News 2016

Dec 22, 2016 | Keeping tabs on aging process
Switzerland’s overhead power lines are showing signs of old age and can be damaged by power surges. But how long will they actually last? Empa researchers have developed a tool to keep tabs on the aging process. This...
Dec 15, 2016 | Empa know-how for the «Magic Tent»
As of December 12th the All-in-One sleep system developed by «Polarmond», a start-up company, is ready to hit the shelves. Thanks to its special humidity management feature and sophisticated temperature regulation,...
Dec 13, 2016 | Scarves and watches made with Empa technology
The gold thread developed at Empa is having extensive repercussions. Hot on the heels of a dessous collection being refined with the new technology, scarves and luxury watches are now also available. A long journey for...
Dec 8, 2016 | «Swiss Resources Forum» at Empa
Over 100 participants gathered on December 1, 2016 at the Empa AKADEMIE in Dübendorf to discuss the need for a resource revolution in Switzerland.
Dec 8, 2016 | Production time reduced
Aerogel is the perfect material for many insulation purposes. It is heat-resistant up to 600 degrees, ultralight, non-toxic – and provides excellent thermal insulation. Only its complicated and expensive production...
Dec 7, 2016 | New treatment methods for blood poisoning
Magnets instead of antibiotics could provide a possible new treatment method for blood infection. This involves the blood of patients being mixed with magnetic iron particles, which bind the bacteria to them after which...
Dec 2, 2016 | Innovations involving research and private sector cooperation
In the summer of 2017, the Switzerland Innovation Park Zurich will open its doors at Dübendorf airfield – and thus very close to Empa. The park provides a new platform for research, development and innovation, and aims...
Dec 2, 2016 | «Debiopharm-Inartis 2016 Challenge» won by EPFL-Empa Team
Working together with a research team from the EPF Lausanne, Empa scientists Giuseppino Fortunato, Anne Géraldine Guex and René Rossi have been awarded the «Debiopharm-Inartis Challenge» 2016 prize for their «Hello Mask»...
Nov 25, 2016 | Swiss Technology Award 2016
Congratulation! Yesterday "Mesh Mould", a partner project of NEST, won the Swiss Technology Award 2016 in the category "Inventors" at the 11th Swiss Innovation Forum in Basel. The award ceremony was attended by around...
Nov 23, 2016 | 5,000+ visitors since opening of NEST
NEST, the modular research and innovation building by Empa and Eawag, is teeming with life. Since it opened its doors in May 2016, over 5,000 visitors have flocked to see the building. The first users have set up their...
Nov 17, 2016 | Empa team solves engineering dilemma
Macroscopic crystal structures can absorb unwanted vibrations or filter noise – without any electronics or electricity whatsoever. They can be lighter and more solid than previous conventional insulating material and can...
Nov 16, 2016 | Empa PhD Symposium 2016
Am Montag, 14. November, fand der diesjährige Empa-DoktorandInnentag statt. Dieses alljährliche Symposium bietet jungen Forscherinnen und Forschern eine Bühne und die Gelegenheit, Rückmeldungen von erfahrenen Forschern...
Nov 11, 2016 | Nationaler Zukunftstag
Einmal mehr hat die Empa ihre Türen und Tore für alle interessierten Kinder geöffnet. Im Rahmen des Nationalen Zukunftstages besuchten mehr als 100 Schülerinnen und Schüler die Empa in Dübendorf und in St. Gallen.
Nov 11, 2016 | Empa-Spin-off im Start-up-Programm der ESA
An der ETH Zürich startete vor wenigen Wochen das Schweizer Business Incubation Center der Europäischen Raumfahrtbehörde ESA. Im «ESA BIC Switzerland» werden gezielt Jungunternehmen mit Bezug zu Raumfahrttechnologien...
Nov 9, 2016 | Green chemistry fights fire
The Empa Innovation Award 2016 went to chemist Sabyasachi Gaan and his team. The researchers were recognized for the development of new, non-toxic and environmentally friendly fireproofing agents for the production of...
Nov 1, 2016 | Kanton Zürich
Die Finanzdirektion des Kantons Zürich passt die steuerlichen Bestimmungen für Start-ups an und sorgt dafür, dass junge Unternehmen und ihre Investoren auch in steuerlicher Hinsicht gute Bedingungen vorfinden. An den...
Oct 28, 2016 | Erfolgreiche Start-ups und Partner der Empa
Zwei Start-ups der Empa und ein Partner im modularen Forschungs- und Innovationsgebäude NEST von Empa und Eawag stehen im Finale des diesjährigen «Swiss Technology Award», die wichtigste Auszeichnung für Innovation und...
