Research Using Synchrotron Light

19. October 2014

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Puzzling new behaviour observed in high-temperature superconductors

Media Releases Matter and Material Materials Research Research Using Synchrotron Light

New effect might be important for emergence of High-Temperature Superconductivity
An international team of researchers has observed a new, unexpected kind of behaviour in copper-based high-temperature superconductors. Explaining the new phenomenon – an unexpected form of collective movement of the electrical charges in the material – poses a major challenge for the researchers. A success in explaining the phenomenon might be an important step toward understanding high-temperature superconductivity in general. The crucial experiments were conducted at the Paul Scherrer Institute.


12. October 2014

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Useful for spintronics: Big surprises in a thin surface region

Media Releases Research Using Synchrotron Light Materials Research Matter and Material

The need for ever faster and more efficient electronic devices is growing rapidly, and thus the demand for new materials with new properties. Oxides, especially ones based on strontium titanate (SrTiO3), play an important role here. A collaborative project headed by scientists from the PSI has now revealed properties of strontium titanate that make it an important base material for applications in spintronics.

4. September 2014

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New material generated with light

Media Releases Research Using Synchrotron Light Large Scale Facilities Materials Research Matter and Material SwissFEL SwissFEL Experiments

PSI researchers garner experience for SwissFEL experiments
Aided by short laser flashes, researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute have managed to temporarily change a material’s properties to such a degree that they have – to a certain extent –created a new material. This was done using the x-ray laser “LCLS” in California. Once the PSI x-ray laser SwissFEL is up and running, experiments of this kind will also be possible at PSI.

21. August 2014

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Jurassic Welsh mammals were picky eaters, study finds

Media Releases Research Using Synchrotron Light

New analyses of tiny fossil mammals from South Wales are shedding light on the function and diets of our earliest ancestors, a team led by researchers from the Universities of Bristol and Leicester report in the journal Nature. The team used CT scanning with synchrotron X-rays at PSI’s Swiss Light Source to reveal in unprecedented detail the internal anatomy of the mammals’ tiny jaws.

30. July 2014

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Insulator makes electrons move in an ordered way

Media Releases Research Using Synchrotron Light Materials Research Matter and Material

Researchers at the PSI, the EPFL and the Chinese Academy of Science, have proven that the material SmB6 shows all the properties of a so called topological insulator – a material with electric currents flowing along its surface with all of them being polarized. Here, the property is very robust, i.e. the only current that can flow is spin polarized and is not easily destroyed by small irregularities in the structure or composition of the material. Spin polarized currents are necessary for spintronics, electronics using the electrons’ spin.

11. June 2014

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Sixteen nanometres in 3D

Media Releases Research Using Synchrotron Light

Researchers from the Paul Scherrer Institut (PSI) have devised a method that opens up new scales of tomographic imaging and will thus allow in the future highly resolved measurements of biological and materials science specimens. With the aid of a special prototype instrument at the Swiss Light Source (SLS), they achieved a 3D resolution of sixteen nanometres in a large sample and thus set a new world record in X-ray tomography.

25. March 2014

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X-rays film inside live flying insects – in 3D

Media Releases Biology Research Using Synchrotron Light User Experiments

Scientists have used a particle accelerator to obtain high-speed 3D X-ray visualizations of the flight muscles of flies. The team from Oxford University, Imperial College, and the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) developed a groundbreaking new CT scanning technique at the PSI’s Swiss Light Source to allow them to film inside live flying insects. The movies offer a glimpse into the inner workings of one of nature’s most complex mechanisms, showing that structural deformations are the key to understanding how a fly controls its wingbeat.


6. March 2014

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Observed live with x-ray laser: electricity controls magnetism

Media Releases Research Using Synchrotron Light Materials Research Matter and Material SwissFEL

Researchers from ETH Zurich and the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI demonstrate how the magnetic structure can be altered quickly in novel materials. The effect could be used in efficient hard drives of the future.


3. December 2013

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An infection tool with a metallic core

Human Health Biology Research Using Synchrotron Light

Thanks to the analysis of protein samples at the PSI, Lausanne researchers have managed to demonstrate which instrument bacteria use to transmit diseases
Researchers from ETH Lausanne EPFL have described how a particular strain of bacteria transmits diseases with unprecedented precision. The team of scientists headed by Petr Leiman, an assistant professor at the EPFL’s Laboratory of Structural Biology and Biophysics, demonstrated that the tip of a bacterial infection tool consists of a PAAR protein, which envelops a metal atom and tapers off to a sharp point. The findings are based on measurements carried out at the Swiss Light Source (SLS), one of the three large-scale research facilities at the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI).

