News 2021

Oct 14, 2021 | Quantum Magnetism
Led by scientists at Empa and the International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory, an international team of researchers from Switzerland, Portugal, Germany, and Spain have succeeded in building carbon-based quantum spin...
Oct 13, 2021 | Partnership with University of British Columbia
With the signing of a statement of cooperation, the BioProducts Institute at the University of British Columbia (BPI) and Empa are celebrating a new partnership to promote innovation and collaboration, furthering joint...
Oct 8, 2021 | World Resources Forum 2021
What role do transparency and technology play in promoting a sustainable trade in natural resources? Is green mining a myth or can it become reality? These and other questions are the focus of an event organized by the...
Oct 6, 2021 | The NEST HiLo unit has opened
Boasting an intricate, doubly curved concrete roof, lightweight funicular floors, and self-learning building technology, the latest addition to Empa and Eawag's NEST research building in Duebendorf, Switzerland...
Oct 6, 2021 | Empa and Avenergy stand at the fair
From October 7 to 17, the OLMA trade fair will take place in St. Gallen. Empa and Avenergy Suisse will be presenting the theme of the future, hydrogen, at a joint stand in Hall 9.0. Visitors can use a simulator to...
Oct 5, 2021 | Sustainable agriculture
In January 2021, Empa and BASE (Basel Agency for Sustainable Energy) were among the winners of the prestigious Inclusive Growth and Recovery Challenge by data.org, a platform for partnerships committed to build the field...
Sep 29, 2021 | Recycled clothes
Manufacture, wear, wash, incinerate: This typical life cycle of garments, which pollutes the environment, is to be changed in the future – towards principles of circular economy with recycling at its core. Using an...
Sep 24, 2021 | New diagnostics for Alzheimer's?
Empa researcher Peter Nirmalraj wants to image proteins with unprecedented precision – and thus gain insights into the molecular pathogenesis of Alzheimer's. This should pave the way for an earlier diagnosis of the...
Sep 22, 2021 | NEST façade – aesthetic innovation from interdisciplinary collaboration
Solar cells as design objects now adorn the façade above the main entrance to the NEST building of Empa and Eawag. The design is the result of an interdisciplinary competition organized by the Lucerne University of...
Sep 15, 2021 | Flame-resistant fibers
A new chemical process developed by Empa turns cotton into a fire-resistant fabric, that nevertheless retains the skin-friendly properties of cotton.
Sep 13, 2021 | Looking back
On 26 August 1992, two people showed up at the Empa reception in Dübendorf with two samples of Osmium-187 – a rare and valuable isotope of the platinum metal –, which they wanted to have analyzed. This required an...
Sep 7, 2021 | Flexible solar cells gain power
A new efficiency record of 21.4% for flexible CIGS solar cell on polymer film has been achieved by scientists at Empa. Solar cells of this type are especially suited for applications on roofs, transport vehicles or...
Sep 6, 2021 | EU project for future-oriented robotics
The COgITOR project is being funded by the EU with about 3.5 million Euros for the next four years. Coordinated by the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Genoa and with the participation of Empa scientists, COgITOR...
Sep 3, 2021 | Foundation laid for new research campus, co-operate
Less than four months after the groundbreaking ceremony, the foundation for the co-operate research campus of Empa and Eawag was laid on 3 September 2021. At the ceremony in Dübendorf, representatives of all partners...
Aug 31, 2021 | Sprint, a new NEST Unit now in operation
Sprint sets new standards for circular construction: In only ten months, flexible and COVID-19-compliant office spaces were built at NEST, the research and innovation platform of Empa and Eawag, using mostly reused...
Aug 24, 2021 | Energy renovation
Switzerland's building stock is quite impressive. There are around 1.8 million buildings in the country, but only one percent of this building stock is renovated each year. In other words, it will take 100 years for the...
Aug 19, 2021 | Medical Technology
Closing wounds in the digestive tract is a challenge. Empa researchers have now developed a polymer patch for the intestine that can be used to stably bond and seal internal injuries.
Aug 12, 2021 | Interview
Alain Aerni is trying to look into the future: His "Crystalball" energy control system combines photovoltaics, heat pumps and charging stations and uses weather reports to predict energy requirements. In late 2020 he...
