Thursday, 24 August 2017 14:47

Newsletter, August 2017

MIT Materials News that Matters
August 2017
Materials Processing Center at MIT
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139Youtube twitter google plusfacebook
617-253-517
Email:mpc@mit.edu

Frontiers in Materials Research 

On Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017, the Materials Processing Center will host the Materials Day Symposium & Research Review Poster Session. The symposium will be held at MIT in Kresge Theatre (Bldg. W16). Registration begins at 8:00 a.m. There is no fee to attend but registration is required.

AGENDA                        SPEAKERS                        LOCATION                    REGISTER

The theme of this years symposium is: 
Frontiers in Materials Research

Our invited speakers and their talks include:

  • Materials research: From vision to reality
    Dr. Julia Phillips
    Executive Emeritus, Sandia National Laboratories

  • Additive manufacturing across length scales
    Professor A. John Hart
    Department of Mechanical Engineering, MIT

  • Harnessing high temperature materials for extraction and processing
    Professor Antoine Allanore
    Department of Materials Science & Engineering, MIT

  • Quantum transport and optoelectronics with van der Waals Heterostructures
    Professor Pablo Jarillo-Herrero
    Department of Physics, MIT

  • Ceramic material design for energy storage, data transfer and sensing
    Professor Jennifer Rupp
    Department of Materials Science & Engineering, MIT

  • Electronic, optical and magnetic materials for probing and interrogation of neural function
    Professor Polina Anikeeva
    Department of Materials Science & Engineering. MIT

  • Optical phase change materials: The altering face of a chameleon
    Professor Juejun Hu
    Department of Materials Science & Engineering, MIT

Panel Discussion:

  • Professor Karen Gleason
    Associate Provost, Department of Chemical Engineering, MIT
     
  • Professor Vladimir Bulovic
    Director MIT.nano, Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science
     
  • Professor Timothy Swager
  • Director, Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation, Department of Chemistry
     
  • Professor Caroline Ross
    Associate Department Head in the Department of Materials Science & Engineering, MIT

For additional event information and registration visit our website at  mpc-www.mit.edu 

  _________________________________

Mucus' influence on bacterial behavior  
Summer Scholar Gaetana Michelet probes role mucus plays in protecting people from getting sick.

Many bacteria that could potentially make us sick normally live in us without doing so, in part because of the protective role that mucus plays in our bodies. MPC-CMSE Summer Scholar Gaetana Michelet is studying how complex materials like mucus influence bacterial behavior in the Biogel Lab of Katharina Ribbeck, the Eugene Bell Career Development Professor of Tissue Engineering, at MIT.

Michelet, a mechanical engineering student at the University of Puerto Rico, has been working with MIT Postdoctoral Associate Gerardo Cárcamo. "We are curious to understand how certain problematic pathogens can live on our body without causing infections. We try to understand the role of mucus in this process," Cárcamo says. Read more.

Simulating how polymers arrange dissolved ions 
MPC-CMSE Summer Scholar Kirill Shmilovich conducts computational studies to model how polymers alter the shapes that dissolved ions can form.

Crystals are often rock-hard matter like diamonds and gemstone quality minerals. But another group of crystals with similar repeating structures at the molecular level form teeth, bones and other natural living structures. It is in this realm that Alfredo Alexander-Katz, associate professor of materials science and engineering, analyzes the effect that adding polymers has on how these crystals arrange themselves in solution.

2017 MPC-CMSE Summer Scholar Kirill Shmilovich uses computer-based computational studies in Alexander-Katz's lab to model how these dissolved ions form into crystals under the influence of large, squishy polymers, which are positively or negatively charged, and to identify which polymers can help to make synthetic versions of desirable natural formations that are difficult to copy. Read more

Amorphous germanium for photonic applications
AIM Photonics Academy summer intern Ryan Kosciolek creates thin film samples and analyzes their optical, electrical, and material properties.

Active photonic devices, such as waveguides, can be used in lasers, modulators and sensors. AIM Photonics Academy summer intern Ryan Kosciolek is working under Dr. Anuradha Agarwal, MIT principal research scientist, to deposit thin films of amorphous germanium onto silicon to develop lower cost materials for these applications. 

"I am working on depositing amorphous germanium on various substrates and characterizing the optical, electrical, and material properties to evaluate its use for photonic applications," Kosciolek, a rising senior at Rutgers University, explains. Read more.

Modeling photonic device variations 

AIM Photonics Academy summer intern Stuart Daudlin simulates adding a heater to light-filtering ring resonator manufacturing.

Integrated photonic devices that use light rather than electricity to move and process data can increase speeds and reduce waste heat for computers and networks, but variations in ring resonators, waveguides and other light-filtering devices pose manufacturing challenges. AIM Photonics Academy summer intern Stuart Daudlin is running numerical simulations to identify ways to improve consistency in these photonic products.  

Working under graduate student Germain Martinez, in the lab of Duane Boning, the Clarence J. LeBel Professor of Electrical Engineering at MIT, Daudlin is simulating photonic device manufacturing using a special type of computer software, a finite difference time domain [FDTD] simulator. "My goals this summer are to vary the parameters of a ring resonator and define which parameters cause the most variations," Daudlin explains. Read more.

New oxide catalysts to cut air pollution 
Summer Scholar Luke Soule interns with MIT team developing new catalyst materials to reduce cancer-causing chemicals in the atmosphere.  