17. November 2013

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How botox binds to neurons

Media Releases Biology Research Using Synchrotron Light Human Health

Botox is a highly dangerous toxin that causes paralysis. In cosmetic applications it is used to temporarily eliminate wrinkles and in medicine as a treatment for migraine or to correct strabismus. An international research team has now established how the toxin molecule binds to the neuron whose activity is then blocked by the poison. The findings may be useful for the development of improved drugs with a lower risk of overdosage.

12. November 2013

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Electrons with a split personality

Media Releases Research Using Synchrotron Light Materials Research Matter and Material

Above the transition temperature, some electrons in the superconducting material La1.77Sr0.23CuO4 behave as if they were in a conventional metal, others as in an unconventional one – depending on the direction of their motion. This is the result of experiments performed at the SLS. The discovery of this anisotropy makes an important contribution towards understanding high-temperature superconductors. The effect will also have to be taken into account in future experiments and theories of high-temperature superconductors.

17. October 2013

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Why lithium-ion-batteries fail

Storage Research Using Synchrotron Light Materials Research User Experiments

Materials in lithium ion battery electrodes expand and contract during charge and discharge. These volume changes drive particle fracture, which shortens battery lifetime. A group of ETH and PSI scientists have quantified this effect for the first time using high-resolution 3D movies recorded using x-ray tomography at the Swiss Light Source.

17. October 2013

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PSI-researcher Helena Van Swygenhoven awarded prestigious ERC Grant

Media Releases Research Using Neutrons Research Using Synchrotron Light Materials Research

Helena Van Swygenhoven, materials researcher at the Paul Scherrer Institute and professor at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL), has been awarded an ERC Advanced Grant. This prestigious EUR 2.5 million grant from the European Research Council will enable Van Swygenhoven to launch the new research project MULTIAX. Under this project, she will investigate what happens in metallic materials during deformation - a question important for the production processes for car parts. Furthermore, the project will also develop new methods that can be used to study materials at large-scale facilities. These methods will be accessible to experts from research and industry.

16. October 2013

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Die Ursprünge der ersten Fische mit „Zähnen“

Media Releases Research Using Synchrotron Light User Experiments Biology

Mit Hilfe von Röntgenlicht aus der Synchrotron Lichtquelle Schweiz des PSI ist es Paläontologen der Universität Bristol gelungen, ein Rätsel um den Ursprung der ersten Wirbeltiere mit harten Körperteilen zu lösen. Sie haben gezeigt, dass die „Zähne“ altertümlicher Fische (der sogenannten Conodonten) unabhängig von den Zähnen und Kiefern heutiger Wirbeltiere entstanden sind. Die Zähne dieser Wirbeltiere haben sich vielmehr aus einem Panzer entwickelt, der dem Schutz vor den Conodonten, den ersten „Raubtieren“, diente.


30. August 2013

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Neutrons and synchrotron light help unlock Bronze Age techniques

Matter and Material Research Using Neutrons Research Using Synchrotron Light

Experiments conducted at the PSI have made it possible to determine how a unique Bronze Age axe was made. This was thanks to the process of neutron imaging, which can be used to generate an accurate three-dimensional image of an object’s interior. For the last decade, the PSI has been collaborating with various museums and archaeological institutions both in Switzerland and abroad. The fact that the 18th International Congress on Ancient Bronzes, which is to be held at the University of Zurich from 3 – 7 September, will also be meeting at the PSI for one day is a testament to the success of the cooperation.

5. May 2013

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Tiny Magnets as a Model System

Media Releases Matter and Material Materials Research Research Using Synchrotron Light

Scientists use nano-rods to investigate how matter assembles
To make the magnetic interactions between the atoms visible, scientists at the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI have developed a special model system. It is so big that it can be easily observed under an X-ray microscope, and mimics the tiniest movements in Nature. The model: rings made from six nanoscale magnetic rods, whose north and south poles attract each other. At room temperature, the magnetisation direction of each of these tiny rods varies spontaneously. Scientists were able to observe the magnetic interactions between these active rods in real time. These research results were published on May 5 in the journal “Nature Physics”.

