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EmpaTV – the Podcast-Portal


As the saying goes, a picture paints a thousand words. Moving pictures do an even better job, as you can see for yourself on EmpaTV. You can download videos and audio podcasts from the selection of channels we offer – onto your computer, your smartphone or your iPad. «Empa Technology to go», you could say. How does it work? It’s quite simple – you can find further information on podcasts here.


Ceramic-composites as wood cutting tips

Researchers at Empa developed a ceramic knife for the industrial wood cutting process. They are lighter than common knifes used until today. But how does such a knife work? Take a look at the video.

  • Empa-Eigenproduktion
    Mai 2015, 1 Min. 11 Sek.
  • Download (m4v-Datei, 12 MB)

MedTech Day 2015: Biofilm activities at Empa

Empa scientists analyze bacterial biofilms that adhere to different material surfaces, e.g. on implants and medical devices such as endoscopes. Qun Ren and her team have developed a technique for purging medical devices from bacteria in order to make it safe to reuse them.

Materials Science at the Atomic Limit: Status; Prospects and Challenges

In his «Promotion Lecture» Oliver Gröning talks about materials at the mesoscopic scale – materials between the size of a molecule and a few micrometers. Modifications at this level can cause significant differences in the materials’ physical properties. Fullerenes are paradigmatic structures to illustrate this.

What science is, what it gives us – and what it takes to succeed in it

Prof. Gottfried Schatz from the University of Basel talks about what science has given him, what he considers to be important, and what he would do differently if he could start his successful research career all over again. Most of Europe’s universities still have a long way to go in adopting attractive and yet selective career structures for young scientists.

Greenland ice sheet and dynamic response to global warming

The ice loss in Greenland shows acceleration during the last decade. WSL director Konrad Steffen explains how scientists gained new insight using ground penetrating radar and a video system during the melt peak in August 2007-2010. Water penetrates to great depth through moulins and cracks, lubricating the bottom of the ice sheet.

Bio-inspired micropatterned surfaces with new adhesive functions

3D-micropatterning of surfaces signifies a recent paradigm change for control of surface functionalities: the exploitation of cleverly designed surface protrusions at the micron scale. In his talk Prof. Eduard Arzt from the Leibniz Institute for New Materials / Saarland University, Saarbrücken, summarizes recent developments in producing bio-inspired micropatterned polymer surfaces.

Materials and technologies for a sustainable future

Empa delivers interdisciplinary solutions to the most important challenges faced by our industries and society. In cooperation with its project partners, it does this by developing and bringing to the market innovative sustainable materials, processes and systems in the fields of the environment energy and building technologies as well as in the textile, bio and medicinal technologies.

  • produced by Gate24, in collaboration with Empa
    2012, 3 Min.
  • Download (m4v-Datei, 35 MB)

Atmosphere and Climate Research at Jungfraujoch

Jungfraujoch is far away from local pollution sources. However, air pollutants from all over Europe can be detected at the «top of Europe» by Empa’s sophisticated analytic equipment. Combined with atmospheric transport models Empa scientists can pinpoint the source regions of these pollutants.

  • EmpaTV, Self production
    2012, 2 Min. 17 Sek.
  • Download (m4v-File, 75 MB)

Energy Efficiency in a Growing Economy: Curse or Blessing?

Energy efficiency is a key element of many energy and environmental policies. Despite autonomous and forced improvements in energy efficiency, however, in most countries overall energy consumption has not decreased. Reinhard Madlener from RWTH Aachen explains how «rebound effects» emerge and influence further development.

Made of gold: High-tech yarn «de luxe»

A nanometer-thin layer of pure gold lends ties and pocket handkerchiefs an authentic gold sheen. The yarn, which is coated using a high-tech plasma process developed by Empa, is soft, washing machine compatible and can be woven into any item of clothing.

