The Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology or Empa (German acronym for "Eidgenössische Materialprüfungs- und Forschungsanstalt") is an interdisciplinary Swiss research and service institution for applied materials sciences and technology. As part of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Domain ("ETH-Bereich") it is an institution of the Swiss federation. For the longest time since its foundation in 1880, it concentrated on classical materials testing. Since the late 1980s it has developed into a modern research and development institute.

Website
http://www.empa.ch/
Wikipedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empa

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Speeding up the energy transition reduces climate risks

The World Climate Conference in Glasgow has just ended, and the question is whether the goal of maximum global heating of 1.5 degrees Celsius can still be achieved. In a model calculation, Empa researchers show how the energy ...

Making short-wave infrared light visible with a single component

Infrared (IR) light is invisible to humans. However, some animals, such as rattlesnakes or bloodsucking bats, can perceive IR radiation and use it to find food. But even for humans, the ability to see in the short-wave IR ...

Exotic magnetic states in miniature dimensions

We are all used to the idea that simpler units in nature interact to form complex structures. Take, for example, the hierarchy of life, where atoms combine to form molecules, molecules combine to form cells, cells combine ...

Creating cotton that is fireproof and comfortable

State-of-the-art flame retardant cotton textiles suffer from release of formaldehyde and are uncomfortable to wear. Empa scientists managed to circumvent this problem by creating a physically and chemically independent network ...

Prestressed plasters for old buildings

Bent concrete beams, cracks on the undersides of bridges, risk of rust for the reinforcement: In Switzerland, many structures are getting on in years. Take national roads, for example: According to the 2019 report of the ...

Liquid core fibers: A data river runs through them

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 liquid ...

Molecules in collective ecstasy

"What we see here is energy transfer that is much faster than in any semiconductor," says Jakob Heier. The physicist works in Empa's Functional Polymers lab, and the discovery he has made with his team could cause a stir ...

Detoxifiers from the landfill

The production of chemicals is a cumbersome business. Often, only a small part of what is actually wanted is produced in the factory. The large remainder is unusable—or even worse. Examples? The defoliant "Agent Orange" ...

Shiny mega-crystals that build themselves

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 with ...

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