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Biofuels and sophisticated materials cycles thanks to bio-templating

Mini power plants from coated blue-green algae

31-Aug-2020

Blue-green algae are among the oldest living creatures on Earth and have perfected the use of sunlight over billions of years. Empa scientists have now equipped these humble unicellular organisms with semiconductor coatings to create mini power plants, which supply biofuels and are ...

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Aerogel – the micro structural material of the future

Numerous new application possibilities in the high-tech industry, for example in microelectronics, robotics, biotechnology and sensor technology

25-Aug-2020

Aerogel is an excellent thermal insulator. So far, however, it has mainly been used on a large scale, for example in environmental technology, in physical experiments or in industrial catalysis. Empa researchers have now succeeded in making aerogels accessible to microelectronics and precision ...

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A wound dressing that kills bacteria

Skin-friendly membranes made of plant-based materials kill bacteria very efficiently

12-Aug-2020

In order to combat bacterial wound infections, Empa researchers have developed cellulose membranes equipped with antimicrobial peptides. Initial results show: The skin-friendly membranes made of plant-based materials kill bacteria very efficiently. If germs invade a wound, they can trigger a ...

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Nanosafety research without animal experiments

Risk analyses for nanoparticles

23-Jun-2020

In order to reduce the number of animal experiments in research, alternative methods are being sought. This is a particular challenge if the safety of substances that have hardly been studied is to be ensured, for instance, the completely new class of nanomaterials. To accomplish just that, Empa ...

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A new biosensor for the COVID-19 virus

Detection in the environment

23-Apr-2020

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 ...

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How to mend a broken heart

Sticky proteins from sea mussels

19-Feb-2020

If the heart muscle is damaged, repairing the constantly active organ is a challenge. Empa researchers are developing a novel tissue adhesive inspired by nature, which is able to repair lesions in muscle tissue. They have taken advantage of the incredible ability of marine mussels to adhere to ...

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Tiny pharmaceuticals in the environment

09-Jan-2020

Nanomedicine is making headways. However, the tiny nanoparticles that are being used as carriers for drugs could find their way into water, soil and air. Empa researchers are investigating potential risks. Fear is a bad counselor. In the comic book series "Asterix", the Gaul chief Vitalstatistix ...

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Paradoxical replacement tissue for medicine

06-Dec-2019

A material that thickens when you pull on it seems to contradict the laws of physics. However, the so-called auxetic effect, which also occurs in nature, is interesting for a number of applications. A new Empa study recently published in "Nature Communications" shows how this amazing behavior can ...

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The view through the bandage à la James Bond

Espionage for wound healing: On Your Medicine's Secret Service

28-Nov-2019

Whether a wound heals well under a dressing cannot be seen from the outside. Empa researchers are now enabling a view through the bandage à la James Bond. The refined application of terahertz radiation could promote the analysis of multi-layered tissues for medical purposes and be used for wound ...

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Babies burdened by environmental estrogens in mothers' wombs

14-Oct-2019

Early childhood life in the womb is particularly sensitive to the effects of environmental pollutants. A team from Empa and the University of Vienna has now for the first time been able to show how a pollutant from contaminated food - the environmental estrogen zearalenone - spreads in the womb ...

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