Aug 6, 2021 | EXCLAIM research initiative
Torrential rain and flooding have dominated the weather over the past few weeks. To forecast these weather events with greater accuracy and gain a better understanding of them against the backdrop of global climate...
Aug 3, 2021 | Concrete
The technology of stabilizing concrete structures with carbon fiber-reinforced polymers, thus helping them to last longer, was developed decades ago; among others at Empa. Today, researchers in Dübendorf are working on a...
Jul 29, 2021 | Liquid core fibers
Data and signals can be transmitted quickly and reliably with glass fibers – as long as the fiber does not break. Strong bending or tensile stress can quickly destroy it. An Empa team has now developed a fiber with a...
Jul 26, 2021 | Aerogel Architecture Award 2021
On July 15, 2021, the Aerogel Architecture Award was presented for the first time at Empa, recognizing successful energy renovations using aerogel insulating materials. The winners were two projects from Germany and one...
Jul 20, 2021 | Passenger cars
Up to now passenger cars are classified by experts in each country into categories such as micro, small, middle, upper middle, large and luxury class. But this old fashioned method has limitations in terms of...
Jul 15, 2021 | Climate friendly building
Insulation webs are essential in aluminum window profiles and facades for good thermal insulation. Empa researchers and their partners have been working for some time on a novel "sandwich" product with an environmentally...
Jul 13, 2021 | Optics
When fluorescent dye molecules nestle perfectly together, something completely new is created: an excited state distributed over many molecules. Such collective excitations can be used in a variety of ways – for organic...
Jul 7, 2021 | The new Swissloop pod
Two years after Elon Musk's last Hyperloop Pod Competition in California, Swissloop, a team of students from ETH Zurich, has joined forces with three other teams to launch the European Hyperloop Week. In mid-July, the...
Jul 6, 2021 | Swiss m4m Center
Additive Manufacturing, AM in brief, is fascinating: As if by magic, complex workpieces grow in 3D printers: layer by layer by layer ... without human intervention, as it may seem at first glance. But the technology is...
Jul 6, 2021 | Diagnostics
Empa researcher Peter Nirmalraj wants to capture images of Alzheimer's peptides with unprecedented precision. This could allow new insights into the molecular pathogenesis of the neurodegenerative disease – and perhaps...
Jul 6, 2021 | Diagnostics
Alzheimer's and other dementias are among the most widespread diseases today. Diagnosis is complex and can often only be established with certainty late in the course of the disease. A team of Empa researchers, together...
Jul 6, 2021 | Solar technology from Synhelion to receive Innosuisse funding
Synhelion and Empa are conducting a joint research project, co-funded by the Swiss Innovation Agency Innosuisse, to further develop a high-temperature energy storage solution that is a key component in the production of...
Jul 5, 2021 | Gloss
Jul 1, 2021 | Simulation
Modern, decentralized energy systems are a highly complex matter. Planning them in an optimal and cost-efficient way is a major challenge for energy planners. Sympheny, an Empa spin-off, offers a software that helps...
Jun 22, 2021 | Energy storage
During the winter months, renewable energy is in short supply throughout Europe. An international project is now considering an unconventional solution: Renewable hydrogen and carbon dioxide are pumped into the ground...
Jun 17, 2021 | Chemical Contamination
Bacteria from an Indian landfill could help eliminate contaminated chemicals. The focus is on pesticides such as lindane or brominated flame retardants, which accumulate in nature and in food chains. Researchers at Empa...
Jun 14, 2021 | Empa/ETH Zurich researcher honored
For his pioneering work on the surface chemistry of nanocrystals and their use for electronic and optoelectronic devices, including batteries, photodetectors, thermoelectrics, solar cells and light sources, Empa/ETH...
Jun 10, 2021 | Now also a virtual experience
The research and innovation building NEST of Empa and Eawag can now be visited virtually at any time and from anywhere in the world. The launch of the virtual NEST tour is a further step towards closing the gap between...
Jun 8, 2021 | Synthetic fuels
Produced in a sustainable way, synthetic fuels contribute to switching mobility to renewable energy and to achieving the climate goals in road traffic. In Empa's mobility demonstrator, move, researchers are investigating...
