Tag: Materials science and engineering

MIT engineers 3D print the electromagnets at the heart of many electronics

Imagine being able to build an entire dialysis machine using nothing more than a 3D printer. This could not only reduce costs and eliminate manufacturing waste, but since this machine could be produced outside a factory, people with limited resources or those who live in remote areas may be able to access this medical device […]

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Nourishing the mind, hand, and stomach

As early as middle school, Branden Spitzer loved to watch cooking shows and experiment with recipes in his family’s kitchen. It was a clear harbinger of his interest in materials science, he says now. Once he discovered that he could delight others with a perfectly executed pie, he began to see the many ways that […]

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Researchers harness 2D magnetic materials for energy-efficient computing

Experimental computer memories and processors built from magnetic materials use far less energy than traditional silicon-based devices. Two-dimensional magnetic materials, composed of layers that are only a few atoms thick, have incredible properties that could allow magnetic-based devices to achieve unprecedented speed, efficiency, and scalability. While many hurdles must be overcome until these so-called van […]

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Electrons become fractions of themselves in graphene, study finds

The electron is the basic unit of electricity, as it carries a single negative charge. This is what we’re taught in high school physics, and it is overwhelmingly the case in most materials in nature. But in very special states of matter, electrons can splinter into fractions of their whole. This phenomenon, known as “fractional […]

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Using AI to discover stiff and tough microstructures

Every time you smoothly drive from point A to point B, you’re not just enjoying the convenience of your car, but also the sophisticated engineering that makes it safe and reliable. Beyond its comfort and protective features lies a lesser-known yet crucial aspect: the expertly optimized mechanical performance of microstructured materials. These materials, integral yet […]

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This ultrasound sticker senses changing stiffness of deep internal organs

MIT engineers have developed a small ultrasound sticker that can monitor the stiffness of organs deep inside the body. The sticker, about the size of a postage stamp, can be worn on the skin and is designed to pick up on signs of disease, such as liver and kidney failure and the progression of solid […]

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MIT students win national materials design competition

Two MIT undergrads recently took the top spot — and $2,000 in prize money to share — in the annual ASM Materials Education Foundation’s 2023 Undergraduate Design Competition. Louise Anderfaas and Darsh Grewal, students in Professor Gregory Olson’s class 3.041 (Computational Materials Design), worked with MIT postdoc mentor Margianna Tzini on the complex project. “This is probably the […]

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Technique could improve the sensitivity of quantum sensing devices

In quantum sensing, atomic-scale quantum systems are used to measure electromagnetic fields, as well as properties like rotation, acceleration, and distance, far more precisely than classical sensors can. The technology could enable devices that image the brain with unprecedented detail, for example, or air traffic control systems with precise positioning accuracy. As many real-world quantum […]

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MADMEC winner creates “temporary tattoos” for T-shirts

Have you ever gotten a free T-shirt at an event that you never wear? What about a music or sports-themed shirt you wear to one event and then lose interest in entirely? Such one-off T-shirts — and the waste and pollution associated with them — are an unfortunately common part of our society. But what […]

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Benchtop test quickly identifies extremely impact-resistant materials

An intricate, honeycomb-like structure of struts and beams could withstand a supersonic impact better than a solid slab of the same material. What’s more, the specific structure matters, with some being more resilient to impacts than others. That’s what MIT engineers are finding in experiments with microscopic metamaterials — materials that are intentionally printed, assembled, […]

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Researchers demonstrate rapid 3D printing with liquid metal

MIT researchers have developed an additive manufacturing technique that can print rapidly with liquid metal, producing large-scale parts like table legs and chair frames in a matter of minutes. Their technique, called liquid metal printing (LMP), involves depositing molten aluminum along a predefined path into a bed of tiny glass beads. The aluminum quickly hardens […]

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Stripes in a flowing liquid crystal suggest a route to “chiral” fluids

Hold your hands out in front of you, and no matter how you rotate them, it’s impossible to superimpose one over the other. Our hands are a perfect example of chirality — a geometric configuration by which an object cannot be superimposed onto its mirror image. Chirality is everywhere in nature, from our hands to […]

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Researchers 3D print components for a portable mass spectrometer

Mass spectrometers, devices that identify chemical substances, are widely used in applications like crime scene analysis, toxicology testing, and geological surveying. But these machines are bulky, expensive, and easy to damage, which limits where they can be effectively deployed. Using additive manufacturing, MIT researchers produced a mass filter, which is the core component of a […]

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Angela Belcher delivers 2023 Dresselhaus Lecture on evolving organisms for new nanomaterials

“How do we get to making nanomaterials that haven’t been evolved before?” asked Angela Belcher at the 2023 Mildred S. Dresselhaus Lecture at MIT on Nov. 20. “We can use elements that biology has already given us.” The combined in-person and virtual audience of over 300 was treated to a light-up, 3D model of M13 […]

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Scientists 3D print self-heating microfluidic devices

MIT researchers have used 3D printing to produce self-heating microfluidic devices, demonstrating a technique which could someday be used to rapidly create cheap, yet accurate, tools to detect a host of diseases. Microfluidics, miniaturized machines that manipulate fluids and facilitate chemical reactions, can be used to detect disease in tiny samples of blood or fluids. […]

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Breakerspace illuminates the mysteries of materials