Inorganic Materials Synthesis in Organic Solvents

Liquid-phase routes to inorganic functional materials in organic solvents are a well-established and flexible alternative to aqueous methods. In his talk, Prof. Markus Niederberger from ETH Zurich will give an overview of nonaqueous synthesis routes to various inorganic materials such as metal oxides, metal sulfides and metal phosphates.

Electronic Structure of Graphene: Simple but complex

Interest in graphene appears endless at the moment, with most interest related to the «simple» Dirac particle like electronic structure. On the surface this simplicity would appear to make investigations into the electronic structure less than exciting. Andrew Walter explains how on the contrary the simple nature of the underlying electronic structure allows detailed analysis of the quasi-particle, hybridization and substrate interaction features observed in photoemission spectroscopy

Welcome to the SwissNanoConvention 2011

Empa-Direktor Gian-Luca Bona, der Staatssekretär für Bildung und Forschung, Mauro Dell’Ambrogio, sowie Marcel Zehnder von der Zürcher Kantonalbank eröffnen die 1. Swiss NanoConvention zum Thema: Wie Nanotechnologie unsere Zukunft prägt.

Nanomedicine – a Key Ingredient of the Medicine of the Future

Recognizing that the root of disease is often at the nanoscale, the question arises if medical diagnosis and therapy would not also work best at the nanoscale. Patrick Hunziker from the University Hospital Basel exemplifies how nanoscience methods, materials and tools can be used to advance medicine.

Disruptive Innovation: Nanotechnology and the Future of Computing

We are used to permanent improvements in the price performance of consumer electronics and the like. But soon a new nanoelectronic switch technology will be required to sustain this progress. John Kelly discusses how nanotechnology will drive the next wave of disruptive innovation and the potential implications for business and society.

Immunostimulatory Nanoparticles for the Treatment of Allergic Asthma: Results from a Placebo-controlled Phase II Study

Allergen-free therapies for chronic allergic conditions such as rhinoconjunctivitis and asthma are under development. Wolfgang Renner explains how he hopes to eliminate the cause of allergic asthmatic inflammation, thus offering patients an alternative to replace or complement commonly used medications, while maintaining or even improving asthma control.

Investing in Nanotechnology

Due to its ability to enable materials, devices and systems with new properties and functions, nanotechnology is viewed as «the next industrial revolution». Aymeric Sallin explains how investors find the most promising nanotech start-ups and transform the companies into profitable businesses.

Boosting the Immune System with DermaVir Nanomedicine: Can it Change the Treatment Paradigm of HIV?

The human immune system is well prepared to fight diseases. In people with chronic diseases like HIV infection, however, the immune system cannot win. The next breakthrough in treating chronic infections is expected to come from immune boosting medicines. Julianna Lisziewicz explains how nanotechnology has enabled the development of an immune therapy for HIV/AIDS.

How to envision billions of nanosystems? Considering cuisine is helpful

Most food consists of colloidal systems, such as so-called formulated products, i.e. cosmetics, drugs, coatings. For the description of such systems, a formalism was introduced. Herve This explains, how it was increased for the description of both colloidal systems and the non-periodical organization of such systems.

Toxicicology for the 21st Century – an Opportunity for Nanotoxicology

Nanomaterials are acclaimed for their novel properties. But as properties change, unwanted properties are to be expected as well. Thomas Hartung explains how the innumerous formulations of nanomaterials will change toxicity assessments, including the development of alternatives to animal testing.

Farewell Address and Outlook to the Swiss NanoConvention 2012

Mit der Swiss NanoConvention habe die Schweizer Forschergemeinschaft bewiesen, dass sie in der Lage sei, ihre Kapazitäten auf nationaler Ebene zu bündeln, so der Aargauer Landammann Urs Hofmann. Um die Nanowissenschaften in der politischen Wahrnehmung zu stärken, geht die Swiss NanoConvention weiter – 2012 am Rolex Learning Center der EPF in Lausanne.

Monitoring the global carbon cycle

The global carbon cycle has become an important research topic in Earth System science. In order to understand and predict and potentially manage its behavior in response to human influences and climate change, a global scale observing system for carbon is needed. Prof. Martin Heimann talks about the scientific challenge of bringing the different data streams together in a consistent way.

