Matter and Material
Read more at: Matter and Material
With the high-intensity proton accelerator HIPA, the Paul Scherrer Institute generates elementary particles to clarify how the universe is structured. Using pions, muons, and neutrons, the researchers conduct experiments to test the standard model of particle physics.
Exotic atoms, in which electrons are replaced by other particles, allow deep insights into the quantum world. After eight years, an international group of scientists have succeeded in a challenging experiment conducted at PSI’s pion source: they created an artificial atom called “pionic helium”.
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-scale 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.
Traditionally, violins are varnished to protect them from humidity and other environmental influences. At PSI, a scientific team has investigated how different coatings affect the instrument. Under no circumstances, they found, should anyone try to do without varnish completely.
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-scale 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.
A 3,500-year-old bronze sculpture is being examined at PSI's SINQ neutron source. This will enable conservators to get a unique view into the interior of the sensational find – and gain insights into how it was made.
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.
PSI researchers have observed mechanical processes in solid-state batteries with unprecedented precision. Using X-ray tomography at the Swiss Light Source SLS, they discovered how fissures inside the batteries propagate. These insights can help to make batteries for electric cars or smartphones safer and more efficient.
A particular variety of particles, the so-called Weyl fermions, had previously only been detected in certain non-magnetic materials. But now researchers at PSI have experimentally proved their existence for the first time in a specific paramagnetic material.
PSI researchers are helping the European space program: Their neutron imaging serves to ensure the quality of critical components for rocket launches.
PSI researchers have developed a material whose shape memory is activated through magnetism. Application areas for this new kind of composite material include, for example, medicine, space flight, electronics, and robotics.
Researchers at PSI have investigated a novel crystalline material at the Swiss Light Source SLS that exhibits electronic properties never seen before. Among other things, they were able to detect a new type of quasiparticle: so-called Rarita-Schwinger fermions.