 

Air pollution leads to about 6.5 million deaths worldwide every year, including nearly 200,000 within the United States, MIT graduate student Karthik Akkiraju notes with alarm. MPC-CMSE Summer Scholar Luke Soule joined Akkiraju's efforts to develop new oxide catalysts to reduce air pollution in W.M. Keck Professor of Energy Yang Shao-Horn's lab.

"The main goal of my project was to develop a novel class of oxide catalysts to reduce noxious chemicals in the atmosphere known to cause cancer," says Soule, a rising senior at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology. "This involved trying to link electronic structure to the catalyst, to the selectivity, towards these volatiles."  Read more.

Glassy carbon, now with less heat 
Carbon nanotubes lower transformation temperature of glassy carbon, MIT researchers report.

MIT Postdoc Itai Y. Stein holds samples of cured phenolic resin, left, and glassy carbon, a charcoal-like block formed from baking phenol-formaldehyde polymer at high temperature.  Photo, Denis Paiste, Materials Processing CenterLast winter, MIT researchers discovered that a phenol-formaldehyde polymer that was transformed into a glassy carbon material in a process similar to baking reaches its best combination of higher strength and lower density at 1,000 degrees Celsius [1,832 degrees Fahrenheit]. Now, they have determined that by adding a small fraction of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) to this material, they can achieve a similar glassy transformation, but at a more industrially accessible temperature of 800 degrees Celsius. 

"What we're showing is that by adding carbon nanotubes, we reach this plateau region earlier," Stein says.  Read more

In Other News
Krystyn Van Vliet. Photo, Dominick Reuter
Engineer Krystyn Van Vliet begins 
transition to associate provost Sept. 1 
 

Van Vliet will take over the responsibilities of associate provost in two phases. She succeeds  Karen Gleason, who steps down in June 2018.   Read more.

When electrons travel  through a constricted opening in dense groups, they are much more likely bounce off each other than the walls, and travel quickly.  . Image, Jose-Luis Olivares, MIT  
Experiments confirm theory of          "superballistic" electron flow  

Behaving like particles in a viscous fluid can 
help bunches of electrons squeeze through a tight space.

 Read more

Upcoming Events   

Tata Center Symposium 2017, MIT Bldg. E52, 8am-6pm, Wed., and 8am-5pm, Thurs., Sept. 13-14, 2017. Open to MIT only.

MIT Industrial Liaison Program Innovations in Management, MIT Media Lab, Bldg. E14, 8am- 7pm, Wed., Sept. 27, and 8:30am-1:25pm, Thurs., Sept. 28, 2017.

Materials Day Symposium and Poster Session, Kresge Auditorium, MIT Building W16, Oct.11, 2017. Register.

Join the MPC Collegium

QR code for collegium webpage

  • Facilitation of on-campus meetings
  • Access to Collegium member-only briefing materials
  • Representation on the MPC External Advisory Board
  • Facilitation of customized student internships
  • Medium and long-term on-campus corporate staff visits
For more information, contact Mark Beals at 617-253-2129 or mbeals@mit.edu

About MPC

The goals of the Materials Processing Center are to unite the materials research community at MIT and to enhance Institute-industry interactions. Collaboration on research ventures, technology transfer, continuing education of industry personnel, and communication among industrial and governmental entities are our priorities. The MPC Industry Collegium is a major vehicle for this collaboration. The MPC sponsors seminars and workshops, as well as a summer internship for talented undergraduates from universities across the U.S. We encourage interdisciplinary research collaborations and provide funds management assistance to faculty.

MIT, Materials Processing Center
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139
617-253-5179
http://mpc-www.mit.edu

Email: mpc@mit.edu

Published in Newsletters

MIT researcher helps scientists and engineers hone their visual imagery. 

MIT cover NatMaterials Frankel Web
Felice Frankel, a research scientist in MIT’s Center for Materials Science and Engineering, has helped to produce images that just in the last few months have graced the covers of Nature, Nature Materials, and Environmental Science, among others. Image, Felice Frankel/Nature/Nature Materials

Producing images powerful enough to be selected for the covers of major research journals is nothing new for Felice Frankel: She’s being doing it for decades with great success. But now, she’s extending that approach, using a growing arsenal of visual tools and techniques as she works with scientists and engineers to develop imagery that illustrates their concepts.

Frankel, a research scientist in MIT’s Center for Materials Science and Engineering, has helped to produce images that in the last few months have graced the covers of Nature, Nature Materials, and Environmental Science, among others. Some of her work is also featured in the exhibit “Images of Discovery: Communicating science through photography,” running at the MIT Museum through this August.

Frankel started her career in science and then turned to photographing architecture and landscapes, publishing a few books along the way. She started working with MIT scientists to improve their visual communications back in the ’90s. She’s been expanding her work ever since, both developing new ways of communicating ideas visually and teaching techniques for doing so.

Her latest work has involved combining a variety of photographic images into photo-illustrations that help to explain a process better than individual photos could. The latest journal covers have been examples of this approach. “I take pieces of photos I’ve already made and put them together as an illustration,” she says.

Read more at the MIT News Office.

David L. Chandler | MIT News Office
July 13, 2017

Published in Newsletter Articles
Saturday, 29 July 2017 16:20

Newsletter, July 2017

MIT Materials News that Matters
July 2017
Materials Processing Center at MIT
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139Youtube twitter google plusfacebook
617-253-517
Email:mpc@mit.edu
Materials Day

Frontiers in Materials Research 

Symposium and Poster Session
October 11, 2017
Kresge Auditorium

Save the Date! 