Using density functional theory to design new materials: From magnetoelectronics to a theory of everything

Modern computational methods are proving to be invaluable in the first-principles design of new materials with specific targeted functionalities. It will be illustrated their utility with two examples from the field of multiferroics: First, the design of new materials for electric-field control of magnetism, and second, testing extensions to the standard model by searching for the electric dipole moment of the electron.

Controlling and using light at the nanoscale with plasmonic antennas

Numerous structures have been developed in electrical engineering to help the radiation of electromagnetic waves at microwave frequencies. In this presentation, Olivier Martin Professor at EPFL describes the functioning principles of plasmonic antennas and their fabrication.

The hybrid Langmuir-Schaefer deposition – a new approach to create low dimensional functional nanostructures

Low-dimensional assemblies, where order and organization follow supramolecular principles, have assumed remarkable importance due to their outstanding physical and/or chemical properties. An easy method to produce tailored functional materials combines self-assembly and Langmuir-Blodgett assembly. In this talk Petra Rudolf illustrates how this new approach allows the deposition of graphene on a variety of substrates.

A Surface Science Approach of Corrosion

The protection of metals and alloys against corrosion is a major issue in many respects including, but not limited to, scientific and technical aspects. In his lecture Philippe Marcus shows how a surface science approach contributes to provide a detailed understanding of corrosion at the nanoscale. The emphasis will be placed on the growth, structure and corrosion protection properties of ultrathin oxide layers formed on metals and alloys in aqueous solution.

Topological insulators – new physics with old materials

Materials like Bi-Sb alloys, Bi2Se3 or Bi2Te3 have been known and studied for decades, mostly for their interesting thermoelectrical properties. They are insulators with relatively small band gaps, which are opened by the spin-orbit interaction. Recently, it was recognized that the topology of the electronic states separated by this gap is non-trivial. Jürg Osterwalder gives an introduction to the new aspects of these materials.

Materials development at BASF for printed electronic

The field of printed electronics or organic thin film transistors (OTFTs) has been identified by both industry and academia as an interesting area to pave the way towards new applications in electronics such as flexible displays or low cost RFID tags. In his talk, Marcel Kastler discusses the latest material generations for the fabrication of display backplanes.

Quantifying the climate impact of global and European transport systems

Transport emissions are on the increase - more than in any other industrial sector. In his talk, Prof Sausen presents QUANTIFY, a project in which scientists studied and quantified the impact of transport on the composition of the atmosphere, on clouds and on climate.

Measuring spin relaxation times of single atoms with nanosecond time resolution

Spin is a fundamental quantity in quantum mechanics. Andreas J. Heinrich from IBM Research, Almaden, shows how a Scanning Tunneling Microscope (STM) can be used to study the dynamic evolution of individual spin systems on surfaces on time scales ranging from pico- to nanoseconds.

Crossing continents, narrowing gaps

Biomimetics wants to enhance technology with the introduction of ideas derived from biology. But there is no proof that the technical systems work in the same way as the biological ones. Tiny innovations such as Gecko adhesive or Velcro are not going to lead to a revolution. Prof Julian Vincent from University of Bath explains, why a wider vision is needed.

Photonic Opportunities and Challenges in a Fully Networked Society

In seiner Antrittsvorlesung als Professor für Photonik an der ETH Zürich spricht Empa-Direktor Gian-Luca Bona über die Möglichkeiten der Datenübertragung in optischen Netzwerken und über die physikalischen Probleme bei Baukomponenten und -systemen, wenn diese nur noch wenige Nanometer gross sind.

The SwissFEL X-Rray laser project at PSI

Third generation synchrotrons provide an average X-ray brightness 109 times that of a laboratory source, making trivial many experiments which were formerly impossible. But standard short-wavelength synchrotron light is also incoherent and limited. Prof. Bruce D. Patterson from PSI presents the operating principle for a national XFEL facility, the SwissFEL.