21. March 2013

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From methane to methanol - or how to extinguish the torches of waste

Energie und Umwelt Research Using Synchrotron Light

In nighttime photographs taken from space, the large cities of the world can easily be recognised by the flood of their public lighting. However, probably only the trained eye is able to see, as well as New York or Tokyo, the locations of many oil-producing wells . The light in these cases originates mainly from the combustion of methane. This huge waste of an energy-rich gas has devastating economic and ecological consequences. Reasearchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI are looking for a solution: the conversion of methane into the liquid energy carrier methanol


12. February 2013

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Superconductors surprise with intriguing properties

Media Releases Matter and Material Research Using Synchrotron Light

Scientists at the Paul Scherrer Institute, together with Chinese and German collaborators, have obtained new insights into a class of high-temperature superconductors. The experimental results of this fundamental research study indicate that magnetic interactions are of central importance in the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity. This knowledge could help to develop superconductors with enhanced technical properties in the future.

31. January 2013

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Magnetic nano-chessboard puts itself together

Media Releases Micro- and Nanotechnology Materials Research Matter and Material Research Using Synchrotron Light

Researchers from the Paul Scherrer Institute and the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research have been able to intentionally ‘switch off’ the magnetization of every second molecule in an array of magnetized molecules and thereby create a ‘magnetic nano-chessboard’. To achieve this, they manipulated the quantum state of a part of the molecules in a specific way.

23. January 2013

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Excitement that rivals a moon landing

Matter and Material User Experiments Research Using Synchrotron Light

Interview with Thomas Huthwelker
The Paul Scherrer Institut makes its research facilities available to scientists from all over the world. To ensure these scientists are exposed to optimal conditions when they arrive is the hard work of many PSI staff. An interview with one of these scientists provides a glimpse behind the scenes. This interview is taken from the latest issue of the PSI Magazine Fenster zur Forschung

3. January 2013

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How stabilised cell fibres prevent cancer cell division

Media Releases Human Health Biology Research Using Synchrotron Light

Anti-cancer drugs are used under the heading of “Chemotherapeutics” to prevent cells from dividing. Because the cells in a growing tumour divide more frequently than others, tumour cells are damaged more severely. Scientists at the Paul Scherrer Institute and the ETH Zurich have now clarified the exact mechanism of action of one class of these drugs. The data acquired is so accurate, that targeted drugs could now be developed that are even better suited to fulfil their task.

17. October 2012

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The evolutionary origins of our pretty smile

Media Releases Biology User Experiments Research Using Synchrotron Light

Until recently, it was not obvious whether the earliest vertebrates (animals with a backbone) which had jawbones already possessed teeth or not. Now, an international research team has shown that the jaws of the prehistoric fish Compagopiscis already had teeth. This means that teeth appeared at the same evolutionary time as jaws – or at least shortly afterwards. The leaders of this project were scientists from the University of Bristol, England, who carried out their decisive experiments at the SLS at PSI.

16. October 2012

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X-rays provide insights into volcanic processes

Media Releases Research Using Synchrotron Light Environment User Experiments

Experiments performed at the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) investigate processes inside volcanic materials that determine whether a volcano will erupt violently or mildly. In the experiments, scientists heated small pieces of volcanic material similarly to conditions present at the beginning of a volcanic eruption. They used X-rays from the SLS to observe, in real time, what happens to the rock as it goes from the solid to the molten state.

5. September 2012

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New Insights into Superconducting Materials

Media Releases Matter and Material Materials Research Research Using Synchrotron Light

A new X-ray technique provides insights into the magnetic properties of atomically thin layers of a parent compound of a high-temperature superconductor. It turns out that the magnetic properties of material films which are only a few atoms thick differ by only a surprisingly small degree from those of macroscopically thick samples. In the future, this method can be used to study the processes occurring in very thin layers of superconductors and help us to understand this intriguing phenomenon.

5. June 2012

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Alzheimer plaques in 3D

Media Releases Human Health Research Using Synchrotron Light Biology

Researchers have succeeded in generating detailed three-dimensional images of the spatial distribution of amyloid plaques in the brains of mice afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease. The new technique used in the investigations provides an extremely precise research tool for a better understanding of the disease. In the future, scientists hope that it will also provide the basis for a new and reliable diagnosis method. The results were achieved within a joint project of two research teams – one from the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) and ETH Zurich, the other from the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL).

