Tag: Nanoscience and nanotechnology

Researchers unveil a secret of stronger metals

Forming metal into the shapes needed for various purposes can be done in many ways, including casting, machining, rolling, and forging. These processes affect the sizes and shapes of the tiny crystalline grains that make up the bulk metal, whether it be steel, aluminum or other widely used metals and alloys. Now researchers at MIT […]

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Connecting MIT students with women leading in semiconductors

Kim Vo ’98, SM ’99, a corporate vice president at Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), joined the semiconductor industry for three reasons. “First, it’s extremely cool technology; it’s cutting edge. The second is all the products we create: they touch everyone,” she recently said in a talk at MIT. “And the third reason is because just […]

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Researchers develop a paper-thin loudspeaker

MIT engineers have developed a paper-thin loudspeaker that can turn any surface into an active audio source. This thin-film loudspeaker produces sound with minimal distortion while using a fraction of the energy required by a traditional loudspeaker. The hand-sized loudspeaker the team demonstrated, which weighs about as much as a dime, can generate high-quality sound […]

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Providing hands-on photonics education across Massachusetts

Photonics — the science of guiding and manipulating light — enables applications ranging from telecommunications, artificial intelligence, and quantum computing to medical imaging, lidar, and augmented reality displays. But despite the importance of this growing field, the nation faces a shortage of photonics and electronics technicians and engineers. The Lab for Education and Application Prototypes […]

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MIT scientists develop low-cost, high-precision fabrication method for thin mirrors and silicon wafers

Technologies that depend on lightweight, high-precision optical systems, like space telescopes, X-ray mirrors, and display panels, have developed significantly over the past several decades, but more advanced progress has been limited by seemingly simple challenges. For example, the surfaces of mirrors and plates with microstructures that are necessary in these optical systems can be distorted […]

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MIT engineers introduce the Oreometer

When you twist open an Oreo cookie to get to the creamy center, you’re mimicking a standard test in rheology — the study of how a non-Newtonian material flows when twisted, pressed, or otherwise stressed. MIT engineers have now subjected the sandwich cookie to rigorous materials tests to get to the center of a tantalizing […]

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Engineers enlist AI to help scale up advanced solar cell manufacturing

Perovskites are a family of materials that are currently the leading contender to potentially replace today’s silicon-based solar photovoltaics. They hold the promise of panels that are far thinner and lighter, that could be made with ultra-high throughput at room temperature instead of at hundreds of degrees, and that are cheaper and easier to transport […]

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A new heat engine with no moving parts is as efficient as a steam turbine

Engineers at MIT and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have designed a heat engine with no moving parts. Their new demonstrations show that it converts heat to electricity with over 40 percent efficiency — a performance better than that of traditional steam turbines. The heat engine is a thermophotovoltaic (TPV) cell, similar to a […]

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MIT.nano Immersion Lab Gaming Program awards third annual seed grants

MIT.nano has announced its next round of seed grants to support hardware and software research related to sensors, 3D/4D interaction and analysis, augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR), and gaming. The grants are awarded through the MIT.nano Immersion Lab Gaming Program, a four-year collaboration between MIT.nano and NCSOFT, a digital entertainment company and founding member of […]

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MIT to name Building 12, home of MIT.nano, in honor of Lisa Su

Building 12, the home of MIT.nano, will soon be named in honor of Lisa T. Su ’90, SM ’91, PhD ’94, chief executive officer and chair of the Board of Directors of AMD. Su is the first MIT alumna to make a gift for a building that will bear her own name.  Lisa Su led […]

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Chemical reactions for the energy transition

One challenge in decarbonizing the energy system is knowing how to deal with new types of fuels. Traditional fuels such as natural gas and oil can be combined with other materials and then heated to high temperatures so they chemically react to produce other useful fuels or substances, or even energy to do work. But […]

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Featured video: L. Rafael Reif on the power of education

Play video MIT President L. Rafael Reif recently joined Raúl Rodríguez, associate vice president of internationalization at Tecnológico de Monterrey, for a wide-ranging fireside chat about the power of education and its impact in addressing global issues, even more so in a post pandemic world.  “When I was younger, my parents used to always tell me […]

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New program bolsters innovation in next-generation artificial intelligence hardware

The MIT AI Hardware Program is a new academia and industry collaboration aimed at defining and developing translational technologies in hardware and software for the AI and quantum age. A collaboration between the MIT School of Engineering and MIT Schwarzman College of Computing, involving the Microsystems Technologies Laboratories and programs and units in the college, […]

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Last-minute pivot leads to record-setting Microsystems Annual Research Conference

Graduate student co-chairs Jatin Patil and Kruthika Kikkeri had big plans for the 18th annual Microsystems Annual Research Conference (MARC) in January 2022: After last year’s all-virtual event, students, faculty, staff, and industry partners would again be able to gather in person to chart the future of microsystems and nanotechnology. Then the pandemic took another […]

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Physicists find direct evidence of strong electron correlation in a 2D material for the first time

In recent years, physicists have discovered materials that are able to switch their electrical character from a metal to an insulator, and even to a superconductor, which is a material in a friction-free state that allows electrons to flow with zero resistance. These materials, which include “magic-angle” graphene and other synthesized two-dimensional materials, can shift […]

