Towards new shores: At the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI, enterprising researchers are venturing into the unknown. They're leaving their safe haven to become successful entrepreneurs. The journey from PSI to one's own spin-off takes courage. To keep the voyage from getting too stormy, PSI supports its business founders as they navigate through rough waters, and maintains these connections over many years.
In medicine, industry, and research as well as in power generation radioactive waste occurs. In Switzerland, there are currently two central interim storage facilities. The Federal interim storage facility for waste stemming from medicine, industry and research is located on the grounds of PSI.
Gebhard Schertler is head of the research division Biology and Chemistry at the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI and professor for Structural Biology at ETH Zurich. In this interview he talks about biological research at PSI and the future of drug development.
How do dye-sensitised solar cells work, and what's behind the brilliant new mobile phone displays? The ultrashort X-ray pulses at SwissFEL reveal the chemical reactions that take place inside these devices and could help to make them even more efficient and cost-effective.
Shortly after the Big Bang, radioactive Beryllium-7 atoms were formed, which today, throughout the universe, they have long since decayed. A sample of beryllium-7 artificially produced at PSI has now helped researchers to better understand the first minutes of the universe.
The electronics industry expects a novel high-performance transistor made of gallium nitride to offer considerable advantages over present-day high-frequency transistors. Yet many fundamental properties of the material remain unknown. Now, for the first time, researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI have observed electrons while they were flowing in this promising transistor. For that they used one of the world's best sources of soft X-rays at PSI's Swiss Light Source SLS.
PSI researchers have developed a new catalytic converter for cleaning emissions from natural gas engines. It is very active even at low temperatures and remains that way over a long period of time. This allows natural gas to be burned in a cleaner, more climate-friendly way. Thus natural gas and biogas become more attractive as substitutes for petroleum products – for example, as fuel for cars.
Data storage devices based on novel materials are expected to make it possible to record information in a smaller space, at higher speed, and with greater energy efficiency than ever before. Movies shot with the X-ray laser show what happens inside potential new storage media, as well as how the processes by which the material switches between two states can be optimised.
Using X-ray laser technology, a team led by researchers of the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI has recorded one of the fastest processes in biology. In doing so, they produced a molecular movie that reveals how the light sensor retinal is activated in a protein molecule. Such reactions occur in numerous organisms. The movie shows for the first time how a protein efficiently controls the reaction of the embedded light sensor.
With the X-ray laser SwissFEL, researchers at PSI want to produce movies of biomolecules in action. This can reveal how our eyes function or how new drugs work.
Researchers from the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI, the University of Basel and Roche have used neutron imaging to investigate why cool storage is crucial for syringes pre-filled with a liquid medication.
Physics isn't everyone's favourite subject. At the iLab of the Paul Scherrer Institute, students experience the material in a different way: with experiments instead of memorising formulas.
Last summer a violation of research integrity was reported to the Paul Scherrer Insitute PSI. The results of the investigation are now available. PSI has taken several measures as a consequence.
The 16th of May is the International Day of Light. The research carried out with light at PSI enables advances in biology and pharmacology and also promotes the development of new materials for data storage and new technologies for personalised medicine.
With proton therapy, certain tumours can be irradiated with exceptional precision – while, the surrounding healthy tissue is optimally protected. In Switzerland, this kind of radiation therapy is only possible at PSI. In a joint project with the University Hospital Zurich and the University of Zurich, PSI has expanded its capacity with a state-of-the-art treatment facility: the new, 270-ton Gantry 3.
PSI researchers have found out why it is harder to control the noxious nitrogen oxides in diesel exhaust at low temperatures – and how, in the future, emissions can be cleaned more efficiently depending on the temperature.
If photovoltaic or wind power plants produce more electricity than the network can absorb, valuable energy is lost. At the ESI Platform, PSI researchers are investigating how fuel cells can contribute to making this energy usable in a targeted way through storage.
Nowhere in the world have so many ocular tumours been irradiated with protons as at PSI. But before the affected patients go to Villigen, they have to visit Lausanne: for pretreatment at the Jules Gonin Ophthalmic Hospital. The more than 30-year-long collaboration between the hospital and PSI is unique, and in most cases it saves the patient's diseased eye.
The young company Swiss Hydrogen is located in Fribourg. Here work is under way on competitive high-performance fuel cells that could be used in environmentally friendly vehicles or deployed as stationary power generators. In the company's collaboration with PSI, as CEO Alexandre Closset explains in this interview, both sides profit.
The ABB facility in Wettingen got practical recommendations on increasing production of ceramic components. Researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI examined the components by means of neutron imaging. With the help of these images, ABB employees were able to see where there is still potential for process optimisation. This feasibility study was funded by the Hightech Zentrum Aargau.