Smart polymers and electromechanical transduction

In the last decade there has been an impressive growth in research and development in the field of sensor technology. Danilo De Rossi discusses the sensing properties of redundant piezioresistive polymer arrays and the actuation properties of dielectric elastomers for new physical sensors and actuators.

An airship «swims» through the air

The non-rigid airship «Blimp» is an excellent example of a demonstration project with which Empa enthuses potential industrial partners for its new technologies. The artificial muscles which propel the airship soundlessly and very efficiently through the atmosphere, like a trout swimming in a stream, are a worldwide novelty.

  • EmpaTV «In-house Production»
    2010, 4 mins 09 secs
  • Download (m4v-File, 50 MB)

How scientific is science? Personal aspects of a great adventure

«Science» can be defined by what scientists do. «Scientific» can be defined by what philosophers think what scientists do. How do the two compare? Do philosophers of science understand how science proceeds? Or do they miss certain dimensions of the greatest adventure of mankind? In his talk Ernst Peter Fischer from the University of Konstanz wants to convince the audience that it is true that science works but without us understanding why.

A world of plastics – whence and whereto?

Plastics are older than humanity. Still, most plastics inventions were made only in the past 200 years, scientific success happened less than 100 years ago, and it is only 60 years ago that the conversion of our world into a plastics universe has assumed dramatic speed. In his talk Ulrich W. Suter from ETH Zurich explains, how and why plastics have penetrated our daily life, what it means and what we can expect for the immediate future.

Ships, trains, copper and iron – Metallurgy in the industrial heritage

The application of metallurgy in archaeology and the cultural heritage has a long history going back to the 18th century. In contrast, application of metallurgy in the study of the industrial heritage has been recent and hesitant. Peter Northover from Oxford University presents results from microanalysis, metallography and mechanical testing and shows how engineers dealt with the variable qualities of the materials they used, and how the slow development of new technology such making steel in bulk might have hindered industrial development.

Materials for flexible and conformable electronics

«The future is flexible»: This also means that future electronics is expected to be flexible, so that devices can easily be rolled or bent. In his talk Siegfrid Bauer from the University of Linz will outline how the ingenious combination of energy and entropy elasticity leads to new functionalities. Concepts for stretchable piezoelec-trics, batteries, optical waveguides and applications of such systems will be used to illustrate in detail the numerous possibilities for materials research in conformable electronics.

Automobiles of the future – options for efficient individual mobility
Individual mobility is closely linked to the welfare of society. Not surprisingly, the number of automobiles has been increasing and is likely to double in the next twenty years. Clearly, this development creates many benefits, but also many problems such as air pollution, traffic fatalities, increased energy consumption and carbon dioxide emission. Lino Guzzella (ETH Zurich) prioritizes the relevance of these problems and pre-sents some of the most likely technological solutions.

Single Molecule Biophysics

The detection and quantitative analysis of single biomolecules, smallest analyte quantities and the hunt for low abundant proteins at the single cell level, require new sensitive and efficient techniques. Prof. Dr. Dario Anselmetti (University Bielefeld) talks about novel biophysical measurement concepts that allow to image, measure, analyze, steer, and manipulate individual biomolecules and cells.

Prediction of Crises and Extreme Events in Complex Systems
Extreme fluctuations or events are often associated with power law statistics. In his speech, Prof. Dr. Didier Sornette (ETH Zürich), documents that in several systems is life beyond power law tails: Power laws can be supersedes by "kings" monster events. These events reveal hidden mechanisms that are only transiently active and that amplify the normal power law fluctuations.

The Mystery of Matter, Space and Time

Particle physicist Felicitas Pauss is investigating the basic building blocks which make up matter, and their mutual interactions. Currently she is preparing to carry out experiments using the new LHC accelerator at CERN. The ETH Professor is attempting to observe and understand, on a small scale, the processes which occurred during the Big Bang and in doing so find out how matter is able to gain mass.

