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Category: Nanoscience and nanotechnology

Controlling how “odd couple” surfaces and liquids interact | MIT News
January 17, 2022

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 heat away in industrial processes. This characteristic has long been seen as a fixed property of a given pair of...

Clean room as classroom | MIT News
January 14, 2022

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 were part of 6.S059 (Nanotechnology —...

Overcoming a bottleneck in carbon dioxide conversion | MIT News
January 11, 2022

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 other emissions sources. Now, researchers at MIT have identified, quantified, and modeled a major...

Physicists detect a hybrid particle held together by uniquely intense “glue” | MIT News
January 11, 2022

In the particle world, sometimes two is better than one. Take, for instance, electron pairs. When two electrons are bound together, they can glide through a material without friction, giving the material special superconducting properties. Such paired electrons, or Cooper pairs, are a kind of hybrid particle — a composite of two particles that behaves as one, with properties that are greater than the sum of its...

Physicists detect a hybrid particle held together by uniquely intense “glue” | MIT News
January 10, 2022

In the particle world, sometimes two is better than one. Take, for instance, electron pairs. When two electrons are bound together, they can glide through a material without friction, giving the material special superconducting properties. Such paired electrons, or Cooper pairs, are a kind of hybrid particle — a composite of two particles that behaves as one, with properties that are greater than the sum of its...

Giving bug-like bots a boost | MIT News
December 16, 2021

When it comes to robots, bigger isn’t always better. Someday, a swarm of insect-sized robots might pollinate a field of crops or search for survivors amid the rubble of a collapsed building. MIT researchers have demonstrated diminutive drones that can zip around with bug-like agility and resilience, which could eventually perform these tasks. The soft actuators that propel these microrobots are very durable, but they...

From counting blood cells to motion capture, sensors drive patient-centered research | MIT News
December 16, 2021

Sensors and sensing systems — from devices that count white blood cells to technologies that monitor muscle coordination during rehabilitation — can positively impact medical research, scientists said at the 2021 SENSE.nano Symposium. The virtual event focused on how sensing technologies are enabling current medical studies and aiding translation of their findings to improve human health. Featuring leaders from...

Jelena Vučković delivers 2021 Dresselhaus Lecture on inverse-designed photonics | MIT News
December 7, 2021

As her topic for the 2021 Mildred S. Dresselhaus Lecture, Stanford University professor Jelena Vučković posed a question: Are computers better than humans in designing photonics? Throughout her talk, presented on Nov. 15 in a hybrid format to more than 500 attendees, the Jensen Huang Professor in Global Leadership at Stanford’s School of Engineering offered multiple examples arguing that, yes, computer...

Nanograins make for a seismic shift | MIT News
November 24, 2021

In Earth’s crust, tectonic blocks slide and grind past each other like enormous ships loosed from anchor. Earthquakes are generated along these fault zones when enough stress builds for a block to stick, then suddenly slip. These slips can be aided by several factors that reduce friction within a fault zone, such as hotter temperatures or pressurized gases that can separate blocks like pucks on an air-hockey table. The...

Getting quantum dots to stop blinking | MIT News
November 23, 2021

Quantum dots, discovered in the 1990s, have a wide range of applications and are perhaps best known for producing vivid colors in some high-end televisions. But for some potential uses, such as tracking biochemical pathways of a drug as it interacts with living cells, progress has been hampered by one seemingly uncontrollable characteristic: a tendency to blink off at random intervals. That doesn’t matter when the dots...

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