Jun 3, 2021 | Internet of Things
The number of data-transmitting microdevices, for instance in packaging and transport logistics, will increase sharply in the coming years. All these devices need energy, but the amount of batteries would have a major...
Jun 1, 2021 | Personalized medicine
Digital twins enable customized medical therapies. Empa researchers have now modeled several hundred such avatars based on real people and treated them experimentally. For the first time, the digital twins received...
May 27, 2021 | The other side of entropy
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...
May 25, 2021 | Quantum electronics
Scientists at Empa and EPFL have identified a new type of defect as the most common source of disorder in on-surface synthesized graphene nanoribbons, a novel class of carbon-based materials that may prove extremely...
May 20, 2021 | Recycling
Swiss drivers wear out countless tires. Instead of incinerating them, they could be reused locally: The asphalt of various countries has long contained rubber from used tires. Empa and its partners from industry are...
May 18, 2021 | Keeping it cool despite climate change
Climate-related temperature rises will further increase the cooling demand of buildings. A projection by Empa researchers based on data from the NEST building and future climate scenarios for Switzerland shows that this...
May 12, 2021 | Empa CEO re-elected
The Federal Council confirmed Empa CEO Gian-Luca Bona in office. Bona has been re-elected for a fourth term from 1 September 2021 to 31 May 2022.
May 12, 2021 | Empa’s Annual Report 2020 now online
Empa’s Annual Report 2020 leads you on a gripping journey through the world of research and innovation; you may be surprised at how broad the term "applied research" is defined at Empa.
May 11, 2021 | Sustainability
Even a sustainable circular economy doesn't run without energy. Solar panels and wind farms, tidal and geothermal power plants: They all divert energy from energy fluxes that had remained untapped since time immemorial....
May 7, 2021 | Repetitive mass testing against the pandemic
Since February 2021, the canton of Grisons is using saliva-based PCR mass testing within its mobile workforce as a potential means to contain the COVID-19 pandemic and reduce infection rates. Empa researchers are now...
May 6, 2021 | Ground-breaking ceremony for new research campus
On Wednesday, 5 May, the expansion of the Empa and Eawag research campus in Dübendorf began with a ground-breaking ceremony for a new laboratory building. This was attended by representatives of the two research...
May 4, 2021 | Tiny plastic particles in the environment
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...
Apr 29, 2021 | High Performance Ceramics
Removing pathogens from drinking water is especially difficult when the germs are too tiny to be caught by conventional filters. Researchers at Empa and Eawag are developing new materials and processes to free water from...
Apr 27, 2021 | Autonomous driving
Cars that autonomously navigate from A to B are expected to be a common sight in a few years from now. But road approval is still a long way off. One important aspect: How can we tell a self-driving car has become...
Apr 22, 2021 | New weapons against antibiotic resistance
Multi-resistant pathogens are a serious and increasing problem in today's medicine. Where antibiotics are ineffective, these bacteria can cause life-threatening infections. Researchers at Empa and ETH Zurich are...
Apr 21, 2021 | From high-tech to re-use
The NEST partner network is growing rapidly. Its latest member: Saint-Gobain Switzerland. The company will initially equip two units, Sprint and HiLo, with glazing that covers a broad spectrum – from high-tech to re-use....
Apr 21, 2021 | Success for Eastern Switzerland initiative
The national innovation platform Switzerland Innovation is expanding in Eastern Switzerland with its latest addition, the Innovation Park East. On 21 April, the Federal Council has given the thumbs up. The main location...
Apr 20, 2021 | Technology transfer center for medtech certified
Since 15 April, it is official: The Technology Transfer Center for 3D Printing in Medical Technology – Swiss m4m Center, in short – meets the requirements of ISO standard 13485:2016; it is thus allowed to produce...
Apr 15, 2021 | How much does Switzerland consume?
Empa researchers have analyzed the entire material and energy flows of the Swiss economy. Their final report now provides important data and comparisons. The team also looked into how the behavior of the Swiss population...
