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Paul Scherrer Institute

The Paul Scherrer Institute, PSI, is the largest research centre for natural and engineering sciences within Switzerland. We perform world-class research in three main subject areas: Matter and Material; Energy and the Environment; and Human Health. By conducting fundamental and applied research, we work on long-term solutions for major challenges facing society, industry and science.

Current news from PSI

30. July 2014


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 LIVE_WWW/AKO.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.

14. July 2014


Hydrogen: a Trojan horse in fuel-rod cladding tubes

Energy and Environment Nuclear Power Plant Safety

In nuclear reactors, water is dissociated at the surface of the hot fuel elements, thereby producing hydrogen. This hydrogen can penetrate the fuel cladding surrounding the actual fuel and weaken it mechanically. Researchers from the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) have been using neutrons and synchrotron radiation to study how the hydrogen gets into the cladding tube and what impact it can have once inside.

1. July 2014


A dark state sheds light

Energy and Environment

The molecule dicarbon (C2) is present in all flames where a carbon-containing fuel is combusted. C2 burns visibly, is behind the blue colour inside a candle flame and could also play a key role in the formation of soot. Now, for the first time, scientists from the Paul Scherrer Institute have rendered a previously invisible C2 energy state, a so-called dark state, visible. Not only is its discovery interesting for combustion researchers; it also solves a century-old puzzle in the spectrum of this omnipresent molecule.

25. June 2014


Tag der offenen SwissFEL-Baustelle

SwissFEL SwissFEL Construction

Vergangenen Sonntag luden das Paul Scherrer Institut PSI und die Arbeitsgemeinschaft EquiFEL Suisse die Einwohnerinnen und Einwohner der Umgebung zum Tag der offenen SwissFEL-Baustelle ein. Rund 600 Interessierte informierten sich an mehreren Stationen über den aktuellen Bau- und Projektstand.
This news release is only available in German.

16. June 2014


Ice in fuel cells imaged directly for the first time

Media Releases Energy and Environment Research Using Neutrons

Researchers from the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) have succeeded in imaging the distribution of frozen and liquid water in a hydrogen fuel cell directly for the first time. They applied a new imaging technique that uses successively two beams with different neutron energies to distinguish between areas with liquid water and those with ice extremely reliably. The method therefore opens up the prospect of studying one of the main problems of using fuel cells to power vehicles: ice can clog the pores in the fuel cells and affect their performance. The PSI scientists’ results will be published in the journal Physical Review Letters on 16 June 2014.

More news can be found in our popular science blog "fascinating research".

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With its expertise, PSI can support your business in solving technological problems. Within the SwissFEL project, we provide industrial partners with interesting opportunities for collaboration.
Photo on the left: Aerial view of the PSI premises, May 2014.

Proton Therapy

Treatment for specific cancers at PSI

User Office

The PSI User Office is a central PSI installation to serve the users from all the four user laboratories.


The new large-scale facility at the PSI: overview, current issues, construction progress

psi forum

The visitors' centre of the Paul Scherrer Institute

The iLab School Laboratory

Experience Science - Explore Research

Energie Spiegel

The newsletter regularly published by PSI on the subject of energy systems and their analysis.

Fascinating research

Learn more about PSI's research cosmos