, above all when the weather situation favors the creation of winter smog, as has been the case over the past few day in the Swiss...
Jan 28, 2011 | How Safe Is Nano?
The rapid development of nanotechnology has increased fears about the health risks of nano-objects. Are these fears justified? Do we need a new discipline, nanotoxicology, to evaluate the risks? Harald F. Krug and Peter...
Jan 27, 2011 | At work against microbes for over a century
Nanosilver is not a new discovery by nanotechnologists – it has been used in various products for over a hundred years, as is shown by a new Empa study. The antimicrobial effects of minute silver particles, which were...
Jan 20, 2011 | Science Apéro: Photovoltaics in Switzerland
For the Swiss energy market, as elsewhere, solar energy is becoming ever more lucrative. There is no shortage of suitable areas to install solar cells and there is enough sunshine in the country too. Thanks to...
Jan 18, 2011 | Empa and the Cantonal Hospital St. Gall strengthen collaboration
In future Empa and the Cantonal Hospital St. Gall will work together more intensively in various fields of research and development in medicinal and medical materials. In addition to previous cooperative projects in the...