Prototyping a pump for brain treatment

Summer Scholar Alejandro Aponte troubleshoots the design for a pump that can deliver drugs to the brain.

University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez mechanical engineering major Alejandro Aponte is interning in the lab of Michael J. Cima, David H. Koch Professor of Engineering, at MIT, where he is working on the design of a pump to deliver drugs to the brain.

While Aponte has worked before developing different types of instrumentation, this is his first time working with biological-related research, he says. This pump prototype is attached to a needle through which medicine can flow for drug delivery.

Read more.

Improving flow battery electrodes

Summer Scholar Alexandra Oliveira contributes to work on redox flow batteries in Brushett Lab.

Improving flow battery electrodesRenewable energy technologies such as wind and solar are unpredictable and intermittent, creating a need for batteries to store electricity until it is needed, notes MIT Postdoctoral Associate Antoni Forner-Cuenca. Yet cost-effective technologies have been limited to date.

 2017 MPC-CMSE Alexandra Oliveira is working under Forner-Cuenca in the research group of Fikile R. Brushett, the Raymond A. (1921) and Helen E. St. Laurent Career Development Professor of Chemical Engineering at MIT to improve the chemistry of porous carbon electrodes in one particular type of battery known as a redox flow battery.

Read more.

Developing rapid cancer nano sensors

Summer Scholar Kaila Holloway experiments with tiny chemical sensors that can indicate tumor changes.

Developing rapid cancer nano sensors Chemicals like nitric oxide and hydrogen peroxide can promote cancer growth. MPC-CMSE Summer Scholar Kaila Holloway is working in the lab of Michael S. Strano, Carbon P. Dubbs Professor in Chemical Engineering at MIT, to develop tiny chemical sensors to detect their concentrations near tumors in the body. 

"I'm actually making nitric oxide and hydrogen peroxide sensors, so it's basically DNA-wrapped single-walled carbon nanotubes," Holloway, a rising senior at Howard University, explains. "I'm going to be detecting hydrogen peroxide and nitric oxide in different cells." In the lab, she synthesizes two different types of DNA.One type of DNA, ds(AT)15, works to detect nitric oxide in the cells, while another type of DNA, ds(GT)15, works to works to detect hydrogen peroxide in the cells.

Read more.

Investigating the self-healing properties of biological gels

Summer Scholar Lucia Brunel interns under Profs. McKinley and Ribbeck to understand the self-healing properties of mucus and other biological gels.


Brunel.

Biological gels such as mucus and saliva serve many important roles in the body, from acting as barriers to infection to lubricating the eyes and oral cavity. 2017 MPC-CMSE Summer Scholar Lucia Brunel is working on a joint project under Professors Gareth McKinley and Katharina Ribbeck.

"My project is to investigate the unique self-healing capability that some biological gels have, so I've been learning a lot about how to characterize the properties of these biological gels as they heal after damage or deformation," says Brunel, a rising senior at Northwestern University.

Read more.

Summer Academy gives intensive introduction to photonics

Close to 60 joined Fundamentals of Integrated Photonics sessions at MIT.

Close to 60 attendees learned about foundational principles of device and circuit design_ integrated process flow and manufacturing control during the AIM Photonics Summer Academy July 24-28_ 2017_ at MIT.  Photo_ Denis Paiste_ Materials Processing CenterIntegrated photonics is an emerging branch of photonics in which complex photonic circuits process and transmit light signals in ways similar to the computer microchip.

AIM Photonics Academy, an initiative of the AIM Photonics Institute (Manufacturing USA), hosted a week-long Summer Academy program in July 24-28, 2017, on the Fundamentals of Integrated Photonics at MIT.  Close to 60 attendees learned about foundational principles of device and circuit design, integrated process flow and manufacturing control.

Read more

In Other News

Felice Frankel: Creating images to explain science concepts

MIT researcher helps scientists and engineers hone their visual imagery.

Felice Frankel_ a research scientist in MIT_s Center for Materials Science and Engineering_ has helped to produce images that just in the last few months have graced the covers of Nature_ Nature Materials_ and Environmental Science_ among others.
Images, Felice Frankel, Nature, Nature Materials.

Producing images powerful enough to be selected for the covers of major research journals is nothing new for Felice Frankel: She's being doing it for decades with great success. But now, she's extending that approach, using a growing arsenal of visual tools and techniques as she works with scientists and engineers to develop imagery that illustrates their concepts.

Frankel, a research scientist in MIT's Center for Materials Science and Engineering, has helped to produce images that in the last few months have graced the covers of Nature, Nature Materials, and Environmental Science, among others. Some of her work is also featured in the exhibit "Images of Discovery: Communicating science through photography," running at the MIT Museum through this August.

Read more.

Upcoming Events   

MADMEC semifinals, MIT Bldg. 4-270, 5-6pm, Thurs., Aug. 24, 2017.

Tata Center Symposium 2017, MIT Bldg. E52, 8am-6pm, Wed., and 8am-5pm, Thurs., Sept. 13-14, 2017. Open to MIT only.

MIT Industrial Liaison Program Innovations in Management, MIT Media Lab, Bldg. E14, 8am- 7pm, Wed., Sept. 27, and 8:30am-1:25pm, Thurs., Sept. 28, 2017.

Materials Day Symposium and Poster Session, Kresge Auditorium, MIT Building W16, Oct.11, 2017. SAVE THE DATE.