Days before the opening of the Breakerspace, a new laboratory and lounge at MIT, actor and rapper Jaden Smith tried out the facility’s capabilities, putting his bracelet under a digital optical microscope. On the screen in front of him was a 3D rendering of woven threads, each strand made up of smaller strands, with specks […]

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Researchers safely integrate fragile 2D materials into devices

Two-dimensional materials, which are only a few atoms thick, can exhibit some incredible properties, such as the ability to carry electric charge extremely efficiently, which could boost the performance of next-generation electronic devices. But integrating 2D materials into devices and systems like computer chips is notoriously difficult. These ultrathin structures can be damaged by conventional […]

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MIT engineers develop a way to determine how the surfaces of materials behave

Designing new compounds or alloys whose surfaces can be used as catalysts in chemical reactions can be a complex process relying heavily on the intuition of experienced chemists. A team of researchers at MIT has devised a new approach using machine learning that removes the need for intuition and provides more detailed information than conventional […]

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Celebrating five years of MIT.nano

There is vast opportunity for nanoscale innovation to transform the world in positive ways — expressed MIT.nano Director Vladimir Bulović as he posed two questions to attendees at the start of the inaugural Nano Summit: “Where are we heading? And what is the next big thing we can develop?” “The answer to that puts into […]

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Team engineers nanoparticles using ion irradiation to advance clean energy and fuel conversion

MIT researchers and colleagues have demonstrated a way to precisely control the size, composition, and other properties of nanoparticles key to the reactions involved in a variety of clean energy and environmental technologies. They did so by leveraging ion irradiation, a technique in which beams of charged particles bombard a material. They went on to […]

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A green hydrogen innovation for clean energy

Renewable energy today — mainly derived from the sun or wind — depends on batteries for storage. While costs have dropped in recent years, the pursuit of more efficient means of storing renewable power continues. “All of these technologies, unfortunately, have a long way to go,” said Sossina Haile SB ’86, PhD ’92, the Walter […]

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Merging science and systems thinking to make materials more sustainable

For Professor Elsa Olivetti, tackling a problem as large and complex as climate change requires not only lab research but also understanding the systems of production that power the global economy. Her career path reflects a quest to investigate materials at scales ranging from the microscopic to the mass-manufactured. “I’ve always known what questions I […]

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This 3D printer can watch itself fabricate objects

With 3D inkjet printing systems, engineers can fabricate hybrid structures that have soft and rigid components, like robotic grippers that are strong enough to grasp heavy objects but soft enough to interact safely with humans. These multimaterial 3D printing systems utilize thousands of nozzles to deposit tiny droplets of resin, which are smoothed with a […]

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New laser setup probes metamaterial structures with ultrafast pulses

Metamaterials are products of engineering wizardry. They are made from everyday polymers, ceramics, and metals. And when constructed precisely at the microscale, in intricate architectures, these ordinary materials can take on extraordinary properties. With the help of computer simulations, engineers can play with any combination of microstructures to see how certain materials can transform, for […]

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Materials science and engineering career fair connects students with industry opportunities

Students in the MIT Department of Materials Science and Engineering (DMSE) got to mingle with potential employers interested in their specific skills this fall when the department held its first DMSE Career Fair. More than 20 companies, organizations, and laboratories set up booths in Walker Memorial on Oct. 20 while undergraduates and graduate students streamed […]

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MIT physicists turn pencil lead into “gold”

MIT physicists have metaphorically turned graphite, or pencil lead, into gold by isolating five ultrathin flakes stacked in a specific order. The resulting material can then be tuned to exhibit three important properties never before seen in natural graphite. “It is kind of like one-stop shopping,” says Long Ju, an assistant professor in the Department […]

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Physicists trap electrons in a 3D crystal for the first time

Electrons move through a conducting material like commuters at the height of Manhattan rush hour. The charged particles may jostle and bump against each other, but for the most part they’re unconcerned with other electrons as they hurtle forward, each with their own energy. But when a material’s electrons are trapped together, they can settle […]

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The Beaver visits Father Sky: Meet MIT’s First Nations Launch team

Earlier this year, MIT’s First Nations Launch team participated in the 2023 First Nations Launch, an international NASA-Artemis Student Challenge hosted by the Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium that focuses on Indigenous representation and science in aerospace engineering through rocketry. It was the first time MIT has ever competed in this challenge, now in its 15th […]

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Engineers develop an efficient process to make fuel from carbon dioxide

The search is on worldwide to find ways to extract carbon dioxide from the air or from power plant exhaust and then make it into something useful. One of the more promising ideas is to make it into a stable fuel that can replace fossil fuels in some applications. But most such conversion processes have […]

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Shape-shifting fiber can produce morphing fabrics

Instead of needing a coat for each season, imagine having a jacket that would dynamically change shape so it becomes more insulating to keep you warm as the temperature drops. A programmable, actuating fiber developed by an interdisciplinary team of MIT researchers could someday make this vision a reality. Known as FibeRobo, the fiber contracts […]

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Four from MIT awarded National Medals of Technology, Science

James Fujimoto ’79, SM ’81, PhD ’84, the Elihu Thomson Professor in Electrical Engineering and principal investigator in the Research Laboratory of Electronics (RLE), and Subra Suresh ScD ’81, former dean of the MIT School of Engineering, have been awarded the National Medal of Technology and Innovation and the National Medal of Science, respectively, the […]

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