Apr 13, 2021 | Sprint – A new NEST unit under construction
At NEST, the research and innovation platform of Empa and Eawag, the new Sprint unit is currently under construction – an office unit built largely from recycled materials. Sprint aims to set new standards for circular...
Apr 8, 2021 | Next generation of AI
Artificial intelligence (AI) is nowadays considered a fundamental asset for developing products and technologies across industries, giving companies who master it a competitive edge. What is still lacking, however, is a...
Apr 1, 2021 | Developing countries
Empa researcher Cristina Dominguez is developing a computer model, which can be used to plan electricity grids in developing countries. To collect data, she travelled to Kenya to get an idea of how people live without...
Mar 31, 2021 | SILVARSTAR: Launch of a new European research project
SILVARSTAR, a two-year European research project funded under the EU's Horizon 2020 program, aims to provide the railway community with software tools and methodologies to assess the noise and vibration environmental...
Mar 29, 2021 | Thurgau Technology Day
Making more targeted use of digital technologies, advancing industrial projects with the new OST Ostschweizer Fachhochschule (Eastern Switzerland University of Applied Sciences) and building a bridge to basic research...
Mar 25, 2021 | "Best employers in Switzerland 2021"
According to a survey conducted by Handelszeitung, Le Temps and Statista, an independent market research institute, Empa is considered the best employer in Switzerland in the category "Education and Research"; overall,...
Mar 23, 2021 | Digitalized road construction
Empa scientists are investigating how roads could be reinforced with simple means and recycled easily after use. Their tools are a robot and a few meters of string.
Mar 18, 2021 | Transparent electronics
Hard times for burglars and safecrackers: Empa researchers have developed an invisible "keypad" made of printed, transparent electronics. Only authorized persons know where to enter the access code.
Mar 15, 2021 | Piezoelectric wood
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...
Mar 11, 2021 | New exhibition at the Swiss Museum of Transport
Together with its partners Avenergy Suisse and Hyundai, Empa is presenting a new permanent exhibition on sustainable fuels of the future at the Swiss Museum of Transport starting in March 2021. Among other things, the...
Mar 9, 2021 | Biotechnology
Empa researchers have succeeded in extracting the pigment melanin in large quantities from a fungus. The gigantic Armillaria fungus in the service of science is one of the largest and oldest living organisms in the...
Mar 4, 2021 | AI for electricity distribution
Energy management in a house with a solar system is becoming increasingly complex: When do I turn on the heating so that it is nice and cosy in the evening? How much electricity can the hot water tank hold? Will there...
Mar 3, 2021 | Celebrating 50 years of "Sendung mit der Maus"
On Sunday, 7 March 2021, the "Sendung mit der Maus" celebrates its 50th birthday. For the anniversary edition of the most successful children's show on German TV, Armin Maiwald, anchorman from the very beginning, visited...
Mar 1, 2021 | Innovation from interdisciplinary collaboration
There is plenty of space for energy generation on building envelopes. However, photovoltaic façades are still rare, even though technology and aesthetics can be combined. As part of a competition, students at the Lucerne...
Feb 25, 2021 | Joint research of Empa and PSI
Researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI and the partner institute Empa have started a joint initiative called SynFuels. The goal is to develop a process for producing kerosene from renewable resources. In this way...
Feb 18, 2021 | Siloxene: a new Empa spin-off
After a successful career in research at Empa, Matthias Koebel has now ventured into the private sector and founded the start-up Siloxene. The young entrepreneur has a construction kit filled with a miracle material, a...
Feb 16, 2021 | Radioactive waste repository
Cement is one of the key materials for the safe storage of radioactive waste. What is needed is an almost infinite durability of the containers. Empa researchers are therefore analyzing material systems that can handle...
Feb 9, 2021 | International team to tackle atmospheric pollution
After a mysterious and sharp increase between 2012 and 2017 that could be traced to eastern China global emissions of a potent (and banned) substance notorious for depleting the Earth’s ozone layer – the protective...
Feb 8, 2021 | SCS Award for PhD thesis
The former Empa scientist Kristýna Kantnerová receives the METAS Award 2021 in analytical chemistry, awarded by the Swiss Chemical Society, for her PhD thesis. In her research, she took a closer look at the well-known...
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