Research Using Synchrotron Light
Research and tinkering – SwissFEL in 2019
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.
Preventing tumour metastasis
Researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI, together with colleagues from the pharmaceutical company F. Hoffmann-La Roche AG, have taken an important step towards the development of an active substance against the metastasis of certain cancers. Using the Swiss Light Source SLS, they deciphered the structure of a receptor that plays a crucial role in the migration of cancer cells.
Observing solid-state batteries during deformation
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.
Weyl fermions discovered in another class of materials
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.
Molecular energy machine as a movie star
Using the Swiss Light Source SLS, PSI researchers have recorded a molecular energy machine in action and thus revealed how energy production at cell membranes works. For this purpose, they developed a new investigative method that could make the analysis of cellular processes significantly more effective than before.
New material with magnetic shape memory
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.
New material also reveals new quasiparticles
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.
A compass pointing West
Researchers at PSI have discovered a new phenomenon of magnetism with the help of the Swiss Light Source SLS. Certain groups of atoms behave like a compass pointing West. This could make computers much more powerful.
Watching electrons and switching bits on
Electronics should get smaller, faster, and above all more energy-efficient. These themes are also present in several research groups at PSI. From incremental improvements to complete rethinking – who is currently working on what?
Virtual lens improves X-ray microscopy
A method developed by PSI researchers makes X-ray images of materials even better. The researchers took a number of individual images while moving an optical lens. From these, with the help of computer algorithms, they generated one overall image.
Now it's time for something new
If you make electronic components smaller, they unfortunately get hotter. Also, we will soon reach the limit of technically feasible miniaturisation. At PSI, Gabriel Aeppli and Christian Rüegg are working on fundamentally new, physical solutions for better computers and data storage devices.
On the go at 200 kilometres per hour
Fabia Gozzo is no woman for the comfort zone. First she made a beamline at the Swiss Light Source SLS of the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI into one of the world's leading facilities. Today she is making her knowledge available to industry with her spin-off.
On the path to new high-performance transistors
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.
Light for biomolecules and super-fast processes
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.
Cleaner diesel emissions
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.
PSI spin-off GratXray wins Swiss Technology Award 2017
A spin-off from PSI has received this year's Swiss Technology Award: The young company GratXray is developing a new method for early diagnosis of breast cancer.
From golden emperor to filled Buddha
Ancient metal objects are illuminated by neutrons at the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI. This enables researchers to discover what is hidden inside them, how they were made and how they can be preserved.
Atmosphere in X-ray light
PSI researchers have developed an experimental chamber in which they can recreate atmospheric processes and probe them with unprecedented precision, using X-ray light from the Swiss Light Source SLS. In the initial experiments, they have studied the production of bromine, which plays an essential role in the decomposition of ozone in the lower layers of the atmosphere. In the future, the new experiment chamber will also be available for use by researchers from other scientific fields.
X-ray and neutron imaging for palaeontologists and archaeologists
Federica Marone illuminates objects with high-intensity X-ray beams, Eberhard Lehmann with neutrons. Both have used their methods to give palaeontologists and archaeologists a new view into the past.
Diving into magnets
For the first time, scientists have made visible the directions of the magnetisation inside a 3D magnetic object. The smallest details in their visualisation were ten thousand times smaller than a millimetre. Among others, the magnetic structure contained one outstanding kind of pattern: magnetic singularities called Bloch points, which up to now were only known in theory.