Join the MPC Collegium

QR code for collegium webpage

  • Facilitation of on-campus meetings
  • Access to Collegium member-only briefing materials
  • Representation on the MPC External Advisory Board
  • Facilitation of customized student internships
  • Medium and long-term on-campus corporate staff visits

For more information, contact Mark Beals at 617-253-2129 or mbeals@mit.edu

About MPC

The goals of the Materials Processing Center are to unite the materials research community at MIT and to enhance Institute-industry interactions. Collaboration on research ventures, technology transfer, continuing education of industry personnel, and communication among industrial and governmental entities are our priorities. The MPC Industry Collegium is a major vehicle for this collaboration. The MPC sponsors seminars and workshops, as well as a summer internship for talented undergraduates from universities across the U.S. We encourage interdisciplinary research collaborations and provide funds management assistance to faculty.

MIT, Materials Processing Center
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139
617-253-5179
http://mpc-www.mit.edu

Email: mpc@mit.edu

Published in Newsletters

First “center of excellence” for new MIT.nano facility will focus on novel detectors and imaging systems.

MIT SenseNano 02 Spencer Web
A discussion featured some of the speakers from the day-long SENSE.nano conference: [left to right] Juejun Hu, associate professor of materials science and engineering; Polina Anikeeva, associate professor of materials science and engineering; Max Shulaker, assistant professor of electrical engineering and computer science; Brian Anthony, principal research scientist in mechanical engineering and co-leader of SENSE.nano; and Vladimir Bulovic, associate dean for engineering and professor of emerging technology. Photo, Michael D. Spencer.

In anticipation of the official opening of the new MIT.nano building — which will house some of the world’s leading facilities supporting research in nanoscience and nanotechnology — MIT officially launched a new “center of excellence” called SENSE.nano, which is dedicated to pushing the frontiers of research in sensing technologies.

Like the new building, which is slated to open a year from now, SENSE.nano is an endeavor that cuts across the divisions of departments, labs, and schools, to encompass research in areas including chemistry, physics, materials science, electronics, computer science, biology, mechanical engineering, and more. Faculty members from many of these areas spoke about their research during a daylong conference on May 25 that marked the official launch of the new center.

Introducing the event, MIT President L. Rafael Reif said that “[MIT.nano] will create opportunities for research and collaboration for more than half our current faculty, and 67 percent of those recently tenured. In fact, we expect that it will serve — and serve to inspire – more than 2,000 people across our campus, from all five MIT schools, and many more from beyond our walls.”

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Read more at the MIT News Office.

David L. Chandler | MIT News Office
June 1, 2017

Published in Newsletter Articles

New center for development of high-tech fibers and fabrics opens headquarters, unveils two products ready for commercialization.

MIT AFFOA Web
Marty Ellis, of Inman Mills in South Carolina, checks a machine manufacturing fabric developed through AFFOA. Photo, courtesy of AFFOA.

Just over a year after its funding award, a new center for the development and commercialization of advanced fabrics officially opened its headquarters June 19 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and will be unveiling the first two advanced fabric products to be commercialized from the center’s work.

Advanced Functional Fabrics of America (AFFOA) is a public-private partnership, part of Manufacturing USA, that is working to develop and introduce U.S.-made high-tech fabrics that provide services such as health monitoring, communications, and dynamic design. In the process, AFFOA aims to facilitate economic growth through U.S. fiber and fabric manufacturing.

AFFOA’s national headquarters will open today, with an event featuring Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics James MacStravic, U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas, U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, New Balance CEO Robert DeMartini, MIT President L. Rafael Reif, and AFFOA CEO Yoel Fink. Sample versions of one of the center’s new products, a programmable backpack made of advanced fabric produced in North and South Carolina, will be distributed to attendees at the opening.

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Read more at the MIT News Office.

David L. Chandler | MIT News Office
June 19, 2017

Published in Newsletter Articles

Head of Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science will succeed Ian Waitz.

MIT Chandrakasan SoE Press Web
Anantha P. Chandrakasan. Photo, Patsy Sampson.

Anantha P. Chandrakasan, the Vannevar Bush Professor and head of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS), has been named dean of MIT’s School of Engineering, effective July 1. He will succeed Ian A. Waitz, the Jerome C. Hunsaker Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics, who will become MIT’s vice chancellor.

During his six-year tenure as head of MIT’s largest academic department, Chandrakasan spearheaded a number of initiatives that opened opportunities for students, postdocs, and faculty to conduct research, explore entrepreneurial projects, and engage with EECS.

“Anantha balances his intellectual creativity and infectious energy with a remarkable ability to deeply listen to, learn from, and integrate other people’s views into a compelling vision,” MIT President L. Rafael Reif says. “In a time of significant challenges, from new pressures on federal funding to the rising global competition for top engineering talent, I am confident that Anantha will guide the School of Engineering to maintain and enhance its position of leadership. And I believe that in the process he will help make all of MIT stronger, too.”

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Read more at the MIT News Office.

MIT News Office
June 23, 2017

Published in Newsletter Articles
Sunday, 25 June 2017 22:25

Summer interns' lab work underway

MPC-CMSE Summer Scholars tackling projects from magnetic thin films to catalysts for energy. 

Summer Scholars co-sponsored by the Materials Processing Center and the Center for Materials Science and Engineering recently settled on their research projects and lab assignments. Summer Scholars faced a difficult decision to choose a lab after hearing enticing faculty presentations and lab tours.