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How to clean solar panels without water

Solar power is expected to reach 10 percent of global power generation by the year 2030, and much of that is likely to be located in desert areas, where sunlight is abundant. But the accumulation of dust on solar panels or mirrors is already a significant issue — it can reduce the output of photovoltaic […]

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Toward batteries that pack twice as much energy per pound

In the endless quest to pack more energy into batteries without increasing their weight or volume, one especially promising technology is the solid-state battery. In these batteries, the usual liquid electrolyte that carries charges back and forth between the electrodes is replaced with a solid electrolyte layer. Such batteries could potentially not only deliver twice […]

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Fostering research and mentorship in materials science

Rachel Myers was just 3 years old when her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Already a science-minded kid, watching her mom’s resilience in the face of the invasive treatments made her intimately familiar with the symptoms and side effects of cancer treatment. During a high school internship at the National Institutes of Health she […]

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Gina Raimondo: “Let’s get back to the business of building microchips in America”

The global semiconductor shortage, a major driver of ballooning U.S. inflation, is as much a national security issue as an economic issue, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo said during a recent visit to MIT. Speaking at MIT.nano, a shared 214,000-square-foot research center for nanoscale science and engineering located in the heart of campus, Raimondo […]

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New book celebrates trailblazing MIT physicist Mildred Dresselhaus

As a girl in New York City in the 1940s, Mildred “Millie” Dresselhaus was taught that there were only three career options open to women: secretary, nurse, or teacher. But sneaking into museums, purchasing three-cent copies of National Geographic, and devouring books on the history of science ignited in Dresselhaus a passion for inquiry.  In […]

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More sensitive X-ray imaging

Scintillators are materials that emit light when bombarded with high-energy particles or X-rays. In medical or dental X-ray systems, they convert incoming X-ray radiation into visible light that can then be captured using film or photosensors. They’re also used for night-vision systems and for research, such as in particle detectors or electron microscopes. Researchers at […]

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Size matters in particle treatments of traumatic injuries

Traumatic injuries are the leading cause of death in the U.S. among people 45 and under, and such injuries account for more than 3 million deaths per year worldwide. To reduce the death toll of such injuries, many researchers are working on injectable nanoparticles that can home in on the site of an internal injury […]

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Solar-powered system offers a route to inexpensive desalination

An estimated two-thirds of humanity is affected by shortages of water, and many such areas in the developing world also face a lack of dependable electricity. Widespread research efforts have thus focused on ways to desalinate seawater or brackish water using just solar heat. Many such efforts have run into problems with fouling of equipment […]

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New plant-derived composite is tough as bone and hard as aluminum

The strongest part of a tree lies not in its trunk or its sprawling roots, but in the walls of its microscopic cells. A single wood cell wall is constructed from fibers of cellulose ­— nature’s most abundant polymer, and the main structural component of all plants and algae. Within each fiber are reinforcing cellulose […]

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MIT.nano receives grant to acquire focused ion beam scanning electron microscope

The VELION FIB-SEM, a next-generation dual-beam nanofabrication platform located in MIT.nano, will become a permanent part of the facility’s characterization capabilities, thanks in part to a Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) award from the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF). A team of MIT researchers led by James LeBeau, the John Chipman Associate Professor of Materials Science […]

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New lightweight material is stronger than steel

Using a novel polymerization process, MIT chemical engineers have created a new material that is stronger than steel and as light as plastic, and can be easily manufactured in large quantities. The new material is a two-dimensional polymer that self-assembles into sheets, unlike all other polymers, which form one-dimensional, spaghetti-like chains. Until now, scientists had […]

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Making RNA vaccines easier to swallow

Like most vaccines, RNA vaccines have to be injected, which can be an obstacle for people who fear needles. Now, a team of MIT researchers has developed a way to deliver RNA in a capsule that can be swallowed, which they hope could help make people more receptive to them. In addition to making vaccines […]

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Reasserting U.S. leadership in microelectronics

The global semiconductor shortage has grabbed headlines and caused a cascade of production bottlenecks that have driven up prices on all sorts of consumer goods, from refrigerators to SUVs. The chip shortage has thrown into sharp relief the critical role semiconductors play in many aspects of everyday life. But years before the pandemic-induced shortage took […]

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Controlling how “odd couple” surfaces and liquids interact

The wettability of a surface — whether drops of water or another liquid bead up or spread out when they come into contact with it — is a crucial factor in a wide variety of commercial and industrial applications, such as how efficiently boilers and condensers work in power plants or how heat pipes funnel […]

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Clean room as classroom

MIT undergraduates are using labs at MIT.nano to tinker at the nanoscale, exploring spectrometry, nanomaterial synthesis, photovoltaics, sensor fabrication, and other topics. They’re also getting an experience not common at the undergraduate level — gowning up in a bunny suit and performing hands-on research inside a clean room. During the fall 2021 semester, these students […]

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Overcoming a bottleneck in carbon dioxide conversion

If researchers could find a way to chemically convert carbon dioxide into fuels or other products, they might make a major dent in greenhouse gas emissions. But many such processes that have seemed promising in the lab haven’t performed as expected in scaled-up formats that would be suitable for use with a power plant or […]

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