Transforming the building stock for sustainability

Buildings account for more than one third of the world’s primary energy demand, and a large part of resource use. There is, however, enormous potential to save energy and operate buildings without producing CO2. How can we manage our existing building stock to dramatically reduce energy and resource use, in time and at scale? Peter Richner moderates a panel discussion within CCES/AGS Annual Meeting 2009. His guests are: Hansjürg Leibundgut (ETH Zurich), Ryozo Ooka (University of Tokyo), Leon Glicksman (MIT), Carl-Eric Hagentoft (Chalmers University of Technology)

IAESTE student internships at Empa

IAESTE is an organization for the exchange of students at higher education institutions wishing to obtain technical experience abroad. Empa is one of the participating institutions in Switzerland that offer students a unique work experience. Two students report on their stay at Empa.

Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW) on the Jungfraujoch
Empa, together with other research institutions in the GAW network, is monitoring the composition of the Earth’s atmosphere. At the research station on the Jungfraujoch, Empa scientists are measuring the tiniest concentrations of greenhouse gases. Using various simulation techniques they have been able not just to show where these gases originate but also to give advance warning when new greenhouse gases appear.

Galileo's Finger: The Ten Great Ideas of Science

In his talk, named after his best-selling book, Oxford chemist Peter Atkins gives an account of the ten central ideas of contemporary science, stretching from evolution to entropy, from energy to symmetry and from cosmology to spacetime. He even explains the rather enigmatic title of his talk and book.

Nanoscience and Nanotechnology: A Portrait in Adolescence
Harvard researcher George Whitesides, one of today’s leading chemists, gives a view of the current state of nanoscience and nanotechnology. They are attracting great attention because they may provide ways of extending the range and lifetime of existing microtechnologies. Nanoscience will also lead to the discovery of new phenomena, to new levels of understanding of nature and to new technologies.

Nanotechnology: The Challenge of a new Frontier
Nanotech pioneer Don Eigler from Almaden IBM Research Center sketches out his views on the pros & cons of nanotechnology. For him, the central question is: «How do we, as a society, master the challenge of nanotechnology, so that we can enjoy its benefits while minimizing its risks?»


Biofuels – sustainable or not?

Agriculturally produced sources of fuel produce very few emissions but the impact on land use for growing them outweighs the benefits. That’s what a new study conducted by Empa shows. The study triggers debates on the necessity of biofuels and their impact on food prices.

Stradivarius squares off against... Fungi

Mushrooms, it seems, don’t only affect your mind. They can also make your violin sound like a Stradivarius. That’s according to researcher Francis Schwarze of Empa in St Gallen. He’s identified fungi which affect the acoustic properties of wood. And a violin maker in Baden has built some instruments with that wood. Recently, there was a showdown in Osnabrück between Stradivarius and fungus.

Scientist creates sweating robot

Saint Gallen, with its long tradition as a textiles and garment manufacturing centre, is a logical place for British expat Mark Richards to market his latest invention. The scientist, originally from the Midlands, creates a robot that «sweats» for the testing of clothes. Richards told Swisster how he set up a firm called Humanikin to commercialise the unique product after developing the technology at Empa.

Nanotech: grounds for fear?

Nanotechnology is one of the hottest fields in science today. The potential benefits it offers are extraordinary, but what about the potential dangers? Do we know how nanoparticles will affect us in the long term? Could nanoparticles be the new asbestos? Pete Forster put these questions to Harald Krug, head of Materials Biology Interactions at Empa.

Old computers never die

Every year, countless numbers of computers are upgraded. But what happens to the old computers when they are no longer needed? They end up being thrown out - 15 million tons of electronic waste is generated annually this way. Switzerland’s contribution is around 10 – 20% of this figure. One way of disposing of some parts of the old computers is to ship them to Africa. Mathias Schluep from the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Testing and Research explains the situation.


Dr. Michael Hagmann
Head Communication
Phone +41 58 765 45 92

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