18. April 2012

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Physicists observe the splitting of an electron inside a solid

Media Releases Matter and Material Materials Research Research Using Synchrotron Light

An electron has been observed to decay into two separate parts, each carrying a particular property of the electron: a spinon carrying its spin – the property making the electron behave as a tiny compass needle – and an orbiton carrying its orbital moment – which arises from the electron’s motion around the nucleus. These newly created particles, however, cannot leave the material in which they have been produced.

29. February 2012

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Creating magnetism takes much longer than destroying it

Media Releases Matter and Material Materials Research Research Using Synchrotron Light

Researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute are finding out how long it takes to establish magnetism and how this happens. Establishing a magnetically ordered phase in the metallic alloy iron-rhodium takes much longer than the reverse process of demagnetization. The result comes from basic research, but has relevance for the computer industry, as it shows which processes limit the speed of magnetic data storage and where improvements might be made.

16. February 2012

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How the body distinguishes between self and non-self – important structures explained

Media Releases Biology User Experiments Research Using Synchrotron Light

Like a shredder, the immunoproteasome cuts down proteins into peptides that are subsequently presented on the cellular surface. The immune system can distinguish between self and non-self peptides and selectively kills cells that present non-self peptides at their surface. In autoimmune diseases, this mechanism is deregulated. However, inhibition of the immunoproteasome may alleviate disease symptoms and progression. With the help of measurements taken at the Paul Scherer Institute, scientists have now succeeded in determining the first structure of an immunoproteasome.

7. February 2012

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Using heat for storing data

Media Releases Matter and Material Research Using Synchrotron Light Materials Research

An international research team has demonstrated a new way to record information on a magnetic medium without the use of a magnetic field. Instead, they found that they could record information using only a heat pulse. This method of recording might allow one to record Terabytes (1000s of Gigabytes) of information per second being 100s of times faster than present hard drive technology, and consumes much less energy by using heat without the need for a magnetic field. Using modern lithographic methods and x-ray microscopy, researchers from the Paul Scherrer Institute contributed considerably to this work.

23. December 2011

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Fossile Vorläufer der ersten Tiere

Media Releases Biology Research Using Synchrotron Light User Experiments

Einzellige Organismen, die vor über einer halben Milliarde Jahre gelebt haben und deren Fossilien in China gefunden wurden, sind wohl die unmittelbaren Vorläufer der frühesten Tiere. Die amöbenartigen Einzeller haben sich in einer Weise in zwei, vier, acht usw. Zellen geteilt, wie es heute tierische (und menschliche) Embryonen tun. Die Forscher glauben, dass diese Organismen einem der ersten Schritte vom Einzeller zum Vielzeller in der Entwicklung richtiger Tiere entsprechen.
This news release is only available in German.

21. December 2011

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Wenn die Datenleitung in die Zelle versagt

Media Releases Human Health Biology Research Using Synchrotron Light

Lebende Zellen empfangen dauernd Informationen von aussen, die über Rezeptoren in das Zellinnere weitergeleitet werden. Genetisch bedingte Fehler in solchen Rezeptoren sind der Grund für zahlreiche Erbkrankheiten darunter verschiedene hormonelle Funktionsstörungen oder Nachtblindheit. Forschern des Paul Scherrer Instituts ist es nun erstmals gelungen, die exakte Struktur eines solchen fehlerhaften Rezeptors aufzuklären.
This news release is only available in German.

11. November 2011

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Nanoforscher untersuchen Karies

Media Releases Biology Medical Science Research Using Synchrotron Light User Experiments

Forscher der Universität Basel und des Paul Scherrer Instituts konnten im Nanomassstab zeigen, wie sich Karies auf die menschlichen Zähne auswirkt. Ihre Studie eröffnet neue Perspektiven für die Behandlung von Zahnschäden, bei denen heute nur der Griff zum Bohrer bleibt. Die Forschungsergebnisse wurden in der Fachzeitschrift «Nanomedicine» veröffentlicht.
This news release is only available in German.

