The evolutionary origins of our pretty smile
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 à 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.
X-rays provide insights into volcanic processes
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.
Nobelpreiswürdig: G-Protein-gekoppelte Rezeptoren
Der Nobelpreis für Chemie geht in diesem Jahr an Robert J. Lefkowitz und Brian K. Kobilka. Sie haben herausgefunden, wie eine Familie von Rezeptoren funktioniert, die man G-Protein-gekoppelte Rezeptoren (GPCR) nennt. Auch am PSI leisten Wissenschaftler Beiträge auf diesem Forschungsgebiet.This news release is only available in German.
Silicon – Close to the Breaking Point
Stretching a layer of silicon can lead to internal mechanical strain which can considerably improve the electronic properties of the material. Researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute and the ETH Zurich have created a new process from a layer of silicon to fabricate extremely highly strained nanowires in a silicon substrate. The researchers report the highest-ever mechanical stress obtained in a material that can serve as the basis for electronic components. The long term goal aim is to produce high-performance and low-power transistors for microprocessors based on such wires.
Built-in Germanium Lasers could make Computer Chips faster
Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) researchers have investigated the mechanisms necessary for enabling the semiconductor Germanium to emit laser light. As a laser material, Germanium together with Silicon could form the basis for innovative computer chips in which information would be transferred partially in the form of light. This technology would revolutionise data streaming within chips and give a boost to the performance of electronics.
New Insights into Superconducting Materials
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.
Ultra-short X-ray laser pulses precisely surveyed for the first time
X-ray lasers are modern light sources from which scientists expect to obtain new knowledge about the structure and function of materials at the atomic level. The scientific value of an X-ray laser stands or falls on the quality of the ultra-short X-ray pulses it produces and which researchers use to illuminate their samples. An international team led by scientists from the Paul Scherer Institute, PSI, has now precisely measured these pulses
Distribution of soot particles in particulate filters of diesel vehicles seen for the first time
Diesel motor vehicles have to be equipped with soot particulate filters, so the harmful soot and ash cannot get into the environment. Whilst these operate according to appropriate standards, up until now, the details about the distribution of soot and ash inside these filters has been unknown. Now, thanks to the special examination techniques of the Paul Scherrer Institute [PSI], the actual filter loads have been seen for the first time.
Observation of a New Particle with a Mass of 125 GeV
In a joint seminar today at CERN and the ICHEP 2012 conference in Melbourne, researchers of the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experiment at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) presented their preliminary results on the search for the standard model (SM) Higgs boson in their data recorded up to June 2012.
Controversy clarified: Why two insulators together can transport electricity
How can two materials which do not conduct electricity create an electrically conducting layer when they are joined together? Since this effect was discovered in 2004, researchers have developed various hypotheses to answer this question. Now, an international team under the leadership of researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute has probably settled the controversy.
Alzheimer plaques in 3D
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 à one from the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) and ETH Zurich, the other from the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL).
Reconstruction of atmospheric lead concentrations in Russia since 1680
A research team from the Paul Scherrer Institute has reconstructed the concentration record of lead in the atmosphere in Russia since 1680. The results demonstrate a significant increase in the atmospheric lead concentrations since the 1930s and a significant reduction since the 1970s.
Energiewende: Das Ganze sehen, die Details bedenken
Die Energiewende als politischer Wille ist Realität, aber wie wird die Schweiz ihre Energieversorgung aus dem heutigen Stand in diejenige überführen, die die für das Jahr 2050 formulierten Ziele erfüllt? Mit Fragen der Umsetzung, mit den Optionen und den Herausforderungen des beschlossenen Umbaus der schweizerischen Energielandschaft befasste sich am 14. Mai 2012 die Energietagung des Paul Scherrer Institut. Im Mittelpunkt stand der bei einer zunehmend dezentralen Energieversorgung notwendige Umbau der Stromnetze.This news release is only available in German.
Retention of radioactive iodine in serious NPP accidents
Researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute [PSI] have developed a highly efficient technique for filtering radioactive iodine. It removes virtually all of the iodine from radioactively contaminated exhaust air before its release into the environment after a meltdown at a damaged nuclear power plant. The process has recently become ready for worldwide use at nuclear power installations, after PSI and the industrial company CCI AG (Balterswil/TG) have signed a licensing agreement for the PSI patented process.
Physicists observe the splitting of an electron inside a solid
An electron has been observed to decay into two separate parts, each carrying a particular property of the electron: a spinon carrying its spin à the property making the electron behave as a tiny compass needle à and an orbiton carrying its orbital moment à 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.
Creating magnetism takes much longer than destroying it
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.
How the body distinguishes between self and non-self – important structures explained
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.
Kooperation für perfekte Beschleunigung
Mehr als 10'000 Einzelteile à alle auf den Tausendstelmillimeter exakt à sollen bei der Zusammenarbeit zwischen dem Paul Scherrer Institut PSI und Oerlikon Mechatronics AG, Trübbach gebaut werden und am Ende für perfekte Beschleunigung im SwissFEL, dem geplanten Röntgenlaser des PSI sorgen. Für den SwissFEL-Linearbeschleuniger wird Oerlikon Mechatronics die sogenannten Kupfertassen herstellen (komplex geformte und hochpräzise Scheiben) und diese zu Hohlräumen (Kavitäten) zusammenfügen, in denen sich die nötigen beschleunigenden Kräfte erzeugen lassen.This news release is only available in German.
Using heat for storing data
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.
Kein Blick in die Kristallkugel
Das Paul Scherrer Institut wird in Zusammenarbeit mit dem Weltenergierat nachvollziehbare Modelle für zukünftige globale Energiesysteme entwickeln. In einem auf drei Jahre ausgelegten Projekt wollen PSI-Forscher um Stefan Hirschberg ein Modell entwickeln mit dem man Aussagen über zukünftige Energiesysteme machen kann. Das besondere daran ist, dass es sich um ein sogenanntes Open-Source-Modell handeln wird. D. h. Experten und andere Interessenten können einen Zugang zum Programm erhalten, sowie Informationen darüber, von genau welchen Annahmen die Forscher bei der Ausarbeitung ihres Modells ausgegangen sind. Das ist bei kommerziellen Anbietern von Prognosewerkzeugen nicht üblich.This news release is only available in German.