Luke Soule found all the possible projects interesting but honed in on electrochemistry, choosing to work in the Prof. Yang Shao-Horn’s Electrochemical Energy Lab. During a tour of the lab, graduate student Karthik Akkiraju presented several research projects on the role of catalysts in lowering the energy needed to stimulate electrochemical reactions in energy devices. Akkiraju said Shao-Horn looks for students who are excited about the work and encourages students to be independent and to work together as a community. He emphasized the family-like atmosphere of the group. “At EEL, you never work alone,” Akkiraju says.

In Assistant Professor Luqiao Liu’s lab, electrical engineering and computer science graduate student Joseph T. Finley explained how he uses processes such as electron sputtering and ion milling to make magnetic thin films. The lab is developing new magnetically switchable materials for computer memory. Shortly after the lab tour, Summer Scholar Stephanie Bauman said, “I really like the one we just left, the anti-ferromagnetic, it seems to be mostly focused toward physics which is my major and more so than a lot of the other bio or chem projects.” Bauman chose to work in Liu’s lab this summer.

Alexandra Oliveira chose to work under Raymond A. [1921] and Helen E. St. Laurent Career Development Professor of Chemical Engineering Fikile R. Brushett on redox flow batteries. ‘”Right now I’m working on the permeability of different microstructures for carbon electrodes and I’ll be attempting to electrograft molecules onto the electrodes to change their chemical properties for aqueous and non-aqueous flow batteries,” Oliveira says.

Summer Scholar Grace Noel chose to work in Charles and Hilda Roddey Career Development Professor in Chemical Engineering William A. Tisdale’s lab on a project to make and study metal halide perovskite nanoplatelets. These platelets, which are like flat quantum dots, are sometimes just over half a unit cell in thickness and their color can be adjusted by altering their composition.

Summer Scholar Richard B. [Ben] Canty is working in Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering Yuriy Román’s lab on a project to develop a catalyst for breaking down lignins in plant biomass into industrially useful chemicals like benzene. “I’m mixing in stuff in a tiny little batch reactor, putting it on a heater on a shelf, watching it so it doesn’t explode, centrifuging it and then running it on gas chromatographs and mass spectrometers,” Canty explains.

During the lab tour, NanoStructures Laboratory postdoc Reza Baghdadi explained how Prof. Karl Berggren aims to develop superconducting nanowires made of niobium nitride for reducing data processing energy consumption. The internship offers a chance to learn different fabrication skills, such as photolithography and electron beam lithography, thin film deposition and etching processes, with optical and electrical studies at liquid helium temperatures, about 4.2 kelvins. Summer Scholar Saleem Iqbal chose to work in the Berggren lab this summer.

AIM Photonics Academy interns were matched separately to their projects. Stuart Daudlin is working on “Statistical Modeling of Photonic Device Variations” with Duane Boning, the Clarence J. LeBel Professor of Electrical Engineering at MIT. Ryan Kosciolek is working on “Nonlinear Photonic Devices” with MIT Microphotonics Center Principal Research Scientist Anuradha [Anu] Agarwal. Summer Scholars attend regular weekly or bi-weekly lab group meetings. Larger groups have dedicated sub-groups as well that meet regularly.

The REU internships are supported in part by NSF’s Materials Research Science and Engineering Centers program [grant DMR-14-19807]. Participants will present their results at a poster session the last week of the program. The program runs from June 15, 2017, to August 5, 2017, on the MIT campus in Cambridge, Mass.

Summer Scholar Faculty Lab
Alejandro Aponte Michael Cima
Stephanie Bauman Luqiao Liu
Lucia Brunel Gareth McKinley
Richard B. Canty Yuriy Román
Stuart Daudlin Duane Boning
Amrita Duggal Paula Hammond
Kaila Holloway Michael Strano
Saleem Iqbal Karl Berggren
Ryan Kosciolek Anuradha Agarwal
Gaetana Michelet Katharina Ribbeck
Grace Noel William Tisdale
Alexandra Oliveira Fikile Brushett 
Kirill Shmilovich Alfredo Alexander-Katz
Luke Soule  Yang Shao-Horn

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- Written by Denis Paiste, Materials Processing Center

 

Published in Newsletter Articles

University of Massachusetts, Amherst, chemical engineering major Ashley L. Kaiser will return to MIT this coming fall as a graduate student in materials science and engineering. She will join Professor Brian Wardle's research group, where she worked during summer 2016 on strengthening aerospace nanocomposites with postdoc Itai Stein SM ’13, PhD ’16. Kaiser, who was accepted to five graduate schools, was one of six to win UMass Amherst’s Rising Researcher award. Her Commonwealth Honors College thesis project focused on “Low-Temperature Graphene Growth by Plasma-Enhanced Chemical Vapor Deposition.”

Alexandra T. Barth received a “Most Outstanding Senior” award from Florida State University, where she was part of the Honors Program. Barth will pursue a PhD in Chemistry at the California Institute of Technology. She will start as a research assistant in the fall under Dr. Theo Agapie, synthesizing metal oxide clusters and arene-supported complexes that act as chemical catalysts. “My internship last summer was vital in introducing me and providing a foundational knowledge of catalyst research, which was very different from the undergraduate research I had conducted at my own institution, and I am confident that the relationship I established with my MIT research advisor Dr. Román enabled this opportunity,” Barth says.

Grant Smith, will begin doctoral studies at the University of Chicago Institute for Molecular Engineering as an IME Fellow working on quantum information systems and materials. Smith worked last summer to establish parameters for making ferromagnetic thin films in the Luqiao Liu lab.