14. September 2011

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Zehn Jahre Forschung in der fliegenden Untertasse

Media Releases Matter and Material Research Using Synchrotron Light

Mit einem Festakt hat das Paul Scherrer Institut (PSI) in Villigen (AG) heute an das zehnjährige Bestehen ihrer bedeutendsten Grossforschungsanlage erinnert. Seit der Inbetriebnahme im Sommer 2001 haben Tausende von Forschern aus Hochschule und Industrie an der Synchroton Lichtquelle Schweiz (SLS) qualitativ hochwertige Experimente durchgeführt. Ihre Forschung mündete in über 2000 wissenschaftlichen Publikationen und brachte darüber hinaus einen Nobelpreis sowie eine Vielzahl industrieller Anwendungen hervor.
This news release is only available in German.

18. August 2011

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Getting inside the mind (and up the nose) of our ancient ancestors

Media Releases Biology Research Using Synchrotron Light User Experiments

Reorganisation of the brain and sense organs could be the key to the evolutionary success of vertebrates, one of the great puzzles in evolutionary biology, according to a paper by an international team of researchers, published today in Nature. The study claims to have solved this scientific riddle by studying the brain of a 400 million year old fossilized jawless fish – an evolutionary intermediate between the living jawless and jawed vertebrates.

23. May 2011

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X-ray methods help to understand brain disorders better

Media Releases Human Health Biology Research Using Synchrotron Light

An international team of researchers has developed a new method for making detailed X-ray images of brain tissue, which has been used to make the myelin sheaths of nerve fibres visible. Damage to these protective sheaths can lead to various disorders, such as multiple sclerosis. The facility for creating these images of the protective sheaths of nerve cells is being operated at the Swiss Light Source (SLS), at the Paul Scherrer Institute.

9. March 2011

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The basic structures of sight deciphered

Media Releases Matter and Material Biology Research Using Synchrotron Light

At the beginning of the process of sight, light interacts with a protein molecule called Rhodopsin. This molecule contains the actual light sensor that is stimulated by the incoming light and changes its form, in order to trigger the rest of the process. Researchers have now managed to determine the exact structure of the Rhodopsin molecule in its short-lived, excited state. From this, they have obtained a precise picture of the first step of the process of sight.

27. January 2011

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Dem Rätsel der Centriolen-Bildung auf der Spur

Media Releases Human Health Biology Research Using Synchrotron Light

In menschlichen Zellen finden sich stammesgeschichtlich sehr alte Funktionseinheiten, die als Centriolen bezeichnet werden. Ein Forscherteam vom PSI und der ETH Lausanne hat nun erstmals ein Modell für die Bildung der Centriolen vorgestellt. Das erstaunende Ergebnis ist, dass die Neuner-Symmetrie des Centriols durch die Fähigkeit eines einzelnen Proteins sich selbst zu organisieren zustande kommt.
This news release is only available in French and German.

18. January 2011

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Understanding the nanomachines of life

Media Releases Biology User Experiments Research Using Synchrotron Light

Ribosomes are the protein factories of the living cell and themselves very complex biomolecules. Now, a French research group has for the first time determined the structure of the ribosome in a eukaryotic cell – a complex cell containing a cell nucleus. An important part of the experiments was performed with synchrotron light at the Swiss Light Source SLS of the Paul Scherrer Institute.

17. October 2010

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Moving Monopoles Caught on Camera

Media Releases Matter and Material Materials Research Micro- and Nanotechnology Research Using Synchrotron Light

For decades researchers have searched for magnetic monopoles – isolated magnetic charges that can move freely like electric charges. Now a team of researchers from the Paul Scherrer Institute and University College Dublin have been able to produce monopoles in the form of quasiparticles in an assembly of nanoscale magnets and have directly observed how they move.

23. September 2010

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Advanced imaging for bone research and materials science

Media Releases Human Health Biology Research Using Synchrotron Light

High-resolution method for computed nano-tomography developed
A novel nano-tomography method developed by a team of researchers from the Technische Universität München, the Paul Scherrer Institute and the ETH Zurich opens the door to computed tomography examinations of minute structures at nanometer resolutions. The new method makes possible, for example, three-dimensional internal imaging of fragile bone structures.

4. August 2010

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Researchers Find Universal Law For Material Evolution

Media Releases Materials Research Research Using Synchrotron Light

Many important materials are composed of several phases. When such a material is heated, atoms move from one phase to another, which changes the distribution of the phases – and thus, the properties of the material. A team of researchers has now shown that for an important case, there is a general law describing this process that is valid for all classes of materials.

