Protection against electromagnetic interference

Empa researchers have succeeded in applying aerogels to microelectronics: Aerogels based on cellulose nanofibers can effectively shield electromagnetic radiation over a wide frequency range – and they are unrivalled in terms of weight. Electric motors and electronic devices generate electromagnetic fields that sometimes have to be shielded in order not to affect neighboring electronic components Read more about Protection against electromagnetic interference[…]

Artificial Intelligence brings real-time monitoring of the weld quality

Laser welding is a process suitable for joining metals and thermoplastics. It has become particularly well established in highly automated production, for example in the automotive industry, because a laser operates with virtually no wear, is very fast and offers high precision. But until now, the quality of a weld seam could only be documented Read more about Artificial Intelligence brings real-time monitoring of the weld quality[…]

The smallest motor in the world

A research team from Empa and EPFL has developed a molecular motor which consists of only 16 atoms and rotates reliably in one direction. It could allow energy harvesting at the atomic level. The special feature of the motor is that it moves exactly at the boundary between classical motion and quantum tunneling – and Read more about The smallest motor in the world[…]

Eco-concrete as alternative cement recipes

Cement production has to drastically reduce its environmental footprint. Empa researchers are, therefore working on alternative cement recipes that cause significantly fewer emissions or can even bind the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. It is the most widely used product in the world. Cement is indispensable yet its reputation has become quite tainted in the course Read more about Eco-concrete as alternative cement recipes[…]

A new biosensor for the COVID-19 virus

A team of researchers from Empa, ETH Zurich and Zurich University Hospital has succeeded in developing a novel sensor for detecting the new coronavirus. In future it could be used to measure the concentration of the virus in the environment – for example in places where there are many people or in hospital ventilation systems. Read more about A new biosensor for the COVID-19 virus[…]

Can buildings learn to save energy by themselves?

Empa researchers think so. In their experiments, they fed a new self-learning heat­ing control system with temperature data from the previous year and the current weather forecast. The “smart” control system was then able to assess the building’s behavior and act with good anticipation. The result: greater comfort, lower energy costs. Factory halls, airport terminals Read more about Can buildings learn to save energy by themselves?[…]

Micro rubber: another polymer that pollutes our air and water

Rubber in the environment The tread on the tyre is worn out, new tyres are needed. Everyday life for many drivers. But where do these lost centimetres of tyre tread “disappear” to? As micro-rubbers, they mainly end up in soil and water and, to a small extent, in the air. And the amount of these Read more about Micro rubber: another polymer that pollutes our air and water[…]

New record for flexible thin-film solar cells

Never before has such an efficient flexible CIGS solar cell been built. Empa researchers achieve an efficiency of 20.8% for the first time – breaking their own record. Flexible solar cell with unprecedented efficiency: The Empa Laboratory for Thin Films and Photovoltaics, headed by Ayodhya N. Tiwari, has broken its own record. The researchers improved Read more about New record for flexible thin-film solar cells[…]

Record efficiency for a gas engine

At the end of May, the final meeting of the “Horizon 2020” project “GasOn” with the EU Commission took place in Brussels. The aim of this EU project was the further development of gas engines for cars and vans. Around 20 partners participated, including ETH Zurich and Empa as well as four European automobile manufacturers Read more about Record efficiency for a gas engine[…]

Bioplotter for novel implants

Cellulose obtained from wood has amazing material properties. Empa researchers are now equipping the biodegradable material with additional functionalities to produce implants for cartilage diseases using 3D printing. It all starts with an ear. Empa researcher Michael Hausmann removes the object shaped like a human ear from the 3D printer and explains: «In viscous state Read more about Bioplotter for novel implants[…]

Novel protective mask for medical personnel

Laughter is the best medicine, says medical research. But how are patients supposed to feel like smiling if the faces of the nursing staff and even their beloved ones are covered with masks? Researchers from Empa and EPFL are currently developing a novel face mask, which offers an unobstructed view of the wearer’s facial expressions. Read more about Novel protective mask for medical personnel[…]

Development of memory-steel brings new opportunities for old buildings

A new building material developed at Empa is about to be launched on the market: “memory-steel” can not only be used to reinforce new, but also existing concrete structures. When the material is heated (one-time), prestressing occurs automatically. The Empa spin-off re-fer AG is now presenting the material with shape memory in a series of Read more about Development of memory-steel brings new opportunities for old buildings[…]