Plastic snowfall in the Alps

In a new study, Empa researcher Dominik Brunner, together with colleagues from Utrecht University and the Austrian Central Institute for Meteorology and Geophysics, is investigating how much plastic is trickling down on us ...

Mini electricity generator made from quantum dots

Machines and electronic devices often generate waste heat that is difficult to utilize. If electricity could be generated from this waste heat, it would offer a means for a clean and sustainable power production: Such a technology ...

Ecological coating for bananas

Plastic packaging in grocery stores protects fruits and vegetables from spoilage, but also creates significant amounts of waste. Together with the retailer Lidl Switzerland, Empa researchers have now developed a protective ...

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 ...

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