29. July 2010

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Understanding plastic semiconductors better

Media Releases Materials Research Research Using Synchrotron Light

Semiconductors made from polymer materials are becoming increasingly important for the electronics industry – as a basis for transistors, solar cells or LEDs. Usually, they consist of more than one substance as they get their particular electric properties only when several materials are blended. Researchers from the Paul Scherrer Institute and the University of Cambridge have developed a method that allows them to determine the detailed structure of the material.

22. July 2010

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New X-ray technique distinguishes between that which previously looked the same

Media Releases Biology Research Using Synchrotron Light

Images generated using the phase-contrast technique allow one to distinguish between tissue types such as muscle, cartilage, tendons or soft-tissue tumours that look virtually identical in conventional X-ray images. Researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute and the Chinese Academy of Science have further developed the technique to make it easier to use in the future. This could help in the detection of tumours or in the identification of hazardous objects in luggage.

28. June 2010

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Proton pump generates energy from food and oxygen

Media Releases Biology Research Using Synchrotron Light User Experiments

A central feature of any living organism is that food reacts with oxygen and, in the process, energy is released and made available for a variety of reactions within the organism. Using investigations performed at the Swiss Light Source, SLS, researchers have now been able to explain a crucial part of this process at a molecular level.

8. February 2010

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Magnetspeicher der neusten Generation sind 100 000 mal schneller als herkömmliche Festplatten

Media Releases Materials Research Research Using Synchrotron Light Matter and Material

Computer-Festplatten könnten bald ausgedient haben: Forscher des Paul Scherrer Instituts PSI und der Universität Konstanz haben neuartige Magnetbänder untersucht und gezeigt, dass sie nicht nur sehr hohe Speicherdichten, sondern auch viel schnellere Zugriffszeiten als heutige Speichermedien zulassen. Leiter der Studie war Mathias Kläui, der am 1. April eine von der ETH Lausanne und dem PSI gemeinsam finanzierte Professur antritt.
This news release is only available in French and German.

18. January 2010

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Attacking the lifeline of tumour cells

Media Releases Biology Research Using Synchrotron Light Human Health

Researchers at Biomedicum Helsinki, Finland, and the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) in Villigen, Switzerland, have determined the crystal structure of the ligand-binding domain of a vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) receptor in complex with one of its ligands (VEGF-C).

1. December 2009

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Synchrotron light

Matter and Material Research Using Synchrotron Light Materials Research

Synchrotron light is a particularly intense form of X-ray light that allows insights into many different materials and compounds. This allows processes in magnetic materials or within the complex structures of biomolecules to be determined. In comparison to conventional X-rays, it offers numerous advantages: for example, one can precisely adjust its properties to fit the requirements of each experiment carried out. At the Paul Scherrer Institute, synchrotron light is available at the Swiss Light Source SLS.

1. December 2009

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Studies on protein structures – understanding the basic building blocks of life

Human Health Biology Research Using Synchrotron Light

Proteins are the building blocks of all living organisms. In the living cell these complex molecules perform countless tasks. The precise function a protein performs is directly related to its structure. Researchers at the PSI investigate a wide range of proteins, in order to understand their structures and functions, often to lay the foundations for developing new drugs. In addition, researchers explore new techniques for determining protein structure – in particular with synchrotron light at the Swiss Light Source (SLS).

1. December 2009

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The Swiss Light Source SLS

Matter and Material Research Using Synchrotron Light Large Scale Facilities

The synchrotron light in the SLS is emitted from electrons, which move at a velocity of almost the speed of light along a circular path with an overall circumference of 288 metres. The synchrotron light is emitted tangentially to the trajectory of the electrons, i.e. in the same direction as sparks would fly from a grindstone, or a hammer from the hands of a hammer thrower.

The production of synchrotron radiation makes use of the fact that electrically charged particles emit light as they move along a curved path. Bending magnets keep the electrons on their curved track, as a magnetic field deflects fast-moving electrically-charged particles.

1. December 2009

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The PSI proton accelerator

Matter and Material Research Using Synchrotron Light Research Using Neutrons Research Using Muons Large Scale Facilities Particle Physics

The neutrons and muons used for experiments at PSI are all produced by a beam of fast protons colliding with a target – made of lead in the case of the SINQ neutron source and of carbon in the case of the SμS muon source. For that purpose, the protons are accelerated to 80% of the speed of light at PSI's accelerator facility. The facility has been in operation since 1974. After numerous improvements, it provides the most intense proton beam in the world.