Justin Cheng will enroll this fall in the University of Minnesota Twin Cities Chemical Engineering and Materials Science Ph.D. program. During summer 2016, Cheng worked in Professor of Electrical Engineering Karl K. Berggren’s Quantum Nanostructures and Nanofabrication Group to develop specialized techniques for patterning gold on silicon.

 

 

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Published in Newsletter Articles
Tuesday, 13 June 2017 11:26

A new way of extracting copper

Allanore lab develops electrically-driven process to separate commercially important metals from sulfide minerals in one step without harmful byproducts.

Sahu Chmielowiec 8462 DP Web
MIT postdoc Sulata K. Sahu [left] and graduate student Brian Chmielowiec hold a sample of nearly pure copper deposited on an iron electrode after extraction through chemical electrolysis from an electrolyte composition of 70 percent barium sulfide and 30 percent copper sulfide. Photo, Denis Paiste, Materials Processing Center.

MIT researchers have identified the proper temperature and chemical mixture to selectively separate pure copper and other metallic trace elements from sulfur-based minerals using molten electrolysis. This one-step, environmentally friendly process simplifies metal production and eliminates the toxic byproducts such as sulfur dioxide.

Postdoc Sulata K. Sahu and Ph.D. student Brian J. Chmielowiec SB, ’12 decomposed sulfur-rich minerals into pure sulfur and extracted three different metals at very high purity – copper, molybdenum and rhenium. They also quantified the amount of energy needed to run the extraction process.

An electrolysis cell is a closed circuit, like a battery, but instead of producing electrical energy, it consumes electrical energy to break apart compounds into their elements, for example, splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen. Such electrolytic processes are the primary method of aluminum production and are used as the final step to remove impurities in copper production. Contrary to aluminum, however, there are no direct electrolytic decomposition processes for copper-containing sulfide minerals to produce liquid copper.

The MIT researchers found a promising method of forming liquid copper metal and sulfur gas in their cell from an electrolyte composed of barium sulfide, lanthanum sulfide, and copper sulfide, which yields greater than 99.9 percent pure copper. This purity is equivalent to the best current copper production methods. Their results are published in an Electrochimica Acta paper with senior author Antoine Allanore, Assistant Professor of Metallurgy. [Allanore becomes Associate Professor as of July 1, 2017.]

One-step process

 “It is a one-step process, directly just decompose the sulfide to copper and sulfur. Other previous methods are multiple steps,” Sahu explains. “By adopting this process, we are aiming to reduce the cost.”

Copper is in increasing demand for electric vehicles, solar energy, consumer electronics and other energy efficiency targets. Most current copper extraction processes burn sulfide minerals in air, which produces sulfur dioxide, a harmful air pollutant that has to be captured and reprocessed, but the new method produces elemental sulfur, which can be safely reused, for example, in fertilizers. The researchers also used electrolysis to produce rhenium and molybdenum, which are often found in copper sulfides at very small levels.

The new work builds on a 2016 Journal of The Electrochemical Society paper offering proof of electrolytic extraction of copper authored by Samira Sokhanvaran, Sang-Kwon Lee, Guillaume Lambotte, and Allanore. They showed that addition of barium sulfide to a copper sulfide melt suppressed copper sulfide’s electrical conductivity enough to extract a small amount of pure copper from the high-temperature electrochemical cell operating at 1,105 degrees Celsius [2,021 Fahrenheit]. Sokhanvaran is now a research scientist at Natural Resources Canada-Canmet Mining; Lee is a senior researcher at Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute; and Lambotte is now a senior research engineer at Boston Electrometallurgical Corp.

“This paper was the first one to show that you can use a mixture where presumably electronic conductivity dominates conduction, but there is not actually 100 percent. There is a tiny fraction that is ionic, which is good enough to make copper,” Allanore explains.

“The new paper shows that we can go further than that and almost make it fully ionic, that is reduce the share of electronic conductivity and therefore increase the efficiency to make metal,” Allanore says.

Copper Extract Sample Penny 8610 DPaiste Web
A new penny, at left, contrasts with samples of nearly pure copper deposited on an iron electrode after extraction through an electrochemical process from an electrolyte composed of 70 percent barium sulfide and 30 percent copper sulfide. Photo, Denis Paiste, Materials Processing Center.

These sulfide minerals are compounds where the metal and the sulfur elements share electrons. In their molten state, copper ions are missing one electron, giving them a positive charge, while sulfur ions are carrying two extra electrons, giving them a negative charge. The desired reaction in an electrolysis cell is to form elemental atoms, by adding electrons to metals such as copper, and taking away electrons from sulfur. This happens when extra electrons are introduced to the system by the applied voltage. The metal ions are reacting at the cathode [a negatively charged electrode] where they gain electrons [reduction] while the negatively charged sulfur ions are reacting at the anode [a positively charged electrode], where they give up electrons [oxidation].

In a cell that used only copper sulfide, for example, because of its high electronic conductivity, the extra electrons would simply flow through the electrolyte without interacting with the individual ions of copper and sulfur at the electrodes and no separation would occur. The Allanore group researchers successfully identified other sulfide compounds that, when added to copper sulfide, change the behavior of the melt so that the ions, rather than electrons, become the primary charge carriers through the system and thus enable the desired chemical reactions. Technically speaking, the additives raise the bandgap of the copper sulfide so it is no longer electronically conductive, Chmielowiec explains. The fraction of the electrons engaging in the oxidation and reduction reactions, measured as a percentage of the total current, that is the total electron flow, in the cell, is called its faradaic efficiency.