Oct 27, 2016 | New Omega Speedmaster with Empa ceramic bezel
Empa researchers have pulled off a masterstroke of ceramics research: as of now, a dark-red ceramic bezel adorns a Swiss luxury watch – a world premiere and stunning example of top-flight materials science.
Oct 26, 2016 | Former radio transmitter site
A new measurement station for air pollution monitoring has been opened in Beromünster, Canton Lucerne, the first since 1990. The measurement station, operated by Empa and the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment is...
Oct 17, 2016 | Nanostructures against antibiotic resistance
Several peptides have an antibacterial effect – but they are broken down in the human body too quickly to exert this effect. Empa researchers have now succeeded in encasing peptides in a protective coat, which could...
Oct 6, 2016 | Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2016
Empa is delighted to acknowledge the awarding of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2016 to Bernard L. Feringa, Fraser Stoddart and Jean-Pierre Sauvage – as it made a major contribution in 2011 to a research project carried...
Oct 6, 2016 | “move” with 700-bar hydrogen station
Empa has launched Switzerland’s first hydrogen station for passenger cars on its campus in Dübendorf. With a filling pressure of 700 bars, it enables fuel-cell vehicles to be refueled in just two to three minutes. The...
Sep 29, 2016 | Rosetta mission comes to an end
For twelve years, the space probe Rosetta served mankind. The European Space Agency (ESA) mission is now drawing to a close as the probe reaches its final resting place on the target comet Tschuri on September 30, 2016....
Sep 26, 2016 | Puzzling 17th century burial
In 2013 archaeologists discovered a cemetery in use as long ago as the early Middle Ages in the Bernese Lakeland region of Switzerland. One of the bodies interred there was buried in an unusual way, and in order to...
Sep 21, 2016 | Vorbereitung auf die Zukunft der Energie
Im Rahmen des Projekts «Energiewelten» haben die Empa und der Verband Schweizerischer Elektrizitätsunternehmen eine enge Zusammenarbeit vereinbart. Durch die Verschmelzung der Energiewelten als Denkmodell mit der...
Sep 20, 2016 | Single crystal measures radioactivity
A research team at Empa and ETH Zurich has developed single crystals made of lead halide perovskites, which are able to gage radioactive radiation with high precision. Initial experiments have shown that these crystals,...
Sep 16, 2016 | Keeping wood destroying fungi at bay
Swisscom Ventures and Reto Vincenz are contributing to a seed-financing round for MycoSolutions AG, an Empa, St. Gallen, spin-off company. This start-up support should allow the new firm to break into the international...
Sep 6, 2016 | Explosive core
A local festival, a pleasant summer’s evening, a friendly game of boules – and suddenly a deafening bang. Not from a firework or a cracker, but from an exploding boules ball.
Sep 2, 2016 | «Reliability Science and Technology»
Empa's Reliability Science and Technology lab is set to focus on the topic of nanoscale transport phenomena and will have a new head, Michel Calame. The private lecturer of Physics at the University of Basel will take...
Aug 31, 2016 | Wasserstoffbetriebenes Kehrfahrzeug in Dübendorf
Seit Ende August reinigt ein wasserstoffbetriebenes Kehrfahrzeug die Strassen in Dübendorf. Das von der Empa mitentwickelte und überarbeitete Antriebskonzept basiert auf einer Zusammenarbeit mit dem Paul Scherrer...
Aug 23, 2016 | Ozon und Sommersmog
Der Ozongehalt der Luft hat in der Schweiz trotz erfolgreicher Massnahmen zur Luftreinhaltung im Verlauf der letzten Jahre nur wenig abgenommen. Das besagen die Auswertungen von langjährigen Messreihen des Nationalen...
Aug 22, 2016 | Tag der offenen (Labor-)Tür in St. Gallen
Seit 20 Jahren entwickelt die Empa im repräsentativen Gebäude im St. Galler «Moos» Materialien und Technologien für die Zukunft. Grund genug, um zu feiern und die Türen für das Publikum zu öffnen. Knapp 4000 Personen...
Aug 18, 2016 | Future mobility
On 18 August 2016 the municipality of St Gallen commissioned the first public rapid e-charging station, located on the Empa premises. This gives the drivers of electric vehicles the ability to recharge their cars within...
Aug 9, 2016 | Satellite being X-Rayed at Empa
The much-travelled European research satellite Eureca was taken from the aerospace exhibition in the Swiss Museum of Transport in Lucerne and loaded onto a truck before setting off on yet another adventure. The...
Jul 25, 2016 | Sommercamp an der Empa in Dübendorf
In der Woche vom 18. bis zum 22. Juli wurden an der Empa in Dübendorf Raketen und Brückenmodelle gebaut, Wald von Abfall befreit, Stickstoffeis hergestellt, Feuer gelöscht - und das für einmal nicht nur von Forschern und...