1. December 2009

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Service to the scientific community

Matter and Material Research Using Synchrotron Light Research Using Muons Research Using Neutrons Large Scale Facilities Particle Physics

Neutrons, synchrotron light and muons are very useful for researchers in a variety of disciplines. Using these “probes”, we can determine the structure of crystals, they help us understand magnetic processes, or they can reveal the structures of biological materials. However, producing these probes is so difficult that most research groups will not have a neutron, muon or synchrotron light at their own scientific centre.

12. November 2009

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Aufbau von Materialien nanogenau untersuchen

Media Releases Research Using Synchrotron Light Large Scale Facilities Matter and Material Materials Research

Ein neues Mikroskop an der Synchrotron Lichtquelle Schweiz SLS des Paul Scherrer Instituts wird es möglich machen, den Aufbau von Materialien mit bisher unerreichter Auflösung darzustellen. Dazu werden Forschende einzelne Bereiche in einem Material betrachten, die nur wenige Nanometer (millionstel Millimeter) gross sind, und für jeden dieser Bereiche bestimmen, welche chemischen Elemente darin enthalten sind.
This news release is only available in German.

7. October 2009

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Winner of Nobel Prize in Chemistry is long-term user of Swiss Light Source at the Paul Scherrer Institute

Media Releases Research Using Synchrotron Light User Experiments Biology

The Paul Scherrer Institute congratulates Professor Venkatraman Ramakrishnan on the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Ramakrishnan is a long-term user of the Swiss Light Source SLS at the Paul Scherrer Institut in Switzerland. He used this facility for his prize winning studies on the structure of the ribosome.

24. July 2009

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Ticket für die Reise durch die Zelle

Media Releases Biology Human Health Research Using Synchrotron Light

Publikation in “Cell”. Forscher entdecken Mechanismus für wesentliche Erkennungsvorgänge in lebenden Zellen. Über ihre Ergebnisse berichten die Forscher in der neuesten Ausgabe der Fachzeitschrift Cell.
This news release is only available in German.

12. December 2008

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Moleküle bei der Arbeit fotografiert

Media Releases Matter and Material Materials Research Research Using Synchrotron Light

Publikation in Online-Ausgabe von “Science”. Röntgenblitze am Paul Scherrer Institut zeigen, wie sich Moleküle während des Ablaufs einer chemischen Reaktion verändern.
This news release is only available in German.

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18. July 2008

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Super-Resolution X-ray Microscopy unveils the buried secrets of the nanoworld

Media Releases Matter and Material Research Using Synchrotron Light Micro- and Nanotechnology

Publication in “Science”. A novel super-resolution X-ray microscope developed by a team of researchers from the Paul Scherrer Institut (PSI) and EPFL in Switzerland combines the high penetration power of x-rays with high spatial resolution, making it possible for the first time to shed light on the detailed interior composition of semiconductor devices and cellular structures.

27. November 2007

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First structure of a Rhesus family membrane protein solved

Human Health Biology Research Using Synchrotron Light

Researchers at PSI, in collaboration with scientists in France and England, have solved the first structure of a Rhesus (Rh) protein and thereby shed new light on a group of proteins of great importance in human transfusion medicine.

21. November 2007

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The early relatives of flowering plants

Biology User Experiments Research Using Synchrotron Light

High-resolution phase-contrast X-ray images of fossil seeds

The emergence of flowering plants is regarded as a major botanical mystery. In the 22nd November edition of the scientific magazine “Nature”, an international research team with participation from the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) publishes results that shed fresh light on this controversial question. New three-dimensional non-destructive imaging procedures have been used to carry out investigations into fossilised plant seeds. As a result, it has been possible to confirm an earlier scientific theory, which had previously been cast into doubt by molecular genetic analyses.

5. October 2007

MM071005 CAP Gly tn.jpg

Important protein structure determined

Media Releases Biology Research Using Synchrotron Light

CAP-Gly domains control fundamental cellular processes

18. January 2007

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Key proteins illuminated by SLS

Media Releases Human Health Biology Research Using Synchrotron Light

How cells regulate nitrogen uptake can be better understood.

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