Doubling efficiency

The new work doubles the efficiency for electrolytic extraction of copper reported in the first paper, which was 28 percent with an electrolyte where only barium sulfide added to the copper sulfide, to 59 percent in the second paper with both lanthanum sulfide and barium sulfide added to the copper sulfide.

“Demonstrating that we can perform faradaic reactions in a liquid metal sulfide is novel and can open the door to study many different systems,” Chmielowiec says. “It works for more than just copper. We were able to make rhenium, and we were able to make molybdenum.” Rhenium and molybdenum are industrially important metals finding use in jet airplane engines, for example. The Allanore laboratory also used molten electrolysis to produce zinc, tin and silver, but lead, nickel and other metals are possible, he suggests.

The amount of energy required to run the separation process in an electrolysis cell is proportional to the faradaic efficiency and the cell voltage. For water, which was one of the first compounds to be separated by electrolysis, the minimum cell voltage, or decomposition energy, is 1.23 volts. Sahu and Chmielowiec identified the cell voltages in their cell as 0.06 volts for rhenium sulfide, 0.33 volts for molybdenum sulfide and 0.45 volts for copper sulfide. “For most of our reactions, we apply 0.5 or 0.6 volts, so that the three sulfides are together reduced to metallic, rhenium, molybdenum and copper,” Sahu explains. At the cell operating temperature and at an applied potential of 0.5 to 0.6 volts, the system prefers to decompose those metals because the energy required to decompose both lanthanum sulfide [about 1.7 volts] and barium sulfide [about 1.9 volts] is comparatively much higher. Separate experiments also proved the ability to selectively reduce rhenium or molybdenum without reducing copper, based on their differing decomposition energies.

Industrial potential

Important strategic and commodity metals including, copper, zinc, lead, rhenium and molybdenum are typically found in sulfide ores and less commonly in oxide-based ores, as is the case for aluminum. “What’s typically done is you burn those in air to remove the sulfur, but by doing that you make SO2 [sulfur dioxide], and nobody is allowed to release that directly to air, so they have to capture it somehow. There are a lot of capital costs associated with capturing SO2 and converting it to sulfuric acid,” Chmielowiec explains. 

Molten Sulfide Electrolysis Cell Allanore BJC 06122017
The desired reaction in an electrolysis cell is to decompose a chemical compound into its constituent elements [shown here as S for sulfur and M for metals], by adding electrons to metallic ions such as copper, and removing electrons from sulfur ions. This happens when extra electrons [designated e–] are added through an applied voltage. MIT researchers have identified the proper temperature and chemical mixture to separate copper, rhenium and molybdenum from sulfur-based minerals using molten electrolysis. Illustration, Brian J. Chmielowiec.

The closest industrial process to the electrolytic copper extraction they hope to see is aluminum production by an electrolytic process known as Hall-Héroult process, which produces a pool of molten aluminum metal that can be continuously tapped. “The ideal is to run a continuous process,” Chmielowiec says. “So, in our case, you would maintain a constant level of liquid copper and then periodically tap that out of the electrolysis cell. A lot of engineering has gone into that for the aluminum industry, so we would hopefully piggyback off of that.”

Sahu and Chmielowiec conducted their experiments at 1,227 degrees Celsius [2,240 Fahrenheit], about 150 degrees Celsius above the melting point of copper. It is the temperature commonly used in industry for copper extraction.

Further improvements

Aluminum electrolysis systems run at 95 percent faradaic efficiency, so there is room for improvement from the researchers’ reported 59 percent efficiency. To improve their cell efficiency, Sahu says, they may need to modify the cell design to recover a larger amount of liquid copper. The electrolyte can also be further tuned, adding sulfides other than barium sulfide and lanthanum sulfide. “There is no one single solution that will let us do that. It will be an optimization to move it up to larger scale,” Chmielowiec says. That work continues.

Sahu, 34, received her Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Madras, in India. Chmielowiec, 27, a second-year doctoral student and a Salapatas Fellow in materials science and engineering, received his S.B. in chemical engineering at MIT in 2012 and an M.S. in chemical engineering from California Institute of Technology in 2014.

The work fits into the Allanore Group’s work on high-temperature molten materials, including recent breakthroughs in developing new formulas to predict semiconductivity in molten compounds and demonstrating a molten thermoelectric cell to produce electricity from industrial waste heat. The Allanore Group is seeking a patent on certain aspects of the extraction process.

Novel and significant work

“Using intelligent design of the process chemistry, these researchers have developed a very novel route for producing copper,” says Rohan Akolkar, the F. Alex Nason Associate Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Case Western Reserve University, who was not involved in this work. “The researchers have engineered a process that has many of the key ingredients – it's a cleaner, scalable and simpler one-step process for producing copper from sulfide ore.”

“Technologically, the authors appreciate the need to make the process more efficient while preserving the intrinsic purity of the copper produced,” says Akolkar, who visited the Allanore lab late last year. “If the technology is developed further and its techno-economics look favorable, then it may provide a potential pathway for simpler and cleaner production of copper metal, which is important to many applications.” Akolkar notes that “the quality of this work is excellent. The Allanore research group at MIT is at the forefront when it comes to advancing molten salt electrolysis research.”

