Natural Sciences

Programming microfluidic functionalities in real-time with virtual channels

Work by our group at IBM Research Europe in Zurich has led to a new method for the rapid implementation of microfluidic operations. By tailoring the potential landscape inside a flow cell, we form so-called “virtual channels” on demand to perform high-precision guiding and transport, splitting, merging and mixing of microfluidic flows. This allows to […]

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Biological remodelling of liquid water

It is well known that the human body is mostly composed of water: The brain, for example, is 75 percent water and even bones are not “dry” – containing as much as one third water. All of this water maintains the shape and structure of biological cells and is involved in numerous biochemical processes. It […]

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Big oil’s next gusher is at the nanoscale

Last year the world consumed almost 97 million barrels of oil per day. What if I told you that many more barrels still remain in those same wells? Deep inside the rock, 60 percent and more of a reservoir’s oil remains trapped in capillaries which are sometimes only tens to hundreds of nanometers wide (For […]

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Publishing in Science: Predicting how molecules smell

Although the Roman philosopher Lucretius was right when he wrote that odors were caused by a flow of atoms emitted by objects, smell may still be the least understood of our five senses. While we use it every day, science has not fully understood how molecules produce an odor, or how to determine what they […]

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IBM 5 in 5: Smart Sensors will detect environmental pollution at the speed of light

Our team brings together a variety of disciplines including silicon photonics, spectroscopy, materials science and physical analytics to create new sensing technologies that can pinpoint and monitor the quality of our environment. Why? Because we believe that a multidisciplinary, collaborative approach is what’s necessary to help prevent pollution. And that’s also why we’re working with […]

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Imaging atoms on 2D atomic crystals in liquids

More than 35 years after IBM Nobel laureates Gerd Binnig and Heinrich Rohrer invented the scanning tunneling microscope (STM), IBM scientists in Zurich have achieved another breakthrough in the field of atom-by-atom imaging and metrology. But this time it’s in liquids. In collaboration with scientists from the University of Limerick, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, […]

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