Jul 21, 2016 | Empa researcher to act as co-editor of NanoImpact
Empa researcher Bernd Nowack is one of the editors-in-chief of the scientific journal NanoImpact, which was launched in May as the first journal to focus solely on nanosafety research. It aims to cover and bring together...
Jul 17, 2016 | Empa researchers develop new flame retardants
Flame retardants are invisible assistants in car seats, gasket sealants, furniture and even in aeroplanes. However, their ingredients are not always harmless. Empa researchers developed three innovative flame retardants...
Jul 1, 2016 | Swiss Administration: role model for energy efficiency
On 29 June the Swiss Federal Office of Energy hosted an information event at Empa presenting the annual report 2015 of the role model function of the Federal Administration for energy efficiency (“Energie-Vorbild Bund”)....
Jun 30, 2016 | How water droplets adhere to surfaces
An international team of researchers headed by the University of Zurich and with participation of Empa has developed a system that enables them to electrically switch back and forth between adhesion and stiction (static...
Jun 23, 2016 | Cooperation with Korea
Cooperation between Empa and the Korea Research Institute of Standards and Science (KRISS) in the field of nano-safety research has been intensified further by the inauguration of a KRISS “branch” in St. Gallen. On 23...
Jun 22, 2016 | NEST-Unit "Vision Wood"
At the end of April, a construction crane pushed the first residential units into NEST just like they were a set of drawers. The new unit, called “Vision Wood”, is true to its name, as it contains a great deal of that...
Jun 22, 2016 | Bi-directional energy network in buildings
In the district of the future, favors amongst neighbors will go much further than lending a lawnmower or giving some sugar for baking. They will help each other out with energy – with electricity, heat and gas. With the...
Jun 16, 2016 | Oil and gas production in the US
Air measurements at 49 sites all over the world show that, since 2010, long-declining global atmospheric ethane concentrations are on the uptick again in the Northern Hemisphere. The new study by an international team of...
Jun 15, 2016 | Terahertz radiation
Although terahertz radiation is as harmless as a lukewarm cup of tea, it can penetrate textiles and come into contact with the surface of the skin. Empa researchers aim to use this technique to research, among other...
Jun 14, 2016 | White paper by Empa, PSI and BFH on CO2 legislation
Newly registered private cars must meet certain defined CO2 emission standards, and these are expected to be made more stringent in the forthcoming revision of the national regulations, in parallel with similar EU...
Jun 8, 2016 | Thanks to PRODEX
On one side Empa is very down to the earth and works in the longest tunnel of the world; on the other she can bring in her competences to bear in the vastness of the universe. Last Monday Empa CEO Gian-Luca Bona had the...
Jun 7, 2016 | On the road to artificial photosynthesis
As part of the "LightChEC" research project at the University of Zurich, Empa scientists are working with other researchers on a novel method of artificial photosynthesis – photocatalysis, which uses a purely chemical...
May 25, 2016 | Deciphering cloud nucleation
An international team of researchers led by the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) and with the participation of researchers from Empa, the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology, has demonstrated how...
May 20, 2016 | NEST inauguration with the Swiss President
A unique research and innovation platform has opened its doors: on 23 May 2016, the modular experimental building NEST was inaugurated on the Dübendorf campus of the two research institutes Empa and Eawag. Its official...
May 13, 2016 | Distinguished Senior Researcher
Two researchers at Empa have already been appointed Distinguished Senior Researchers but, as the saying goes, all good things come in threes. As of 1 May, this title now also applies to Barbara Lothenbach.
May 12, 2016 | National Research Program
Carbon nanotubes remain attached to materials for years while titanium dioxide and nanozinc are rapidly washed out of cosmetics and accumulate in the ground. Within the National Research Program “Opportunities and Risks...
Apr 28, 2016 | Spectacular installation of the second NEST unit
After roughly four weeks of prefabrication in the factory of wood construction company Renggli in Schötz, the installation of the Vision Wood unit in NEST went ahead in the last week of April. Two mobile cranes lifted...
Apr 27, 2016 | Empa staff member honoured
Prof. Maksym Kovalenko, of Empa‘s Thin Films and Photovoltaics Laboratory, has been awarded the Swiss Chemical Society’s Werner Prize for 2016. The award ceremony took place on 22 April during the Spring Meeting of the...
Apr 25, 2016 | Refreshing cycling
Any cyclist who wears a helmet knows the feeling: heat builds up under your helmet and the sweat starts to flow, especially in summer. As a result, many cyclists will take a risk and not even wear a helmet. A research...