University of Rochester Professor of Chemical Engineering Jacob Jorné says that “Current extraction processes involve multiple steps and require high capital investment, thus costly improvements are prohibited. Direct electrolysis of the metal sulfide ores is also advantageous as it eliminates the formation of sulfur dioxide, an acid rain pollutant. “

“The electrochemistry and thermodynamics in molten salts are quite different than in aqueous [water-based] systems and the research of Allanore and his group demonstrates that a lot of good chemistry has been ignored in the past due to our slavish devotion to water,” Jorné suggests. “Direct electrolysis of metal ores opens the way to a metallurgical renaissance where new discoveries and processes can be implemented and can modernize the aging extraction industry and improve its energy efficiency. The new approach can be applied to other metals of high strategic importance such as the rare earth metals.”

This work was supported by Norco Conservation and the Office of Naval Research [contract N00014-12-1-0521].

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– Denis Paiste, Materials Processing Center

Related
Finding the Right Chemical Combination for Copper Extraction
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Published in Newsletter Articles
Tuesday, 13 June 2017 11:20

Newsletter, June 2017

MIT Materials News that Matters
June 2017
Materials Processing Center at MIT
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A new way of extracting copper

Allanore lab develops electrically-driven process to separate commercially important metals from sulfide minerals in one step without harmful byproducts.

MIT researchers identified the proper temperature and chemicalMIT postdoc Sulata K. Sahu [left] and graduate student Brian Chmielowiec hold a sample of nearly pure copper deposited on an iron electrode after extraction through chemical electrolysis. mixture to selectively separate pure copper and other metallic trace elements from sulfur-based minerals using molten electrolysis.Working under Antoine Allanore, who becomes Associate Professor of Metallurgy as of July 1, Postdoc Sulata K. Sahu and graduate student Brian J. Chmielowiec [SB, '12] decomposed sulfur-rich minerals into pure sulfur and extracted three different metals at very high purity - copper, molybdenum and rhenium.   Read more
Summer interns' work underway
MPC-CMSE Summer Scholars tackling projects from magnetic thin films to catalysts for energy. 

Chemical engineering postdoc Antoni Forner Cuenca [far right] explains work in the Brushett Lab on advanced flow batteries for grid-level energy storage.

Summer Scholars co-sponsored by the Materials Processing Center and the Center for Materials Science and Engineering recently settled on their research projects and lab assignments. Luke Soule found all the possible projects interesting but honed in on electrochemistry, choosing to work in the Prof. Yang Shao-Horn's Electrochemical Energy Lab.

In photo at right, chemical engineering postdoc Antoni Forner-Cuenca [far right] explains work in the Brushett Lab on advanced flow batteries for grid-level energy storage. 

Read more.

2016 Summer Scholars win admission to top grad schools

2016 Summer Scholars win admission to top grad schools, clockwise from top left, Justin Cheng, Alexandra Barth, Grant Smith, Ashley Kaiser. University of Massachusetts, Amherst, chemical engineering major Ashley L. Kaiser will return to MIT this coming fall as a graduate student in materials science and engineering. She will join Professor Brian Wardle's research group.

Other 2016 Summer Scholars will go on to California Institute of Technology, University of Minnesota Twin Cities and the University of Chicago.

In photo at right, are, clockwise from top left, Justin Cheng, Alexandra Barth, Grant Smith and Kaiser.  Read more.

In Other News

Anantha P. Chandrakasan.  Photo, Patsy SampsonChandrakasan named  engineering dean

 Succeeds Ian A. Waitz, the    Jerome C. Hunsaker Professor  of Aeronautics and  Astronautics, effective July  1. 
 
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A discussion featured some of the speakers from the day-long SENSE.nano conference. Photo, Michael D. SpencerNew center will advance  sensing technology

 A new "center of excellence"  called SENSE.nano, is  dedicated in anticipation of the  the new MIT.nano building.

Read more

Marty Ellis, of Inman Mills in South Carolina, checks a machine manufacturing fabric developed through AFFOA. Credits Courtesy of the AFFOA
 AFFOA launches  smart fabrics facility 

  Advanced Functional Fabrics of  America aims to facilitate  economic growth through U.S.  fiber and fabric manufacturing.

  Read more.

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2017 AIM Photonics Summer Academy, Fundamentals of Integrated Photonics: Principles, Practice and Applications, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass., July 24-28, 2017. Registration deadline Fri., June 30, 2017.

Advanced Functional Fabrics for Challenging Environments Hackathon, MIT Media Lab, Bldg. E14, July 28-30. Free but registration required.

MADMEC semifinals, MIT Bldg. 4-270, 5-6pm, Thurs., Aug. 24, 2017.

Tata Center Symposium 2017, MIT Bldg. E52, 8am-6pm, Wed., and 8am-5pm, Thurs., Sept. 13-14, 2017. Open to MIT only.

MIT Industrial Liaison Program Innovations in Management, MIT Media Lab, Bldg. E14, 8am- 7pm, Wed., Sept. 27, and 8:30am-1:25pm, Thurs., Sept. 28, 2017.

Materials Day Symposium and Poster Session, Kresge Auditorium, MIT Building W16, Oct.11, 2017. SAVE THE DATE.

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For more information, contact Mark Beals at 617-253-2129 or mbeals@mit.edu

About MPC

The goals of the Materials Processing Center are to unite the materials research community at MIT and to enhance Institute-industry interactions. Collaboration on research ventures, technology transfer, continuing education of industry personnel, and communication among industrial and governmental entities are our priorities. The MPC Industry Collegium is a major vehicle for this collaboration. The MPC sponsors seminars and workshops, as well as a summer internship for talented undergraduates from universities across the U.S. We encourage interdisciplinary research collaborations and provide funds management assistance to faculty.

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