24. November 2009

Research at the Paul Scherrer Institute

The scientific topics investigated at the Paul Scherrer Institute can be divided into three large fields: Matter and Material, Human Health, and Energy and Environment. The scientific results are achieved by both researchersr from the PSI and external scientists performing experiments at PSI's large scale facilities. Besides research in the strict meaning of the word, further development of the experimental facilities is an important task for PSI's scientists and engineers.

Matter and Material

Most researchers working in the field Matter and Material are investigating the properties of various materials by determining how the atoms they are composed of are arranged and how they move. PSI's particle physicists go one step further and investigate the properties of the smallest building blocks of matter – the elementary particles.

Human Health

Understanding the vital processes in living organisms on a molecular level and developing new methods for the diagnosis and treatment of disease are the basic aims of research in Human Health.
Cancer patients have been treated since 1984 at the PSI proton therapy facilities on the Institute's site. The procedure offers a treatment method for certain types of tumours which is particularly less destructive of neighbouring tissue. PSI researchers are constantly developing and extending the facilities, in order to make the therapy increasingly more efficient and also applicable to other types of tumours.

Energy and Environment

The goal of PSI's energy research is the development of technologies for a sustainable utilization of energy. This includes environmentally friendly energy production, the application of renewable energy sources, and low-loss energy storage. In addition, technologies are being investigated which will contribute to the safe use of nuclear energy. Environmental research is concentrated on the study of processes taking place in the atmosphere.