Apr 21, 2016 | Long lasting roads thanks to nanoparticles
Empa scientists have developed a technique that can repair old, cracked asphalt. They got their inspiration from a method used in cancer treatment based on nanoparticles.
Apr 13, 2016 | Functional coatings: advantage for Swiss industry
At Empa’s new Coating Competence Center, which has just opened, tailor-made surface technologies find their way from the research labs to marketable industrial applications. The center boasts diverse coating systems for...
Apr 5, 2016 | FOCUS: Wood – a new discovery
Bamboo is a feat of nature. After all, this member of the grass family contains fibers that are as strong as steel. With a bit of help from the lab, it has the potential to become the building material of the future.
Apr 5, 2016 | FOCUS: Wood – a new discovery
For centuries, wood has been a popular light, solid building material. Moreover, it is a renewable and easily recyclable raw material – with one drawback: wood burns. But this doesn’t necessarily have to be that way, as...
Apr 5, 2016 | A true all-rounder
Wood is robust and versatile. But even the best material has its limits. Empa researchers are thus looking to transform wood into a high-tech material and broaden the range of applications for this natural resource. The...
Apr 5, 2016 | FOCUS: Wood – a new discovery
Wood can be magnetized. And an Empa team has figured out exactly how. Even if magnetic wood only lends itself to smaller applications, the first industrial partners have already expressed their interest.
Apr 5, 2016 | FOCUS: Wood – a new discovery
Water causes wood to rot and weather, which looks unsightly and gradually destroys the material. Empa researchers have now developed a strategy to combat this.
Apr 5, 2016 | FOCUS: Wood – a new discovery
Wood has one particular property that tends to cause problems: it swells when it gets wet. As this occurs according to strict rules, however, a team of Empa researchers is looking to produce wooden building components...
Apr 5, 2016 | New manufacturing process for electroactive polymers
Researchers from Empa and the University of Basel developed a new method of electrospraying which enables artificial muscles to be fabricated from nanometer-thin silicone layers. Since muscles of this type can operate at...
Apr 5, 2016 | FOCUS: Wood – a new discovery
Enzymes from fungi, bacteria and plants render wood resistant to decomposing and pathogenic microorganisms. Possible applications might be germ-resistant wood surfaces for hospitals and nursing homes, but also...
Apr 5, 2016 | Air analyses at the end of the world
Levels of greenhouse gas CO2 continue to rise and are about to exceed the next threshold. Empa makes sure that this and other air pollutants can be measured correctly and in a globally comparable way. To do this, Empa...
Apr 4, 2016 | David Bleiner
About 18 months ago, Davide Bleiner took over the helm at Empa’s Laboratory for Advanced Analytical Technologies. And he has big plans – for small things. Right at the top of his wish list is the development of a...
Apr 1, 2016 | New head of the “Technology and Society” laboratory
There will be a new face at the helm of the Empa “Technology and Society” laboratory, with Patrick Wäger heading up the department from May 2016. He will thus replace the interim head of laboratory, Heinz Böni.
Mar 24, 2016 | When electrons spin differently
As reported by the journal Nature in its latest issue, researchers from Empa, the Max Planck Institute in Mainz and the Technical University of Dresden have for the first time succeeded in producing graphene nanoribbons...
Mar 22, 2016 | Pilot project CarboCount
Mistakes can happen when estimating emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane. Researchers from Empa, the University of Berne and ETH Zurich funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation have...
Mar 14, 2016 | STARTFELD inauguration
The STARTFELD development platform has taken a decisive step forward, with the opening of an innovation centre adjacent to the Empa site in St. Gallen. It is intended to act as a crystallization nucleus for innovative...
Mar 11, 2016 | In Stradivari's footsteps
Varnishes protect works of art and wooden instruments from environmental damage. However, until recently, little research had been carried out into the effects of varnish on the sound of violins. Empa researchers have...
Mar 4, 2016 | EU project TREASORES successfully concluded
In more than three years of work european scientists finally made future lighting technology ready to market. They developed flexible lighting foils that can be produced roll-to-roll – much like newspapers are printed....
Feb 24, 2016 | Measuring particulate emissions
Thanks to a close collaboration between the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (Empa), SR Technics and the Federal Office of Civil Aviation (FOCA), Switzerland is setting an international...
Feb 22, 2016 | The «aura» of accelerating cars
Noise is disturbing and can be harmful to health. Empa researchers have now succeeded in simulating road noise by means of «auralisation». The aim is to make noise audible along traffic routes that are merely in the...
Feb 9, 2016 | Left-handed or right-handed?
Crystals of biominerals like the ones in bone or teeth oftentimes occur only either in a left- or right-handed form, which relate to each other like an object and its mirror image. How this “chirality” is conferred to...
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