The manifold characteristics of materials are determined by what type of atoms they are made of, how these atoms are arranged, and how they move. In the research area Future Technologies, scientists at the Paul Scherrer Institute are trying to clarify this link between the internal structure and the observable properties of different materials. They want to use this knowledge as fundamental principles for new applications – whether in medicine, information technology or energy generation and storage – or to explore innovative manufacturing processes for industry.
Find out more at: Future Technologies
At high pressure, liquid water and water vapour merge together – the phase boundary disappears. Researchers have now discovered a similar behaviour in a quantum magnet.
The X-ray free-electron laser SwissFEL really is as high-performance and versatile as planned.
PSI researchers have shown how faster and better defined quantum bits can be created. The central elements are magnetic atoms from the class of so-called rare-earth metals, selectively implanted into the crystal lattice of a material.
Operando X-ray spectrotomography allows scientists to look inside of functioning chemical reactors. A research team at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), at Paul Scherrer Institute PSI and at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) in France have employed this method successfully.
At the X-ray free-electron laser SwissFEL of the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI, the second beamline is currently being put into operation. With Athos, researchers want to understand how catalysts work or how biomolecules cause hereditary diseases.
Measurements at the Swiss Light Source SLS have helped to understand how the only known natural protein-mineral crystal is formed. It is part of the fascinating glass skeleton of sponges.
Researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI have for the first time identified special nano-vortices in a material: antiferromagnetic skyrmions.
PSI scientists have investigated a material that could be suitable for future data storage applications. They have manipulated the crystalline structure of their sample while measuring how this affects the material’s magnetic and electronic properties.
Zeolites are already indispensable additives in the chemical industry – researchers from PSI and ETH Zurich suggest ways to make them still more efficient.
At the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI, researchers have gained insights into a promising material for organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs). This new understanding at the atomic level will help to develop new lighting materials that have higher light output and also are cost-efficient to manufacture.
The new beamline at PSI's X-ray free-electron laser SwissFEL will soon be ready for action. In December, Athos delivered laser light for the first time − even sooner than expected, to the delight of the researchers responsible for its construction.
Tomographic images from the interior of fossils, brain cells, or computer chips are yielding new insights into the finest of structures. These 3-D images are made possible by the X-ray beams of the Swiss Light Source SLS, together with detectors and sophisticated computer algorithms developed at PSI.
Using a newly developed imaging method, researchers were able to visualise the magnetic structure inside a material with nanoscale resolution. They succeeded in creating a short "film" consisting of seven movie frames that shows, for the first time in 3D, how tiny vortices of the magnetisation deep within a material change over time.
On 10 February, the ESA mission Solar Orbiter is scheduled to start. The Swiss X-ray telescope STIX will be launching too – with detectors developed at PSI.
PSI researchers simulate and model large research facilities as well as experiments, for example, in the materials and biological sciences. Andreas Adelmann, head of PSI's Laboratory for Scientific Computing and Modelling, explains how they do it.
Researchers in PSI's Laboratory for Scientific Computing and Modelling solve the most complex problems through a combination of theory, modelling, and high-performance computing. With powerful computers, they simulate the smallest molecules or large research facilities.
Researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI have developed a new process with which fibre-reinforced composite materials can be precisely X-rayed. This could help to develop better materials with novel properties.
It is reminiscent of a paper bird made with the help of the Japanese folding art origami: a microrobot that uses the force of magnetic fields to move. In the future, such small machines could be used, for example, in medical operations.
The newest large research facility at the Paul Scherrer Institute, SwissFEL, has been completed. In January 2019 it began regular operation. Henrik Lemke, head of the SwissFEL Bernina research group, gives an interim report.
For the first time, PSI researchers have used neutrons to visualise very strong magnetic fields that are up to one million times stronger than Earth's magnetic field. This now makes it possible to study magnets that are already installed in devices such as magnetic resonance tomography systems or alternators.